If I were to ask you what you wanted most out of life, what would be your response?
Different people want different things, but according to a study by Karen Caprino, presented in her post The Top 10 Things People Want In Life But Can’t Seem To Get, the number one thing people want is Happiness.
Why Happiness? Why would that rank above money, success, or passion?
Because, if you are happy within yourself you are more apt to be content in other aspects of your life.
This is particularly true in marriage. In order to have your happiest and healthiest marriage, you must be happy with yourself.
Happiness in Marriage
According to Blogging from Paradise creator Ryan Biddulph when speaking of how to have a happy marriage, "You want to be happy first, THEN bring the happiness into the marriage. The key is feeling good solo. ...you want to share those good feelings with someone. But finding your happiness first sets it all into motion, because each person brings their happiness to the marriage."
The problem is that people often don't understand how to find their inner happiness. Often people look towards external drivers (job, spouse, money, material possession, etc.) to make them happy. However, true happiness doesn't work that way.
While those and other external things can certainly add to your life, being truly happy comes from within. While your spouse can and should bring happiness into your life, it's an unfair expectation on them to "make" you happy. As Ryan said above, you should bring happiness and good vibes to the marriage and not expect the marriage and your spouse to bring those to you.
In this post we are going to look at key tips to help you find happiness within you and help you live a happy life. In turn, as you learn to be happy within yourself, you will learn to be happy and content in your other aspects of life.
Tips for a Happy Life
Choose to be Happy
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It's very easy to get down and feel as if things in your life aren't going your way, but you have to make the decision that no matter what, you are going to pursue a happy life.
A study published by the Journal of Positive Psychology found that simply trying to be happier resulted in test subjects having a better mood and feeling of well-being. Whether you are doing an activity you enjoy, spending time with loved ones, making an concerted effort to be happy is a huge step.
Just like we've talked about having a happy marriage, having a happy life doesn't just happen. You have to look for ways to create a happy life and practice being appreciative of your many blessings.
Make up your mind that you deserve to be happy and take matters into your own hands.
Different things happen every day for which you can be thankful. Expressing thankfulness has shown to make people feel happier.
Whether it is the sound of your child's laughter, a kind word from your spouse, a compliment from your boss, etc. Make up your mind that you are going to see and appreciate the many great things that are going on in your life every day.
Studies have shown that a sense of gratitude increases people's sense of happiness.
People who are grateful tend to recognize and value the little things that happen each day that add value to their lives.
You have much in your life to be thankful. Learn to recognize and appreciate those things routinely.
Forgive Freely and Often
Learning to forgive freely and often is a powerful step towards creating a happy life.
We recently discussed the importance of forgiveness in your marriage, and that forgiveness is an important part of your everyday life. Holding on to bitterness and resentment is a poison that will eat at you and your relationships.
By holding on to those feelings of disappointment and resentment, you are being held as a prisoner in the past.
[click_to_tweet tweet="“Forgiveness means that you fill yourself with love and you radiate that love outward and refuse to hang onto the venom or hatred that was engendered by the behaviors that caused the wounds.” ~ Wayne Dyer" quote="“Forgiveness means that you fill yourself with love and you radiate that love outward and refuse to hang onto the venom or hatred that was engendered by the behaviors that caused the wounds.” ~ Wayne Dyer" theme="style4"]
Forgiveness is not about letting others off the hook or condoning their behavior. Forgiveness is about you being at peace and letting go of the past.
By learning to let go, you will be able to put those negative feelings aside that are going to take away from your ability to find greater happiness within yourself.
Give to Others
Giving to others allows you to make a positive connection to another person. This can be a small gift for a friend at work, the gift of your time with your spouse or child, or volunteering within your community.
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Studies have shown that those who regularly volunteer their time tend to be happier and more content in life. In an article by Chopra.com, Lena Schmidt identifies six ways that volunteering can make you happy.
Take Care of Yourself
If you want a happy life, learn to take better care of yourself. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and plenty of rest will go a long way towards creating a happier (and healthier) you.
A healthier lifestyle has shown to improve moods and lift people out of depression. You don't have to train for a marathon or eat broccoli every day, but routinely going for a 30-minute walk or watching what you eat will help get you on your way.
An article published by Self.com showed that 20 minutes of exercise can have considerable mood benefits (i.e., sweating makes you happy 🙂 ).
Your exercise time can also be a good way to connect with your spouse or a close friend. Which in turn can improve your mood.
Become More Spiritual
People who focus on their spiritual self are often happier than those who profess to being non-spiritual.
In a report by Time.com, people who consider themselves spiritual and are part of a religious community tend to be happier than those who don't.
Matthew 5:3 reads, "Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them."
A spiritual nature gives you a great sense of safety and security. It gives you a feeling of being connected to a power bigger than yourself.
As you pursue your inner sense of happiness, learn to explore your spiritual side.
You are the Company You Keep
I'm not saying you should dump all of your friends, but the level of happiness in your life can be directly connected to the company that you keep.
Are the people you're around complainers, angry, full of drama, or just generally unhappy people?
If so, their attitudes and moods will wear on you. You will become a product of that environment.
Look for more positive people to spend your time with. Whether it is with a volunteer (see above) group working towards a common goal or with a positive group of friends; the people around you will make a difference helping you live a happy life.
Jim Rohn wrote that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time around.
Would you consider those people who you are most closely connected "happy?"
In order to find happiness in your life, you need to make sure that you spend time with those who are striving to do the same. These are going to be the people that will lift you up and encourage you to be a happier person.
What are you working towards? What do you want to accomplish this year?
You need to have a reasonable goal which will allow you to focus positive energy.
It is important that you set reasonable goals. Don't plan to lose 30 pounds this month and run a marathon. That's not reasonable and sets you up for failure.
Determine what your goal is and begin the steps to make it happen.
[click_to_tweet tweet="“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ~ Albert Einstein" quote="“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” ~ Albert Einstein" theme="style4"]
Happiness is connected to your feeling that the future is bright and that good things are in front of you. By setting and working towards your goals, you are setting a path to create that happy and bright future.
Pursue Your Passions
What is something that you are passionate about?
Whether it is singing, painting, volunteering, gardening, etc., find an outlet for what you truly enjoy.
Spend some time engaged in an activity or hobby that brings you joy. Find outlets where you can interact with others who share your passion.
Don't Compare Yourself to Others
One of the biggest mistakes people make is comparing their life to that of someone else.
Whether they have a bigger house, nicer car, or better marriage should make no difference to the level of happiness in your life.
You are on your own life journey. Don't use the life or material possessions of others to determine the level of happiness in your life.
If you spend you energy comparing yourself to others, you will never catch up. There will always be someone with more stuff.
Learn to be grateful for your life journey.
Keep a Journal
Spend time each day writing down the key points of your day.
What made you smile? What made you laugh? What did your spouse do that made you feel good?
In an article published by Cut.com, they stated that keeping short journal entries of simple, but happy events from your day can elevate your mood and sense of well-being.
Often the little things in life are quick and fleeting. By taking time to keep a journal you are reflecting on your day and reliving those positive moments.