welcome to live happier
Welcome to Live Happier - the blog that helps you live the life you want to live.
I invite you to keep checking back - this site promises to soon be chock full of tips and strategies to help you get more of the things you want.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

How To Be Happy

Have you ever pondered the question of why you want the things you want? Why is it that you want more money? Why is it that you want to live in a bigger house, have a better job, or travel to exotic places?

Simply put, the only reason we want the things that we want is because of the feelings that these things will give us. Whether it’s a feeling of accomplishment, power, importance or whatever, the feelings that are produced by achieving the things we want are all forms of happiness. So ultimately, the reason that we want the things that we want is because we think that they will make us happy.

What many people believe is that because they do not currently have the things that they want, that they are somehow prevented from being happy. They feel that once they get what they want, then they will be happy. But the truth is that being happy is not about getting something. In the race to get things, often times we end up focusing on the things that we don’t have, which produces a feeling of lack in our lives. And when we focus on the things we don’t have and all the problems we are faced with, we actually get more of what we don’t want due to our focusing on these things. Maybe you’ve heard this before: what you focus on expands and becomes reality. The other thing that happens when we are preoccupied with what we don’t have is that we tend to overlook the things that we already have.

While it is certainly important to have goals, it’s more important to realize that achieving them is not going to make you happy. Nothing outside of yourself will. Being happy starts on the inside, and unless you start there, nothing will ever make you happy. To look outside of yourself to external events, people, or things for your happiness is futile. Again, it is important to have goals, but you cannot be attached to any goal or anything outside yourself to the point that your happiness is dependent on achieving the goal.

If you can be happy on the inside, everything else will follow – you will be able to do what you want to do, and you will be able to have what you want to have. But again, it all starts on the inside, and there is no other way it can work.

So the $64,000 question is, how can you be happy? Like many things, it starts with a decision. Decide to be happy now. It is a choice, because we determine how we feel about things and the types of meanings to place on events and information through the thoughts that we think.

So why not decide that you are going to be happy? You can do this by simply saying to yourself, “I choose to be happy.” By declaring that you choose to be happy, you will scan your life and your daily experiences for the things that generate positive emotions and you will be able to trivialize and dismiss the things that do not.

Another step is to take an inventory of all the things in your life that you are grateful for. Go ahead and make a list of these things. This is a very powerful technique that will give you a new perspective if you will take a few minutes to do it. Start in whatever area of your life that you want: physical possessions, like cars, your home, gadgets, etc. – people in your life that are close to you – things that have happened to you that have made you stronger, wiser, etc.

If you practice gratitude regularly, I promise it will have a great impact on how you think and feel. For more information on gratitude, see It All Starts With Gratitude.

Another step you can take that will contribute greatly to your happiness is engaging in regular exercise. Regular exercise is guaranteed to lift your moods, restore your energy, and insure that you live a longer and happier life. If you currently do not exercise on a regular basis, now is a good time to start.

Aside from the physical benefits that can be gained from regular exercise, physical activity has been proven to modify the brain chemistry by producing mood-enhancing endorphins. If you’ve ever heard the term “runners high” you may know what I’m talking about. When you exercise endorphins are released into the bloodstream by the pituitary. These endorphins then bind to receptors inside neurons. These are the same as the receptors that drugs like morphine bind to, and the end result is a natural high that will not only improve your moods and allow you to be happier on a consistent basis, but also allow you to fight the effects of stress and anxiety.

So start doing something. It’s okay to start slowly, but start to do something. The best time to exercise is in the morning because it gets your blood flowing and starts to burn calories early in the day and can help provide you with more energy throughout the day. If you simply can’t do it in the morning, no problem – do it at a time that works for you.

There are a number of different types of exercise you can do. One example would be resistance exercises, like weight lifting. The thing about weight training is that you really don’t need weights to do it. You can do push-ups, sit-ups, and squats and lunges without any weights whey you are first starting out. If after a few weeks you decide you like it, consider joining a health club or investing in some sort of equipment. The thing to keep in mind about this type of investment is that you are investing in YOU, and what could be more important?

Another choice could be running or walking. If you have a dog, they will love you for taking them on a daily walk, and it’s a great opportunity to bond and provide more obedience training for your best friend. You can also choose to start running, and a treadmill is a great investment that will allow you to walk or run and you’ll never have to worry about weather conditions.

Other choices include yoga, palates, dancing, and various types of aerobic and strength training routines. You can register for classes at a local health club, or invest in some DVD or VHS workouts that can be done in the privacy of your own home.

Finally, it’s important to realize that your happiness depends on doing the things that give you the most joy and allow you to feel positive emotions. What are those things? No matter what they are, whether it’s exercise, singing, dancing, writing, public speaking, etc., you need to spend time doing them. We all have busy lives and various demands and things that can get in the way of us staying happy, but only if we let them.

Make it a point to discover or re-discover the things that you enjoy most. There is no one on this planet that is more important than you. Everything starts with you, and you were put here to enjoy and to love. And you cannot spread joy and love unless you have it and experience it first. Once you have joy and love in your own life, you can give it to others.

No comments: