Being happy can be defined as, a pleasurable, exhilarating and joyous state of mind. The key word here is mind, which changes as we grow. What we think about, we bring about.
I used to think that I would be happy when I made ten thousand dollars a year, have a family, own a home, or get a bigger TV. These things delivered an immediate, yet only a temporary happiness affect. I remember counseling an older man who was building a home and was extremely stressed. He told me he would be happy when he completed building his new home. He shelved his happiness for 3 years.
For ultimate happiness, we need to make ourselves happy now, not depending on others, situations or the future.
We all have the right to be happy. The question is what will truly bring us the happiness we seek. From a young age, most of us are taught that if we work hard and become successful, then we will be happy. Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman found that once people reach a little beyond the average middle-class income level or even greater financial success, it doesn’t increase happiness. Material gain or things doesn’t seem to be the permanent answer. It was found that spending money on experiences and activities rather than on material purchases did make us happier in the moment and over time.
So what is the answer? We have to be happy for no reason, which means creating an attitude and state of mind that is happiness. Not an easy task, because we have formulated beliefs that interfere. Using a framework which psychologists use to rate personalities, called the Five-Factor Model, researchers found that people who do not excessively worry, and who are sociable and conscientious tend to be happier. Happy individuals are more open, healthier, kinder, have lower blood pressure and a healthier immune system.
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
For the past four decades researchers found roughly a third of Americans have said they’re “very happy,” and about half report being “pretty happy.” Only about 10 to 15 percent typically say they’re “not too happy.” For many years, it was found that women were happier than men, although recent studies state that the gap has narrowed.
Interestingly enough, about half of our capacity for happiness is genetically determined. Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh working with researchers at Queensland Institute found that happiness is partly determined by personality traits and that both personality and happiness are largely hereditary. Up to an additional 40 percent comes from the things that have occurred in our recent past, but tends to dissipate quickly. That leaves around 12 percent which we can bring under our control.
So let’s put a little more effort into being happy. We can do that by increasing our happiness baseline. First let’s get rid of thoughts which create guilt, fear, anger, anxiety, jealousy blame and all other negative thoughts. Below are steps to success.
Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.
– Dalai Lama
7 Steps to Expand Your Happiness Baseline
- Catch yourself and stop thinking negative thoughts. When you become aware that you are thinking negative, take a deep breath and release the thoughts. Mentally pat yourself on the back for your positive efforts.
- Focus on the good things in your life and be grateful. Train your mind to think positive thoughts and focus on solutions.
- Stop blaming others and look for your lessons in each situation. Ask yourself, how can I take responsibility and grow from this? Forgive quickly.
- Repeat the mantra I AM HAPPY at least 7 times a day. It will create new neuro-pathways in your brain.
- Visualize, imagine and feel how good you will feel being happy (see it, feel it, be it) Know what makes you happy.
- Be kind, have fun, socialize with good friends, enjoy your free time, do something nice for yourself and others.
- Do not take individuals actions personally. Learn to detach yourself, which means you are increasingly able to view your life and the rest of the world from an objective prospective. This does not mean you are cold and uncaring. Rather self-contained.
We have the ability to control how we feel, and with consistent practice, and by following the above guidelines, you can form life-long habits for a more satisfying, happy and fulfilling life. Your success is equal to your desire.
Dr. Jeff Gero is a meditation teacher, life coach, psychotherapist and stress management specialist .Over the years thousands of people throughout the world have benefited from his programs. Jeff is also a personal and corporate coach as well as helping people achieve more success with less stress. In his book, Secrets to Success at Work, Dr. Gero uses his unique ability to weave vital success principles into a delightful story. Jeff also coaches athletes to enhance their performance. He has offices in Westlake, and Brentwood California and can be reached at 818 879-1373, www.jeffgero.com, firstname.lastname@example.org