Redundancies are on the increase. Every day I hear sad stories about the negative impact that Government cuts are having on the lives of families. A lot of women are feeling unhappy about the place they find themselves in. More than ever, we should aspire for happiness. But what is happiness?
Happiness is a state of mind. It comes from within you. Money can’t make you happy. You can have millions in the bank and still be the most unhappy person. No one can give you inner happiness. People can induce feelings of euphoria. However, that emotional sentiment doesn’t last.
I used to look for happiness in relationships. I thought that having a man in my life was the key to happiness. It worked for a while. New love always produces a sense of elation but that’s not the answer. When that ‘honeymoon period’ wears off, we’re back to square one. Those feelings of happiness that we tried to capture in relationships, would have left us again. Happiness is loving yourself and being comfortable in the place you are at in life.
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have” Frederick Keonig.
When you’re truly happy, you will also find inner peace. When you have peace, it will be easier to cope with the challenges you may face.
Change Your Self Perception
Fall in love with yourself. This may sound weird but if you can fall in love with someone else, then why not with yourself? How can you love somebody else and not love yourself? You are just as important as they are! Value, appreciate and respect yourself. Don’t allow the circumstances of life to dictate your moods. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been through, somebody else has been through the same thing. Use your mistakes as stepping-stones to climb the ladder of success and achievement. Mistakes are not always a bad thing. It’s how you perceive them. You can turn those mistakes into learning experiences. Use them to help you grow as a person and to help others.
If you have a low opinion of yourself, you will feel worthless. Look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself. ‘I am wonderfully and fearfully made. I am unique and have a lot to offer, just like anybody else.’ Always say, ‘I can do whatever I set my mind to do.’ Don’t ever tell yourself that you can’t. Life is a learning journey and happiness should be on that road with us.
Be Grateful For What You Have
Most of the time we take life for granted. It usually takes a tragedy in our lives for us to take stock and appreciate what we have. When I feel sorry for myself, I think about those people in hospital with a terminal illness, those who can’t eat or drink unaided, people living on the streets, children forced into child trafficking, people starving in Africa and it changes my perspective. It makes me grateful that I have a roof over my head, family members, friends, food in my cupboard, I can go to bed and sleep safely, wake up and have a bath or shower, and drink water when I need it.
I give thanks to God each morning because I have breath and I have life. As long as you have life, you have hope!
Laugh And Laugh Some More
Laughter is the best medicine. It releases endorphins, which are the ‘feel good’ hormones, and increases the heart rate. Have friends who make you laugh. Play silly games with little children. Their fun, carefree nature and constant laughter is infectious. According to research, babies and young children laugh up to 300 times a day. They’re content with life because they have what they need. They are naturally happy.
All adults were like that once. But as we take on the responsibilities of life, we sometimes forget to have fun and just laugh! Being serious all the time doesn’t benefit us in any way. We use more facial muscles to frown than we do to smile. As Bob Marley said in his song, “Don’t worry, be happy!” Worrying doesn’t change a thing, it only adds to our stress.
Watch a funny movie or read some silly jokes. Here are two jokes to make you smile!
A little boy wandered into a church one weekend to have a look around. When he returned home his mother asked where he had been.
‘Well!’ He replied. ‘I just popped into church. I didn’t see God there but His wife was dusting the pews!’
‘Dad!’ Said young Ian. ‘You know that big vase that’s been handed down in the family from father to son?’
‘Yes Ian. What about it?’
‘Well, son’s just dropped it!’
Set Achievable Goals
Striving towards a goal, whether it’s a new career, hobby, driving lessons or study programme, shifts our focus. Achieving a goal adds a new dimension to life. I remember when I graduated from university, I was so happy! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. It was one of the most important goals that I had actually set and achieved!
Sometimes the harder the goal is to meet, the happier you feel at the outcome. It gives you a sense of victory and contentment. Take steps towards happiness by implementing self-improvement in your life. Plan your goals for a week, a month, one year or five years ahead. Write them down. Review them constantly. As you make progress towards your goals, your happiness level will rise. Each time you achieve one, record it and mark it ‘done.’
Each goal that you achieve will inspire you towards setting the next one. It could even be a simple goal, such as planning your day ahead. Effective time management is a powerful tool. I find it helps me when I make a list of all the things I intend to do for the day. If I don’t do that, I tend to procrastinate and waste a lot of time and energy doing meaningless tasks.
Always have goals or dreams to work towards, otherwise boredom will set in. An idle mind breeds negative thoughts and unhappiness.
“Happiness could be defined as the emotion of progress toward desirable goals. There is an instant of contemplation of the last goal in which one is content. But contentment becomes boredom immediately that new goal do not come to view. There is no more unhappy thing than a man who has accomplished all his ends in life.” L. Ron Hubbard.
Forgive Others And Let Go Of Pain
Unforgiveness harbours resentment and even hatred. When you carry bitter feelings inside, it eats away at you and can result in illness. It can also make you aggressive and angry. Happiness can’t survive in that emotional state.
I knew someone who found it extremely difficult to forgive people who hurt her. Year after year she talked about the pain they caused her. Her heart was clearly wounded. It seemed that she didn’t know how to or didn’t want to forgive. It made her a bitter, resentful and angry person. She was always lashing out verbally at her friends. But the only person that such destructive behaviour affected, was herself. She developed a long list of illnesses. Most of the time, she was a very unhappy woman. She often cried and pitied herself. People found it difficult being around her.
“To err is human; to forgive divine.” Alexander Pope.
Forgiveness is sometimes quite hard do. You have to make a conscious decision to forgive, even thought you may not necessarily forget easily. But forgiveness is the first step towards inner healing and peace. It will help you to let go of past hurts and move forward with your life. Forgiveness will lift a weight off your shoulders. It will make you feel more positive about life, improve your emotional and physical health. When your mind is free (and uncluttered) from carrying past hurts, you’re more likely to feel happier within yourself.
How would you define happiness? What makes you happy? I would love to hear your comments. Please write your views in the comments box below.
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Photo credit: Koratmember