How can I be happy?

A very happy interracial couple smiling for the camera

How many of your of hours are filled with real happiness? For most people, the answers to such questions would indicate an unsatisfactory level of happiness."

So then is happiness a realistic possibility now? Strange as it may seem in this troubled world, the answer to these questions is, yes.

A measure of genuine happiness is possible even now, but it is hedged on how we choose to live and what we make of our life. Here are some ideas that can help you:

1. Learn Contentment


If your happiness is always based on owning things, you will never be happy. There will always be something new that you want.

You need to learn to be happy with what you have. Of course, from time to time, it might still bother you that you do not have what you want.

But think about this, do you have to be a billionaire to have what you want and find happiness?

One billionaire had a series of unhappy marriages in his life. When asked what gave him the most happiness, in view of his great wealth, he thought a while and answered:

A walk along a good beach, listen to the ocean waves and then a swim.”

That is something even the poorest man on earth can do very often, free of charge! So do not pity yourself for having too little. It could be a blessing in disguise.

You may be having more time to do things that will really contribute to your general happiness.


2. Live in peace with others


Psychologist Richard Gardner says:

It is important to remember that money—and the things that money can buy—are not the most important things in life. It’s things like the kind of person you are and how you treat other people that will determine how happy you are going to be in life." 

The key to developing and keeping good relationships with others is to have a wholesome, positive outlook towards them.

What can hurt relationships is a person not being willing to work at being compatible with others. This does not mean that you always have to agree with others regardless of what they say.

But there are so many things that are not life or death’ matters; different views can be allowed. Do not become unreasonably or unyielding when it does not really matter.

This will only deprive you of your happiness and tranquility.

3. Find a hobby


Canadian doctor Sir William Osler claimed: “No man is really happy or safe without a hobby,” 

Taking time to take up one or more hobbies can add zest to living. It could be photography or learning to play some musical instrument or learning some foreign language.

Or you might find interest in growing plants or music and dancing. Other hobbies could be projects in sewing, knitting, cooking, and leather work involving braiding and embossing, and many others.

Window shopping is an activity that makes strong men tremble, but many women and girls relish it anyway.

Whatever the case, do what love, but do it in the right moderation to avoid exhaustion or antagonizing others.

If it is possible consider turning it into a career. Most successful and satisfying careers have been built around hobbies.

4. Have a Healthy lifestyle


Why wait until you are sick before you give thought to your health? We all know how unhappy we are when we are sick, our faces all gloomy, anxious for a quick relief.

An ancient Chinese sage observes:

To administer medicines to diseases which have developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they are thirsty.” 

True, no one is immuned from disease, but research shows that most diseases are a product of our lifestyle.

Take an example, Lung cancer, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes account for up to 70 to 80 percent of all deaths in industrialized nations.

These ailments are often linked to the unhealthy habits of smoking, unwise diet, and lack of exercise.

Without a doubt, the choices you make about the way you live will have a major impact on your health and happiness.

5. Enjoy your work


When we feel that our work is useful, then it can be easy to feel happy and contented. Work can then become a more of a blessing than a curse.

However, the work you do may seem uninteresting or unimportant. But ask yourself, does it not make a contribution to your existence—helping to pay your bills?

Then it is important to you. And it is also important to society in general, for if all the seemingly routine or dull jobs were eliminated, how long would society continue to function?

Hence, dwelling on the positive aspects of your job and it will help you enhance your job experience and satisfaction. Work will then cease to be burden you have to do, just to get by, but an essential part of your life.

6. Find your purpose in life


George Bernard Shaw the famous Irish playwright had this to say about finding happiness in one’s purpose in life:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

How disappointing and frustrating it would be to find that you had wasted precious years in the pursuit of goals that proved fruitless.

So find your purpose in life before it is too late. There are, after all, definitely limits as to just how many fields a person can explore in the years of his adult life.

7. Remain optimistic about life


Learn to be positive despite setbacks that happen in your life.

Take an example of Helen Keller despite being rendered deaf and blind at 19 months by scarlet fever, she able to overcome these obstacles to be able to learn to read and write (in several languages), eventually speaking and graduated with honors from Radcliffe College.

In her autobiography The Story of My Life she tells us of the many struggles she had to endure. What made her to remain optimistic about life? She offers this advice:

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”

So when we are more optimistic about life, then we are able to see new opportunities even in the face of daring challenges.

 Later, you will reflect back with gladness on your fits of achievements and be amazed.

8. Simplify your life


A person who constantly pushes himself to the limit physically and emotionally is a prime candidate for burnout and unhappiness.

Take responsibility for your schedule and find ways of simplifying your life to make more time for things that can enrich your life, like spending more time with loved ones.

In fact, on this matter the revered Mother Teresa makes this interesting comparison:

In the West we have a tendency to be profit-oriented, where everything is measured according to the results and we get caught up in being more and more active to generate results. In the East -- especially in India -- I find that people are more content to just be, to just sit around under a banyan tree for half a day chatting to each other. We Westerners would probably call that wasting time. But there is value to it. Being with someone, listening without a clock and without anticipation of results, teaches us about love. The success of love is in the loving -- it is not in the result of loving.”

9. Unselfish interest in others.


Striving to cultivate an unselfish and continuing interest in the welfare of others can result in indeed a richer and happier life.

For one thing, using one’s abilities, assets and time to help others has a good effect upon the individual’s own outlook. You record of generosity will put you in good stead in time of your need.

People will be more inclined to repay your kindness in full measure. But more important as you see individuals made happy by your unselfish giving, your own happiness will increase dramatically.

However, when the right motivation is lacking giving in itself does not bring happiness. It will be eventually become apparent to others leading to more displeasure in your giving than not giving.

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