Success doesn’t make us happy, but happiness makes us successful.
Finding Happiness and dealing with anxiety are hot topics in the United States. Books dealing with anxiety rose 26% over last year and books dealing with happiness rose 83% over last year. Every major news organization has covered this topic in some type of detail in the last month or so. People are stressed and looking for help! Let’s look at our control of happiness and what we can do to make ourselves happier.
Understanding what makes us happy.
The first thing that we need to do is to figure out what happiness truly is and what we can control. Some see happiness as fully being in their control, while others don’t feel like they control their happiness at all. A study at Psychology Today says you actually have about 40% control of how happy you are. The rest is predetermined biological set points and life events. That 40% is very important in how you weather tough times. It’s the difference between being wrecked by a circumstance and seeing the silver lining.
Now that we know we have a good bit of control over how we find happiness lets look at some practical ways to find it.
1. Enjoy the simple things.
Our brain loves new success, victories, and progress. Eventually, those things turn into the “new normal” and those things that made you happy no longer do so to the same extent. Looking for the simple things to enjoy is a great way to find happiness even in the tough times. Was it a nice night out? Was traffic not as bad as it usually was? The larger the storm, the more the need there is to enjoy the small wins.
2. Minimize the distractions.
Let’s face it. Social media can turn into a case of the haves and have-nots fairly easily. If you feel that, and any other thing for that matter, tugging at you then step away and take a break. No doubt it will still be there when you come back! This applies to people and situations out there in the real world. Also be sure to surround yourself with those that make you happy.
3. Acknowledge the good times.
People have a tendency to vent to others about their bad days and then don’t emphasize their good days enough. Make sure that you take the time to appreciate the good times. It can range from just saying it loud to yourself, to journaling about good times, or just acknowledging it with friends and family.
4. Don’t identify with loss, suffering, and illness as who you are. This is a big one. You are more than your mistakes, losses, and health setbacks. We’ve talked about this one several times. (PTB show #12, #109, #118). Unfortunately, I’ve seen this severely impact people’s life. Don’t fall into the same trap. Focus on the steps above to help you with this one.
Find happiness in the small things, share it with others and don’t let the influence of others or life circumstances drag you down. You truly can find some type of happiness everywhere.
Make a better tomorrow.