How To Be Happy

Almost everyone wants to be happy and there are a multitude of references that promise to help you to achieve happiness.  Here we set out an overview of the different ways that have been suggested.

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The approaches to happiness can be grouped under a number of headings.  Each section gives you a quick introduction and allow you to explore in greater detail what that approach has to offer.

Avoiding Barriers To Happiness

An article by Amy Chan sets out 5 Things to Give Up to Be Happy.  Her list consists of the following five barriers to happiness.  These are fairly self explanatory but you can check out her article for short descriptions of each.

  1. Give up the habit of blaming
  2. Give up your need to impress
  3. Give up being a victim
  4. Give up feeling entitled
  5. Give up pretending.

The website has a longer list of the 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy.  This also has appeared in the Huffington Post and according to the Purpose Fairy website has gone viral and has been shared over 1,125,000 times.  Surprisingly there is not very much overlap between the two lists.

  1. Give Up Your Need To Always Be Right
  2. Give Up Your Need For Control
  3. Give Up On Blame
  4. Give Up Your Self-Defeating Self-Talk
  5. Give Up Your Limiting Beliefs
  6. Give Up Complaining
  7. Give Up The Luxury Of Criticism
  8. Give Up Your Need To Impress Others
  9. Give Up Your Resistance To Change
  10. Give Up Labels
  11. Give Up On Your Fears
  12. Give Up Your Excuses
  13. Give Up The Past
  14. Give Up Attachment
  15. Give Up Living Your Life To Other People’s Expectations

These barriers to happiness are real.  If you can see one that is proving troubling for you, then that is what you should work on.  However knowing what you should avoid to be happy, does not necessarily suggest how you can be proactive to attain a state of happiness.  The next article by the Mayo Clinic gives a suggestion on this.

The Mayo Clinic Approach To Happiness

The Mayo Clinic covers the following topics in its article on “How to be happy: Tips for cultivating contentment“.  Here are the tips:

  • Invest in relationships
  • Express gratitude
  • Cultivate optimism
  • Find your purpose
  • Live in the moment

Again the original article expands on these themes, but in summary these are much more on what you need to do to be proactive to achieve happiness.  That last item, Live in the moment, is perhaps the most important of all.  In some way you must key in to your own reserves to be able to achieve a state of happiness.  How exactly can you do this?  Again you can find help on this.

Your Innate Fount Of Happiness

Srikumar Rao says we spend most of our lives learning to be unhappy, even as we strive for happiness.  He teaches us that we should break free of the “I’d be happy if …” mental model, and embrace our innate hard-wired happiness.  His TED lecture on this is well worth the 17 minutes that it will take you to view the following video:

In other words, whether or not we are happy is entirely within our grasp.  That is a key principle of the science of Positive Psychology.

Positive Psychology and Authentic Happiness

The best possible way to get an understanding of Positive Psychology is to visit the homepage of Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of positive psychology.  This is a branch of psychology which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.  The Headline says it all:

Welcome to Authentic Happiness

One portal that is worth exploring is Positive Psychology UK.  This organization is one of many that cover some of the exciting work that is going on in Positive Psychology.

In summary, if you are having a problem in finding your own happiness, then do some exploring of all these resources that are available.  Happiness for you is probably just around the corner.

Image Credit: Courtesy of cathyse97 via Flickr