How To Be Happier
Practical Tips For Strengthening Your Happiness Muscles
The Game of Happiness
What is your general happiness level?
Your base level of happiness is the most important number in detrmining how happy you are now and how happy you will be in the future, regardless of what happens.
Studies have shown that people always will revert to their mean level of happiness.
There will undoubtedly be variation, but we always seem to revert to our magic number given a little bit of time.
The hardest thing about happiness is that being happier is a turtles race that involves patience and commitment which are two extremely rare qualities.
But what about the people who always seem joyous?
If you have ever met someone who is overly happy, all the time, you best be worried about their mental well-being.
So How Do You Get To 10/10?
I know I have thought, “well if I won the lotto, I would be pretty stoked.”
Winning the lotto would feel great, but it would not lead to permanent happiness and bliss. You would still have tough days, and you would soon return to your base level.
If anything, running into large sums of money might accelerate your problems.
Happiness is a skill.
We all experience the roller-coaster of emotions from time to time.
Our body is full of uncontrollable chemicals that can significantly affect how we feel and react.
The trick is to work towards changing our general base level, so that we can live in a grateful and joyful state most of the time.
Practical Happiness Tip
1. Practice Gratitude
Take a moment to be thankful
Often when we wake up, we feel lousy. (it’s not just you!)
When you wake up, take a moment of gratitude to kickstart you mind in-to motion.
Start at a specific memory of the past and try and expand on the idea or scenario.
I have fond memories of living in a specific house in my youth. I use this as an anchor in an attempt to explore other memories and then let my mind wander.
If you are at a loss for ideas, take a moment to thank your ancestors. How many generations can you conceptualise?
Can you fathom the life of your great grandparents and their struggles and how lucky you are to be alive?
All Their choices and decisions led to you.
2. Crack a Smile
Smile at someone, it costs you nothing, and it feels good.
Ever since I was young, I played a game when walking on the streets.
Every time I passed someone, I would look up and give them a big smile. I was attempting to collect smiles without being creepy.
This game taught me many things.
People tend to divert their eyes as they approach to avoid contact.
However, people in rural areas were more likely to smile back, and different cultures around the world seem to behave in different ways when passing them in the street.
The moral of the story, people, do not smile enough.
Think of the last time a stranger smiled at you? How did it feel?
It takes very little effort, but a unconditional smile to a stranger may change the trajectory of that person’s day.
3. Live and Let Live
Forgive yourself and others.
People deserve the benefit of the doubt. If someone is mean to you, let it flow beneath you like water under a bridge.
We never know the extent of other people’s lives, and they might only be snappy because they are dealing with some tragedies in their life.
Maybe their best friend just died. Would you give them the benefit of the doubt if you felt empathetic towards them
Also be kind to yourself. We all make silly decisions and the person you were in the past does not have to define who you are becoming.
Treat your enemy with empathy and feel all that anger seep through the cracks.
Thank the villain in your story and use the idea of them as competition to better yourself.
How quickly would we get bored if there was no villain, whether it’s your boss, your colleague, or your arch-nemesis?
Loving the enemy also has the bonus that it makes them feel more conflicted when you are being kind to them.
In The End
Remember, it is okay to feel sad at times.
Without pain, we would not appreciate the joy.
Realise that you can increase your base happiness over time by practicing the three tricks:
Actively Practice being more grateful.
Smile more and extend your kindness.
Give people the benefit of the doubt and also forgive yourself.
Commit to making a practice of the above skills, and see how your life changes.
We all have the same fate awaiting us one day, so why not enjoy the limited time we have here together.