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It is often said that true happiness is not a destination but more of a journey.  Sadly, many people in today’s materialistic society think that the mere possession of shiny gadgets, big houses, and expensive cars is the way to true happiness. Unfortunately, many who strive for, and achieve just that often find that possession is not the answer they were looking for. Upon reflection they discover it was the path they took to get where they are that ultimately provided the happiness. To keep the buzz going they now find they need to challenge themselves further, set new goals, and always be on a journey towards greater things. 

Staying Happy is also good for your Health and your Longevity

There’s a multitude of reasons why being happy is better than being angry or sad, but perhaps the biggest motivation to achieve a more contented state is one of health.  Research has shown that people who consider themselves to be happy have a higher level of immunoglobin in their system.

Immunoglobin is an important hormone related to the immune system and protects the body against a variety of ailments such as respiratory diseases and heart disease.  Staying happy also maintains lower levels of harmful hormones which can cause havoc to our mental and physical health. As an example, if you are constantly stressed your body will eventually contain more of the cortisol hormone than it can comfortably deal with.  

Cortisol is responsible for the flight or fight syndrome we experience when confronted with stressful situations. Prolonged exposure to excess levels – which is great when you have the need to run away from an angry moose – is no good for your heart over the long haul.  Chronic unhappiness will keep a steady supply of cortisol flowing, leading to health problems such as high blood pressure and a reduction in the ability of your immune system to ward off diseases. Essentially, it’s been scientifically proven that constantly being in a bad mood will eventually get you killed.

10 Steps to Achieving Happiness

If you’re coming from a bad place finding happiness is not going to be an overnight thing but with practice anybody can achieve this highly sought after enlightened state. What follows are ten easy steps you can use to get started on this new leg of your journey through life:

1.  Focus on you rather than them

A lot of people put themselves in a glum mood just because they think of life as a race and that everyone else is beating them to the finish line. Life can be a race for sure but make it a race with you as the only contestant.

Stop worrying about what other people have. Your old school mate might have a big boat in the driveway but think of the stress the repayments are causing him (he’ll never tell you). Better to have a small tinny and a fishing rod than be a slave to the bank and blood pressure pills.

Follow your own dreams, set your own goals, and forget about what everyone else is doing.

2. Stop relying on outside forces for your happiness

You might hate your boss or your job and you might be upset about what someone said to you yesterday. You can go on blaming these things for your unhappiness but ultimately it is not the event, but how you respond to the event which is important.

Life is rarely perfect at any one moment and you have very little control over how things pan out in the big bad world, apart from your own small sphere of influence – but you do have complete control over how you feel. Once you realize it is only you who can make yourself unhappy, then you will likely start to instantly feel happier.

3. Let go of resentment

Let go of things from the past that are haunting you. It’s done so you need to stop letting something that happened years ago affect how you feel today.

If someone has done you a disservice forgive them and move on. This doesn’t mean forgetting what has happened, it just means you need to learn from it, and then let go of it so you can get on with your life.

4. Be Truthful to yourself and others

Humans generally tell a lie to make their life easier but getting into the habit of being untruthful creates a stressful situation. Lies are hard to keep track of and you will always have the fear and stress of getting found out. And then there’s the guilt most decent folk feel at having deceived someone.

This is not a good position to be in. Determine to yourself to always tell the truth as this is ultimately the easiest path to travel. There’s less to keep track of and you can have a guilt free conscience.

5. Stop the fixation with instant gratification

You need to stop wanting everything now. This all comes back to the happiness being a journey thing. So what if the scales are refusing to budge despite your best efforts on the treadmill. Be happy over the efforts you are putting in and know that it will come if you keep putting in the effort.

This philosophy translates into other aspects of life, even the material one. Look forward to the promotion, the new house, or the fancy watch you’ve been saving up for. When you get it enjoy it while you can and then move on to working towards your next goal. You could almost say it like “all good things come to those who wait.”

6. Look for reasons to be happy rather than sad

Being sad is a condition we bring on ourselves via our thought processes. Change the thought processes and think happy thoughts. Think of flowers and sunshine if you have to but stay away from brooding dark thoughts about stuff that happened long ago, it’s not healthy.

7. Reduce the need to stimulate yourself 24/7

It seems like in today’s world that sitting and doing nothing is a mortal sin. Our busy and hectic schedule demands that we always be moving, running here, driving there, etc.  Put the phone down, put the headphones away, and turn off the computer for a bit and just be. Sit and stare out the window while you contemplate the universe. It’s okay to take a few minutes out of every day to stop and smell the roses without feeling guilty about it.

8. Take good care of yourself

If you’re unhappy about your fitness levels, or the diameter of your girth find an activity you enjoy that will help you burn through the calories while having fun. You can stop feeling guilty about not doing anything to change your predicament and you’ll increase your fitness levels.

 It could be tennis, hiking, basketball, skateboarding, roller skating, or bowling. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s fun for you. Science has already proven that fit healthy people are more likely to be the happy variety, which is just another good reason to get fit and watch what you eat.

9. Get some professional help

If you think your unhappiness is caused by depression, then don’t be afraid to talk about it with your favorite health professional.  You may also need someone to talk to if you’re suffering from grief or anxiety.  Remember, you may not be in control of whether you have depression or not, but you are in control of what you do about it, so take action and don’t let it rule your life.

10. Set goals and work out how to get them

Goals are a road map to a life fully lived. Without them we wander aimlessly and never really get anywhere. If you’re wondering why things aren’t working out for you this might be the reason.

Get a pen and paper and write down what you want out of life and then work out a plan to get there. You might just find yourself feeling happier already.

Being happy is many different things to many people but it’s important to realize that it’s not rocket science and is achievable for everybody. Follow the tips above but never stop learning. Always moving forward while taking time out for yourself and finding balance in your life is a key to enjoying the life that has been granted to you. So get out there and don’t worry, be happy.

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