Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama
What is your definition of happiness?
Is it a feeling, a trait, or a permanent emotion? The truth is that happiness is a feeling just like anger, sadness, fear, disgust, surprise, good…the list goes on. Quick question; Do you feel sad always? Are you always angry? Are you surprised all the time?
All these feelings are triggered by something that occurs, it could be an action, a thought, or anything. This is to say that just like these other feelings, happiness is triggered by something. If you want to keep feeling happy, you’ve got to work towards it.
Happiness is often described as a subjective and multifaceted emotional and mental state characterized by feelings of contentment, joy, satisfaction, and well-being. It is not a constant state but rather a fluctuating and evolving experience that can be influenced by various factors, including personal circumstances, relationships, health, and individual perspectives.
Different philosophical, psychological, and cultural perspectives contribute to diverse interpretations of happiness. Some see it as the pursuit of personal fulfillment and meaning, while others may view it as the result of positive experiences and emotions. Ultimately, the definition of happiness can vary from person to person based on their values, beliefs, and life experiences.
Most of the time, we are like; “I just want to be happy” But are we doing the things that will make us happy? Earlier, I said that happiness is triggered by thoughts or actions.
How To Be Happy?
By thoughts, I mean personal conviction, and by actions, I mean those things you tend to do or others do to you that trigger your feelings. Oftentimes, happiness comes from the place of conviction that is you can decide to be happy.
So, more than actions or activities, your thoughts convince you whether to be happy or not. Now, there is a relationship between these two; your thoughts and Actions.
Happiness is influenced by a complex interplay of internal and external factors. While it’s important to note that individual experiences of happiness can vary widely, here are some common factors that are known to influence overall well-being and happiness:
Genetics and Biology:
- Genetic predispositions and biological factors can play a role in determining an individual’s baseline level of happiness. Some people may have a natural disposition toward optimism or resilience.
- Economic stability, employment status, and living conditions can impact happiness. Basic needs being met, such as access to food, shelter, and healthcare, contribute to a sense of security and well-being.
- Physical and mental health are closely linked to happiness. Good health, including regular exercise and a balanced diet, can positively influence mood and overall life satisfaction.
- Positive social connections and supportive relationships are consistently linked to higher levels of happiness. Meaningful friendships, family bonds, and romantic relationships contribute to emotional well-being.
Work and Career:
- Job satisfaction, a sense of purpose, and positive relationships in the workplace contribute to happiness. Engaging in work that aligns with personal values and interests can enhance overall life satisfaction.
Personal Growth and Fulfillment:
- Pursuing personal goals, continuous learning, and engaging in activities that provide a sense of accomplishment contribute to happiness. Feeling a sense of purpose and fulfillment adds meaning to life.
Coping Strategies and Resilience:
- The ability to cope with stress, setbacks, and life challenges influences happiness. Developing resilience and effective coping mechanisms can contribute to a more positive outlook.
Cultural and Societal Factors:
- Cultural values and societal norms play a role in shaping individual perceptions of happiness. Societies that prioritize social welfare, equality, and community tend to have higher overall levels of happiness.
Mindset and Attitude:
- A positive mindset, gratitude, and the ability to focus on the present moment can contribute to happiness. Practices such as mindfulness and meditation are associated with improved well-being.
- While money alone does not guarantee happiness, financial stability and the ability to meet basic needs can contribute to a sense of security and reduce stress.
Leisure and Recreation:
- Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation, whether it’s hobbies, travel, or spending time in nature, contributes to overall happiness.
What Is Happiness In Life
Most of the time, actions are a prerequisite to thoughts. For instance, my friend just bought me coffee, Everybody can have coffee but when I think of it, I’m like; “he bought me coffee, he probably cares about me, and this makes me happy.” That friend could get the same coffee for somebody else who doesn’t appreciate it.
But what if my thoughts had been “he’s getting me coffee, why? Just because I’m his boss.” That guy bought the coffee neutrally, I was the one who decided how his gesture made me feel.
It is you who have the power more than anyone else to make you happy. A loving friend can try, a good boss, a spouse, or an acquaintance but you are the one who decides whether to be pleased with their actions or not.
Why Is Happiness Important?
That is not to say that you don’t need people at all, you need people because you are not an island. If you surround yourself with happy people, there’s an 80% possibility that your thoughts are positive.
The same goes for surrounding yourself with angry people, there’s an 80% possibility of you being angry too. That is why you should train your thoughts so you can decide to be happy even if the circumstance is negative.
What are the things you can do to find happiness?
Remember I said thoughts are mostly triggered by actions. Below are the things that will help you more to find happiness daily.
Avoid Toxic Relationships
First of all, you should keep your circle in check. You can’t keep people who make you miserable around if you truly want to be happy, if you keep people like that beside you, thoughts or no thoughts, you are bound to get tired of trying to decide your happiness because they are always around you.
As time goes on, you will bend. So, stay as far as possible from people who don’t make you happy. Instead, stay around the ones that support and bring the best out of you. Cutting them away may give you more chance for happiness but remember that it’s not going to happen if you don’t think you deserve to be happy. Don’t forget your thoughts, it is the key.
Appreciate People and Things Around You
Gratitude gives you a positive feeling. When you sit down for a while and appreciate people around you, the nosy grandma in the next compound that makes me laugh, my husband loves me, my house looks good, my cousin sent me a nice text…appreciating this thing even though they are just little things is a good way to start your day.
You are likely to stay positive for a longer while. You can also put a smile on someone else’s face when you tell them you appreciate them. Remember you are trying to surround yourself with positive people too.
If you help them smile, you’ll be happy that you just helped another person smile. Cherish those times spent with people and appreciate the things that they do for you. This will help the person be happy too that they made you smile too.
Appreciate Yourself Too
Don’t get carried away by the things you didn’t do right, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to make them right. But first, appreciate yourself for the other things that you succeeded in, you can’t accomplish anything with a cloudy mind except more mistakes.
So, calm down, appreciate yourself, and continue with a restful mind. You will see that you will be able to do it right or better than the last trial. Wouldn’t that make you happy? Take a few minutes to appreciate yourself too. Be happy with yourself and forgive your shortcomings.
“Oh, he does it better than I can, I’m so useless.” You just condemned yourself because you compared your ability with someone else’s. Matt can ice his cake perfectly while I can’t even mix my icing right…hello! Matt probably does not know how to fix his tires and you can do that perfectly.
Don’t compare yourself to others, instead of hosting a pity party in which only you are the guest, ask Matt for help. If you keep comparing, you will not be happy with yourself for the rest of the day and for a long time. Ask for help if you can’t do something, when you learn it, you will probably feel great when you accomplish that.
Know that comparing someone’s strength to your weakness will never bring a fair result, you’ll always feel beneath.
Do the things you love
Doing the things that we feel good about makes us happy. With love, comes happiness; happiness is like a byproduct of love. “Grandma is always happy when she plants trees” Do you know why?
It is because she loves planting trees. It gives her a sense of calm and releases her tension when she does it. When you take time to do those things that give you happiness, not just doing things you were ordered to do or those you do for money or anything other things you do not because you love them. Doing those things you love gives you a sense of serenity and happiness.
Spend Time With People You Love
To make this process effective, you have to love without holding back. Why love at all if you plan to hold back? When you love a little and hold back a little, there is a high percentage possibility that you will worry a lot.
Worrying adds more wrinkles to your face, you age easily when you get worried every time. If you hold back on love, other thoughts come into your mind like “I can’t trust him,” “I think he’ll leave me,” “I’d better be careful around her,” “She has ulterior motives”…
These kinds of thoughts will arise and make you worry and because of these doubts, happiness skids far away from you. If you want to love, give it your all so that when you spend time with those you care about, your smile grows wider.
Stop Being a Pessimist
You can think of all the possible ways an action can result into but do not kill your self-esteem with “I can’t.” Pessimism is a depressed and mental attitude that says that the outcome of a thing or action can never be positive.
Sometimes things don’t work the way we expect them to and some people don’t get to try again because of just one failure. You wanted to become an accountant but your grades suck and calculation isn’t your thing, you sit down and then declared your life a waste, then you started slacking off and continued to slack off until you are no more living.
That wasn’t the result of your bad grades or your inability to calculate, it was the result of “YOU.” A pessimist will always fail because he will always believe nothing will work right so he is always unhappy with himself. Be positive, if it doesn’t work this way, try another way. If you want to be happy, start today by being positive.
Don’t lock everyone out
Most of the time, isolation starts not deliberately. You just don’t feel like going out, you like that spot of your room, you like to talk to your pillow or the walls of your room, it’s tiring to drive to the city, Larry’s probably not home… before you know it, you get too used to your room, you don’t go out and you don’t bother checking on anyone when your friends ring you to hangout you tell them you feel like staying home.
Gradually, you are shutting everybody out unintentionally and you lose valuable relationships. Now, you have nobody to encourage you or console you. Stop being a loner if you want to be happy, enjoy the company of friends, be social, and meet people so that your sanity can be in check. Your thoughts depend mostly on actions. Get out, socialize, and be happy.
Talk to People
Sometimes, we are bothered by happenings in our life which is quite normal. These things get us worried and worked up and if not taken care of may disturb our sanity.
This calls for help, we should not allow ourselves to be weighed down by our problems. Share with people you can trust or see a psychologist. Just find someone to talk to so that you can find peace.
You can’t be happy if your mind is full of worries. Talk to somebody if you need help so you can feel light and happy. Also, meeting people is a way to add value and diversity to your lifestyle and general well-being.
It’s a normal trait of human beings to do something unpleasant to another person. People offend us now and then and those things that they have done hurt bad most of the time. But it hurts more when we are unable to forgive and let go.
Someone who finds it hard to forgive also finds it hard to have peace. When you keep thinking of how badly you have been hurt, you will find it hard to be happy because the hurt will keep resurfacing. Forgive, Research has proven that those who forgive easily derive happiness from letting go.
When you have forgiven somebody truly, this is how you should feel; satisfied and happy because you are strong enough to scale truly the hurt and carry the battle scar with pride. Forgive so that you can be happy.
Forgive yourself also
It is one thing to obtain forgiveness, it’s another thing to cast away that guilty feeling. If that person you wronged has forgiven you, then you have no cause to beat yourself continually.
A guilt-stricken person will find it difficult to be happy. If you don’t stop guilt-tripping yourself, you will not be happy. So, forgive yourself also and move on to better things. Quit holding on to your past mistakes so you can be happy. As rightly asserted by Publilius Syrus; “how unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself,”
Think about good memories
Research has shown that remembering precious moments triggers happiness. In your leisure time, go through pictures and Albums that remind you of the good old days, you’ll discover that your mood is lightened and you feel happiness surge from remembering those little moments from the past.
Listen to others
Most of the time when people ask for our help, we feel good and relevant. When we are now able to solve their problem, we are happy because we just listened to somebody else, ceased their worries, and made them happy.
Helping others through their hard times gives us satisfaction and tranquility. When you listen to others you will be able to influence them and gain trust. You can establish a connection with others by understanding them.
Having a connection with others builds your relationship with them. This makes you happy as you have them as friends and can trust them always.
Discover the beauty in others
That grumpy old dog in your house has a soft spot that you just haven’t discovered yet. The same applies to people around you, on the outside they may be unpleasant and unapproachable but I bet you that you just don’t know them yet.
I once talked to a girl who always wore a frown around. I was surprised at how warm she was, she said she didn’t even realize that she frowns that much. From then on, she made a conscious effort to smile.
I felt happy because I was able to bring out her smile. Don’t judge yet, try to talk to that person first, you’ll be thrilled by your findings.
Health is an important characteristic of a good living. Somebody who is sick finds it hard to be happy. Having health issues makes one miserable and a miserable person is miserable always.
Make sure to work towards healthy living. Watch what you eat, shower, drink water, rest, go for check-ups, and exercise daily. Similarly, happiness has a positive effect on health. This also encompasses taking care of your physical well-being such as your oral health.
If you try out everything listed above and you still don’t feel happy, this last one is for you
+1. See a psychologist
Seeing a psychologist doesn’t mean you are sick or insane. You are simply asking for help because you want to live the best version of yourself. A psychologist will listen to your problems and guide you through processes to solve them.
Why You Should See a Psychologist
Psychologists are trained for this; Psychologists are professionals trained to help people. There are several types of Psychologists but their main work is to listen and help overcome your problems.
A psychologist in a clinical setting is trained to help people overcome depression, anxiety, guilt, phobias, and other disturbing symptoms.
- Your health will improve; If you see a psychologist and relate your problems to him, he helps you through it and in that process, your health becomes restored.
- It helps your relationship with others; You probably weren’t able to relate well with friends because of these problems you have, and seeing a psychologist helps you to form a better relationship with your people. Because you will feel better and better as you consult the psychologist.
- Stops your addiction; If you were addicted to a substance to keep yourself stable. Seeing a psychologist can help you become independent on substance. If you want to get off substances, you can talk to a psychologist.
- Your friends and family may not understand; If they don’t understand, they can give you an ideal solution. Psychologists are professionals trained to listen and help. Alongside your friends’ and family’s efforts see a psychologist for effective measures.
- Confidentiality; No matter how heavy those burdens are, you can help them at a psychologist’s feet and have them solved. Psychologists don’t expose clients’ problems. You are safe to discuss anything with them. It is unethical for a psychologist to reveal your problem to anyone else.
Signs That Show You Need to See a Psychologist
- Lack of interest in pleasurable things; once you feel dead to activities that are generally supposed to give pleasure, please talk to a psychologist.
- If you find it hard to sleep well consecutively, see a psychologist.
- Depression and suicidal thoughts; When you constantly think of taking your own life or lose interest in everything, it is a big sign that you should talk to a psychologist.
- When you feel distressed continuously.
- When normal measures don’t work for you, it’s time to seek professional help.
- If people around you are getting concerned about your actions or inactions, you should seek help from a psychologist.
After discussing with your therapist or psychologist and after a while, if you aren’t getting results as you should then you can change your therapist. Below are signs that you should change your psychologist.
- If your psychologist is too cold or not interactive, you should change him or her.
- When your therapist is physically or emotionally distraught when you discuss your challenges, change him or her. This emotional display won’t help you. You asked for help, not a pity partner.
- When it appears that your therapist isn’t paying attention to you. You would know if your therapist is listening or not by the reply they give, if it seems off, change him or her.
- When you don’t experience change in your situation, seek help from another psychologist so you can go through another approach.
- If he or she is trying to force his thoughts on you, you should leave. He or she is not supposed to force you. It is meant to be a process.
- If you don’t feel a connection with your psychologist, you should change him or her. If you can’t establish a trusting relationship with him or her, then he or she isn’t right for you.
- When it seems like the therapist is judging you more than helping you, then leave because it will make you feel worse and may lead to self-condemnation.
- If your therapist is not punctual or always cancels on you, you should change him or her. You need to constantly see a psychologist until your therapy is complete.
- If your psychologist gets distracted during your therapy constantly, please find another. A distracted person will not be able to concentrate or give proper directives. When distraction happens all the time, you need to change the psychologist not stop consulting.