What Makes You Happy?


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by Jayaram V

There are many theories about happiness. Since ancient times, people have been trying to finding ways and means to experience it. Studies show that happiness depends upon a number of factors. Some of them are universal, and some are specific to individuals and circumstances. What makes you happy, does not necessarily make others happy. Some people are happy to be lazy and do nothing, while some cannot be happy unless they remain busy. Some people learn to be happy without any specific reason, while some cannot be happy even after they achieve a lot of success and recognition. It is also true that neither money nor happiness can guarantee happiness. Often the most miserable people also happen to be the most successful ones. Thus, a number of factors contribute to happiness.

What makes you happy

It is a question which you may answer differently under different circumstances. You answer also depends upon your own understanding of happiness. You cannot always be happy. However, there will be many opportunities in your life when you can choose to be happy and make yourself happy, despite problems and circumstances. On certain occasions when life is too chaotic and depressing, you may feel helpless to take any action and let that darkness pass by itself. However, fortunately you will have many opportunities in your life to experience happiness or find it in the simple pleasures of life.

The following suggestions can increase your happiness or your potential for happiness. They are ideas which you can adapt to your situation with specific and suitable action plans.

1. Find out what makes you happy

Do some introspection to find out what situations, objects, people, relationships, activities, pleasures, etc., make you happy and try to create or increase opportunities to experience them. Do the things you like. Be with the people you love. Have things that you desire. Some people may feel happy by simply having something which they love. It can be even a cup of coffee or a favorite beverage. Some may like to talk to the people or friends they love. Some may like to listen to their favorite music or watch a good movie. Find out the simple pleasures that increase your happiness and create opportunities to enjoy them.

2. Clear the backlog

Many people tend to sit on important matters and let them simmer in the background. If you are one of them, it can potentially make you unhappy, as it will make you feel anxious or guilty or both. If you have pending matters which you have been neglecting for some time, attend to them first and clear them. You will feel as if a great burden has been lifted off your head.

3. Appreciate what you have

In your pursuit of worldly success, name and fame, you may ignore what you already have. The true purpose of worldly success is to enjoy the gains that you secure and feel good about yourself. What is the good of having things that you neither need nor appreciate? At times, you should pause and appreciate what you already have. It will no only restore your faith in your abilities but also motivate you to achieve further success.

4. Live your life

Happy people are independent minded. They live their lives according to their standards, likes and dislikes, They neither think nor act according to the values and judgments of others, nor are they compelled by any desire to seek other’s approval. They may seek the opinion of others or draw inspiration from them, but in the end they trust their own judgment and live by their values, standards and beliefs.

5. Avoid controlling others

Many problems arise when you try to control the lives of others, their actions and choices. Do not do it even if they are your close relations and you feel responsible for them because it can lead to conflicts and unhappiness to you and others. People like to be free, and do not appreciate unsolicited advice or interference.

6. Avoid toxic relationships

Some people are by nature toxic. They give nothing but pain and hurt. With their negativity, words and actions, they can cause you a lot of unhappiness. Therefore, stay away from such people and protect yourself from their negativity and destructive behavior.

7. Limit your needs and wants

There are no limits to your desires and expectations. It can be a potential source of unhappiness since desires and expectations tend to reduce joy. Excessive materialism is harmful to your sanity and happiness. It drains your energies and leaves you both mentally and physically exhausted and depressed. Therefore, practice moderation when you pursue materialism and keep your soul intact.

8. Stay positive

Positive thinking is key to remain cheerful and happy. You can stay positive by one or more of the following, keep smiling, take action, avoid criticism, do what you like most, control your responses, make right decisions, and focus on the positive even in negative situations.

9. Make your life purposeful

Find a purpose that is larger than your life and pursue it. Make your life worth living. You will be happy when you make yourself useful to you and to others. People who are purpose-driven are usually happier than those who lead routine lives without any specific aim or purpose.

10. Reach your goals

Nothing gives more happiness than when you reach your goals or realize your dreams. The time you spend in reaching them is worth spending because you will be the happiest when you engage in actions that are closer to your heart and to your liking. Besides when you pursue your goals, and your dreams you will be in flow and in harmony with yourself.

11. Use money wisely

You can buy happiness with money. Although excessive materialism is toxic, and money cannot buy you everything, you can use money to increase your happiness, without hurting yourself or losing your sense of right and wrong. You can wisely and discreetly spend it on you, or on others, to enhance your self-worth or to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

12. Cultivate a serene mind

The mind is the seat of all emotions. It is where you generate happiness and experience it. Through practices such as meditation, concentration, mindfulness, you can train your mind to cultivate the habit of finding and pursuing happiness in the mundane aspects of life. The monks are happy and peaceful without having anything. With some effort you can practice some of their best practices to cultivate a happy and stable mind.

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