Being happy is something that most people say that they want. If you are one of those people, and you probably are, then you may not realize just how much control you may have over your own happiness! There is scientific evidence that shows you can indeed alter your mood and your entire life—simply by changing your attitude and making a conscious decision to be happy.
Consider these 9 important steps toward happiness if you want to improve your life:
- Try to be happy. Yes, this sounds silly and like cliché advice. But, putting some effort toward your own happiness can have excellent results. Doing things that make you feel good, whether that is a physical activity, a relaxing activity, turning on your favorite music, or calling up an old friend, you can put forth some effort that will go a long way toward making you feel happier. Studies have shown that those who actively try to be happy end up feeling much better than those who sit around and wait to feel happy.
- Set a goal of being happy. The happiest people are those who set a goal to be happy. These people take advantage of opportunities that are going to make them happy. Whether these goals are more specifically related to health, relationships, career, family or some other area of your life, when the goal is happiness you can begin to take steps toward reaching that goal.
- Focus on the positive—even when it is only brief moments. When you are present in moments that make you feel happy, you will remember them more vividly. Unfortunately, negative moments tend to stick with us more and make more of a lasting memory. But, when you take the time to reflect on those small moments that provide happiness, regardless of how brief they are (you only need 10-20 seconds at a time)—things like your child’s laughter, hearing your favorite song on the way to work, getting even passing praise from your boss, spending a few minutes feeling close to a loved one, etc., you will remember these moments more and they will begin to take the place of the negative moments in your brain. The more positive moments you can store, the happier you are going to feel.
- Focus on mindfulness. Those who are more mindful are usually more happy than their less mindful counterparts. Meditation can help you learn to be more mindful, if you can learn to silence your conscious thoughts for a few minutes for a good meditation session, even brief. Meditation is scientifically recognized as helping to shift the brain activity from the right frontal area of the brain (an area that often processes depression, anxiety, stress and worry) to the left frontal area (associated with happiness, joy and excitement).
- Smile whenever possible. You’ve probably heard that it takes many more muscles to frown than smile. This is true! Spend your energy smiling and you will feel happier. It’s hard to be unhappy when you are smiling! It is important that you are focusing on positive thoughts while you are smiling, because a fake smile will only make you feel worse, but a real smile, generating from positive thoughts, will increase your happiness levels significantly.
- Express gratitude. When you are aware of the things you should be thankful for, and you feel grateful, you will release soothing chemicals in your brain, chemicals that can lead you to feel happier. Practicing gratitude is a conscious way to feel happier, and this is something that is definitely within your control.
- Pursue happiness and success. Some think that being successful will make you happier, but, in reality, being happier will make you more successful. A positive attitude and positive frame of mind can help you be more productive—which, in turn, will lead you to be more successful. Those who are more positive will perform better when challenged, and have better outcomes.
- Allow yourself to feel happy. Too many people fail to realize that happiness is indeed a choice that you can make. Staying stuck in negative patterns sticking with what is comfortable and keeping bad attitudes can only have negative outcomes. When you give yourself permission to be happy, and make the choice to be grateful, to be positive, you force out the negatives and open yourself up to greater levels of happiness.
- Be compassionate. Those who are compassionate have a greater capacity for happiness because they are opening their brains to the right happiness brainwaves. Meditate on compassionate ideas and thoughts and you can change your brain.
Meditating on happiness, being mindful and focusing on the positives will truly help you let more happiness into your life!