Are there really some secrets to being happy?
The answer is yes, there are definitely things that you can do to be happier but you are not guaranteed to be happy simply by choosing it. You have to think and act in ways that make you happy. And some of those ways may be “secrets” in that you may not have thought about them playing a role in happiness.
Many people mistakenly think they will be happier when (in the future) they have a better job or more money or better relationships. But happiness is an inside job. It is not about what you have or even what you do, it is about how you think about, feel about, and experience those things.
If you follow what I write about and teach, you know that conscious choice-making is very powerful. Consciously intending something, which involves your making a commitment, will begin to bring that something into your life. But it depends on your level of commitment and your follow-through actions and behaviors.
Happiness is feeling good about yourself and about life generally.
Generally, how most people feel about themselves and their lives depends heavily on circumstances. They might feel good about themselves when they get out of bed and exercise, but when they are at work and running into problems, they might start thinking in negative terms – like “why is this happening?”, or “I’m no good at this”, or “I hate my job”.
Negative, judgmental thinking leads to feeling unhappy (and usually very quickly). Positive, creative, and powerful thinking, on the other hand, invariably leads to feeling happy.
Your degree of happiness is based on your interpretation of events and feelings, and the more that you feel that you are moving in a positive direction of accomplishments and progress in life, the happier you will be. But if you interpret your situation in negative terms, you will tend to be unhappy.
So, one of the secrets of being happy is in your ability to think positively and to respond to challenges in life with confidence and power. For example, you can respond to events in positive words like “This is an interesting problem. I’ll talk with Tom because he ran into something similar last week.”, or “I’m confident I can handle this”, or “I love this job – it lets me be very creative”.
You can develop your confidence, creativity, and power (ability to respond) if you choose to focus on those things, and as a result you will be happier about yourself and your life. (My promise to you is… I will follow this article with posts on how to be more confident, creative, and powerful.)
Another secret of being happy is to stop and look at your behaviors, at home or at work, in terms of negative or positive. Do you nag your wife or husband or children about behaviors or chores? Nagging induces negative thinking in you and negative responses in your partner or kids, so it is not constructive. Instead find positive ways to politely request something rather than nagging and remember to thank them for doing what you requested.
Thanking people – at home or at work – always makes people feel better and appreciated even if it is for the most trivial things and even if you think it is expected or part of their duties. The interesting thing is that you will feel better too. It is a simple, powerful, and often overlooked secret for improving relationships. Believe it or not, thanking people and feeling gratitude will make your happier. There is a quotation that says “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.”
Do you “fall off the wagon” in terms of unhealthy behaviors, such as binge eating, smoking, drinking, watching TV, or staying up too late, and then beat yourself up? Start finding ways to remember why you want to be healthy and remind yourself – and better yet promise yourself – that you want to get healthier because of how you want to feel, look, be able to have more energy, and able do more for yourself and your family. Making positive progress makes you happy.
Happiness also comes from accomplishing positive goals and making progress toward those goals, knowing your purpose or serving your purpose. It even comes from being committed to achieving your goals. When I finally committed (to myself) to write my book Awakening to Wholeness (available on Amazon) and I got fully underway and started making regular progress, I was happier with myself. And I stuck to my commitment – when I finished the book I was not only proud of what I accomplished but very happy.
Have you ever noticed that you are happier when you get exercise? I go for a brisk walk every morning, and I not only feel good and enjoy the fresh air, I feel happier because my body is getting the exercise it needs. The human body thrives on movement and exercise. So, if you hate going to the gym and working out, then figure out what kind of exercise is right for you… it might be hiking, dancing, riding a bike, or playing soccer or basketball with friends.
Which brings me to a big one, and it’s not really a secret… It’s doing what you love to do. That could be in the work you do for a living or an avocation or hobby that you do in your spare time. For me, it’s playing guitar or electric bass or cajon and making music for the joy of it. I also enjoy (am happy) listening to music made by really good musicians.
Now, notice that the title of this article is “Secrets of Being Happy”. When you choose (intend and commit) to BE happy, it becomes very likely that you really will feel happy for that is the way we relate to the Universe. When you intend with full awareness to experience the emotion of love, you will feel the feelings of love. When you intend with full awareness to experience the emotion of happiness, you will feel the feelings of happiness.
Additionally, when you intend and commit to being happy, you will begin to act in a way that brings you into alignment with the causes of happiness. Being is the most powerful kind of intention and the most powerful kind of doing that there is.
The more you consciously take responsibility for serving yourself and the world well and acting in alignment with that intention, the happier you will automatically become because you have every reason to feel good about yourself and your life. You are being congruent in intention and action, and you are growing consciously.