How to Be Happy In Life
The Root of Happiness
To learn how to be happy and stay that way we need to get to the root of our misery. Most individuals don’t know how to work on happiness without questioning their pain first. But happiness does not begin with our pain unless you are beyond despair and you are here to change that.
Before we begin to read how to be happy, let’s begin by defining happiness, what is it? Happiness according to Berkley’s Dr. Simon-Thomas is having satisfaction and meaning in your life. The ability to feel positive emotions, the ability to self regulate negative emotions while having a purpose. That this purpose goes on to a broader point: The ability to connect, have healthy relationships, and a sense of community. The studies and research always conclude similarities between happy people, it seems a sense of connectedness to others around us brings joy and happiness.
Another definition as given by Isha Foundation’s founder Jaggi Vasudev, a mystic and guru, is “happiness is living in an exuberant way. There are many ways of describing happiness but only those who know it can describe it. You see, everyone can be happy, but the problem is maintaining it. Children, on the other hand, have the capacity to maintain many joyous moments. Only as we grow older do we fall below that. In fact, our generation is the most comfortable generation ever, but the least happy. Our conveniences have come at a cost.”
He goes on to explain “When others around you can determine the happiness within you, you are a slave to those that hold your happiness. That norm is not how our happiness should be determined. Outside will never 100% be pleasant, but if you are able to create a distance between that then you will be able to create your own joy. Everything you see and experience is within you; pain, pleasure, happiness. What happens within you should be determined by you. No one else but you. To do this intentionally to live is to live in mindfulness.’
Craig Lambert, from Harvard magazine, writes that psychiatrists and a trained psychoanalyst Valliant notes that the Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, the clinical “bible” of psychiatry and clinical psychology, “has 500,000 lines of text. There are thousands of lines on anxiety and depression, and hundreds of lines on terror, shame, guilt, anger, and fear. But there are only five lines on hope, one line on joy, and not a single line on compassion, forgiveness, or love. Everything I’ve been taught encouraged me to focus on the painful emotions, ‘because people can’t do that themselves.’ My discipline taught me that positive thinking was simply denial and that Pangloss and Pollyanna should be taken out and shot. But working with people’s strengths instead of their weaknesses made a difference. Psychoanalysis doesn’t get anybody sober. AA [Alcoholics Anonymous] gets people sober.’ ”
Where Are We Going Wrong?
So basically we are looking at a society lacking on prevention, that chooses to focus on the sickness. You don’t change or begin to understand how to be happy by focusing on the opposite, unhappiness. That only teaches you that misery exists, not how to fix it. Negative emotion is needed to survive. In fact, negative emotions are as developed in animals as they are in humans. But only the higher thinking brain can produce joy which has been linked to spiritual development, or connection. This connection is at the base of happiness. All this culminates to the fact that happiness, therefore, is a choice.
Happiness a Choice
How the realization that joy and happiness is a choice affects people is interesting. Instead of people feeling relief that they can learn how to be happy, they often feel denial. Denial that stems from guilt at the realization that happiness is up to them. According to science, 10% of our happiness is due to our external circumstances and a full 90% is based on our inner environment! That’s a lot of responsibility on our end. With that kind of control, we go slightly numb, it’s a lot to consider.
Happiness as a Contagion
Happiness is contagious, with the discovery of mirror neurons Neurophysiology proved that happiness, sadness, and other emotions are contagious. You affect others and others affect you. How you conduct your emotions at home and work is dependent on those around you and vice-versa. That is a great burden to bear and can often scare us out of attending those AA meetings. We barely know how to be happy, how are we supposed to consider others that’s a lot of responsibility?
You Are in Control
But it doesn’t have to be scary. Having that kind of control should be liberating, and here is why. You control your own destiny. I have the uncanny ability to read people and even know what they will be like in the future, you might call it psychic, but I call it a mixture of an acute sense of people awareness and the ability to predict.
It never surprises me that those who seek out individuals to tell them their future want something other than what they have created. Some are willing to change what I suggest and others think I might have read them wrong. It’s hard to face what you have created but it should not scare you away from attempting to find how to be happy.
Is Happiness Genetically Set?
We are all born genetically with set points for happiness. The ups and downs of life will disrupt this set point but most people return eventually to their set peg. But while biology has determined our potential for happiness, neuroscience gives us hope to alter that predisposition. You cannot change the variant (everything around you) but you can change the constant (you). You can change your happiness characteristics by simply doing the practices that make that change.
Our minds are responsive to various neuroplastic modals. One of those modals, mindfulness is a form of cognitive therapy well-studied and shown to improve perceived happiness. The other, meditation, according to studies calms brain neural communication. Calming the brain creates peace and therefore makes it possible to bring joy in.
How Happy People Behave
How do happy people behave compared to those that are not? According to Catherine Sanderson a professor at Amherst College who teaches about The Science of Happiness, happy people are more helpful, less hostile, more productive, and experience better health. The things that we perceive that make us happy (but don’t) are money, climate, and life events.
How Do We Begin?
So how do we make ourselves truly happy? If you want to approach the scientific way, they suggest adding the typical components that happy people do on a regular basis. Things like eating well, exercising, shopping for others, time in nature, having self-esteem, and optimism.
But are those things the things that make us happy, the things that show us how to be happy or are they the things you do once you reach happiness? I believe those are the things you do once you become happy. This is based on my experience and watching those that are happy. You lack the ability to seek happiness when you are sick, and being depressed or having anxiety is a sickness.
On Being Happy
Being happy is something that I have achieved, and so far, not fleeting but consistent happiness. The road I took was not easy, was not instantaneous, nor was it enlightened. It began with the worst depression I had ever felt, my mind had reached an unsustainable level of misery, suicide was the only thing I wished I could seek (pain will make you think that way). I wanted so desperately to end that pain, and my motivation was so strong, but I chose not to fail.
This lead me to read everything I could on my brain, neuroscience, positive psychology and finally new age enlightenment. It was through a combination of them all and the practice of mindfulness that I came to be as I am, happy. It took me a while but I had learned how to be happy. My moods go up and down, I live life fully, but with that never wavering joy, it always returns easily and consistently. That is what happiness means to me, a person who feels content and happy, a person who takes the valleys with the peaks and lives life to the fullest.
Steps on How To Be Happy
The things that I suggest you do to achieve happiness are easy, require no equipment, and work for everyone who commits to it. If you are miserable enough to seek this article, then you might be ready to for that kind of change within you. If you are not miserable enough, then you will not be seeking to know how to be happy.
Quieting the mind is important, we seem to question everything and anything. That constant dialog will create anxiety. The following are symptoms of anxiety that might be all too familiar with. These are some of the symptoms that stand in the way of being mentally healthy.
- Concentration Issues
- Tense Muscles
- Sleep Issues
- Panic Attacks
- Social Avoidance
- Irrational Fears
These symptoms of anxiety can lead to depression. It’s hard to look at life joyfully when you see it through depressed or anxious eyes. By quieting the mind you attack anxiety and depression at the base of its creation. These allow you to heal within and be able to see the reality of the outside world. You can quiet your mind with these four methods below.
Taking a few minutes a day to find a quiet place and practice meditation is important. Meditation is the fastest way to quiet the mind. The reason it’s so effective is that you are giving it your all, there is nothing but those quiet moments. This method works for everyone, but you do have to redirect your mind every time it wanders. I have a Guided Meditation program by Sadhguru (Jaggi Vasudev) that I recommend. It is a fantastic beginner or advanced meditation program guided by a master.
Mindfulness is bringing the mind in a quiet manner to what you are doing. This takes a lot of practice but can be implemented every day and any minute. The beauty of this method is that you don’t have to find a quiet spot or change anything about your routine. Practice quieting your thinking and focusing on the task you are doing or the conversation you are having. Give it your complete attention, bringing the wandering mind every time you notice yourself not paying attention.
This is the method I used, and it seems to take the most practice but I was diagnosed with ADHD and could never hold still (which is not the case anymore, I am calm and peaceful). This is a form of pulsing, working your mindfulness in small increments. I love this method for learning how to be happy by just being content in the moment.
Time in Nature
Time in nature is about the frequency or energy you surround yourself. This energy is calming and realign your cells for healing. Touching dirt, such as when you garden, brings discharging to your biological electrical circuitry. However, be aware to do this outside of the city surroundings. Cities tend to have a lot of loose energy fields, EMF, and RF exposures, grounding yourself here is not recommended. Go camping, spend time in parks and nature.
If you give thanks to things around you, you lift your mood for the better. Threw daily thankful moments you can create more of that permanent joy. This can be done anywhere, at home, at work, or even on the road. Pick something you take for granted and give it thanks. Hold this thankful mood for a couple of minutes at a time. Gradually you can increase this, it gets easier to sustain it the longer you do it.
Make it a habit to write something you are grateful for every night. Keep a journal by your bedside and let it be the last thing you do for the night. Focusing on your joys every day and you will begin to build life satisfaction.
There many ways you can maintain your happiness and joy once you obtain it. You can learn to be mindful of feelings and judgments. Understanding that emotional regulation is our higher thinking mind will help you raise your vibration. Our monkey brain rules us, keeps us in a state of chaos. If you learn to disarm it, you learn to live uplifted.
Disarm Your Feelings
Without even realizing it most people talk themselves into not completing a task simply by having negative feelings about what they are doing. You got to stop yourself from feeling abhorrence (yes we tend to feel this when we need to do dishes or homework). Drop it like it’s hot, seriously, drop the feeling every time you feel that dreaded abhorrence, practice dropping it to the ground. Refuse to let it into your mind or heart, let that feeling go. Practice this every day, with everything you do, you might think you are not doing it, but I can guarantee you if you pay attention you will find yourself feeling it. Read more on Emotional Regulation Here or by clicking on the image below.
Silent judgment is another feeling very close to abhorrence. We don’t even realize we are judging things or others we do it so often. Pretend you are made out of vapor, let comments, opinions, news, etc., go through you. Don’t put up a fight, just let them pass. Practicing the release of silent judgment has allowed me to stop holding on to pain caused by disagreements, opinions, things I can’t control. It has even worked with my self-love, I stopped judging myself. When I say my opinion to others, I don’t judge myself based on what they might say, I just let it go.
Creating your happiness will not be hard, but the hard part is making yourself do it. Like anything in life, repetition will rewire your brain and make you better. Many people do something once or even a week and then claim they can’t do it. Failure is not your enemy, staying in failure is. Check out my habits post HERE. You cannot learn how to be happy without creating the habit of happiness, you have got to repeat it.
Maintaining your happiness once you practiced the above preliminary behaviors will not be hard. This is the fun part, this is where you insert LIVE FULLY. Grab life and go with it. I believe this is the part most try out first, but I don’t think you should be driving life at 60 miles an hour without learning how to steer it first. Here are the things to do to culminate joy and live the best life.
Acts That Maintain Happiness
- Eat Well
- Sleep Well
- Less Screen Time
- Maintain Relationships
- Acts of Kindness
- Maintain Flow/Grow Talents
Last Notes on Happiness
Positive Psychology has its place in our society more than ever, we can’t teach something by treating the outcome but by treating the cause. What a relief that the mind is changeable through training. Only by doing the above suggestion can you see change and begin to learn how to be happy.
Begin quieting the mind by meditating, creating mindfulness and spending time in nature. Learn that joy can be created through grace, and a bit of nightly journaling. To maintain your happiness you have to disarm feelings, stop judgment of your life and others and repeat everything you wish to change. Your happiness can be culminated by following the things that change your genetic predisposition, you are in control. Although we might not control our circumstances, we can control our reactions and pro-action. This is how to be happy!
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