Posted on Last updated: October 5, 2019 Categories Gratitude, Happy Quotes, Quotes
Being Happy With What You Have
I’m super big on the whole learning to ‘love yourself’ and ‘being happy with yourself’ idea. The people who are able to really learn this amazing skill will go far in life.
But what about when you can apply this concept to your entire life? And actually, be happy with what you have? Right now. All the good and even the ‘needs improvement’ sections of your life?
Not beating yourself up, not comparing with others and not thinking that the ‘grass is always greener’.
Its life changing.
It doesn’t mean settling or striving for just mediocre in life. It’s learning contentment and gratitude for all the good that you do have and appreciating the bad that you don’t have.
If you’re needing a reminder of how to be more content, more grateful (and therefore much happier) – then check out the following inspiring quotes.
Quotes About Being Happy with What You Already Have
“Be happy with what you have. Be excited about what you want.” Alan Cohen
“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” Anonymous
“Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness.” William E. Gladstone
“Make peace with your now moment. Live in this very moment and be happy with what you have. Joy enters when we stop complaining about the troubles we have and offering thanks for all the troubles we don’t have. And be aware, you have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.” Angie Karan
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln
“Happiness. Contentment. Inner peace. Have you ever gone looking for something only to realize you had it with you the whole time?” Anonymous
“The only thing that will make you happy is being happy with who you are, and not who people think you are.” Goldie Hawn
“You are only a poor person if you are not happy with what you have.” Debasish Mridha
“He who is contented is rich.” Lao Tzu
“The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.” Woody Allen
“It’s almost impossible to be satisfied in your own life if you’re constantly looking at what someone else has.” Rachael Cruze
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” Omar Khayyam
“Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.” Bilal Zahoor
“One of the simplest ways to stay happy is by letting go of the things that make you sad.” Tinku Razoria
“Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.” Dale Carnegie
“Whether you choose to move on from your struggles and enjoy life or waddle in your misery, life will continue.” Germany Kent
“A harvest of peace is produced from a seed of contentment.” Proverb
“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” Henry Ward Beecher
“Contentment always eludes those who don’t count themselves blessed for what they already have.” Anonymous
“To be content doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what’s to come.” Tony Gaskins
“Each morning when I open my eyes, I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” Groucho Marx
“Comparison makes finding contentment a million times harder.” Anonymous
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” Jim Rohn
“Just become totally content and happy from within. Then you will get all that you want.” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Gratitude & Being Happy with What You Already Have
Being happy with what you already have essentially comes down to gratitude. Being aware of it in your life and making it a focus.
If you’re wanting to make gratitude a firm fixture in your life, then be sure to check out the following articles that can help:
Looking for more positive quotes about being happy with yourself?
How happy are you―really? If there’s room for improvement, finally learn how to be happy with these suggestions.
A few years ago, on a morning like any other, I had a sudden realization: I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of a New York City bus, I saw that the years were slipping by.
“What do I want from life?” I asked myself. “Well…I want to be happy.” I had many reasons to be happy: My husband was the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; we had two delightful girls; I was a writer, living in my favorite city. I had friends; I had my health; I didn’t have to color my hair. But too often I sniped at my husband or the drugstore clerk. I felt dejected after even a minor professional setback. I lost my temper easily. Is that how a happy person would act?
I decided on the spot to begin a systematic study of happiness. (A little intense, I know. But that’s the kind of thing that appeals to me.) In the end, I spent a year test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and tips from popular culture—happy planner, happy color, happy stuff, and all. If I followed all the advice for how to feel happy, I wanted to know, would it work?
Well, the year is over, and I can say: It did. I made myself happier. And along the way I learned a lot about how to be happier. Here are those lessons.
1. Don’t start with profundities. When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.
2. Do let the sun go down on anger. I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.
3. Fake it till you feel it. Feelings follow actions. If I’m feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myself actually feeling happier. If I’m feeling angry at someone, I do something thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.
RELATED: How to Avoid Spoiling Your Kids
4. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. People who do new things―learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places―are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to “Enjoy the fun of failure” and tackle some daunting goal.
5. Don’t treat the blues with a “treat.” Often the things I choose as “treats” aren’t good for me. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and loss of control and other negative consequences deepen the lousiness of the day. While it’s easy to think, I’ll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans, it’s worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better.
6. Buy some happiness. Our basic psychological needs include feeling loved, secure, and good at what we do. You also want to have a sense of control. Money doesn’t automatically fill these requirements, but it sure can help. I’ve learned to look for ways to spend money to stay in closer contact with my family and friends; to promote my health; to work more efficiently; to eliminate sources of irritation and marital conflict; to support important causes; and to have enlarging experiences. For example, when my sister got married, I splurged on a better digital camera. It was expensive, but it gave me a lot of happiness.
7. Don’t insist on the best. There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.
8. Exercise to boost energy. I knew, intellectually, that this worked, but how often have I told myself, “I’m just too tired to go to the gym”? Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten my outlook.
9. Stop nagging. I knew my nagging wasn’t working particularly well, but I figured that if I stopped, my husband would never do a thing around the house. Wrong. If anything, more work got done. Plus, I got a surprisingly big happiness boost from quitting nagging. I hadn’t realized how shrewish and angry I had felt as a result of speaking like that. I replaced nagging with the following persuasive tools: wordless hints (for example, leaving a new lightbulb on the counter); using just one word (saying “Milk!” instead of talking on and on); not insisting that something be done on my schedule; and, most effective of all, doing a task myself. Why did I get to set the assignments?
10. Take action. Some people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament: You’re born an Eeyore or a Tigger, and that’s that. Although it’s true that genetics play a big role, about 40 percent of your happiness level is within your control. Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work. So use these tips to start your own Happiness Project. I promise it won’t take you a whole year.
More money. A better job title. A bigger house. A nicer wardrobe. We all want more. It’s human nature, really. Even if you aren’t a restless perfectionist who’s constantly trying to push herself to the next level (I’m blushing and putting my face down on my desk over here), most of us usually aren’t willing to completely stagnate. We all have at least some desire to keep moving forward.
But, let’s face it—living our lives with a ceaseless yearning to constantly get our greedy little paws on more (whether that’s money, fame, or success) can be downright draining. And, if you want to feel even the least bit content on a daily basis, you need to learn to go against the grain and be happy with—gasp!—less.
No, I’m not saying that you need to sell your home, keep only one pair of shoes, and live an extreme minimalist life in a 20-foot trailer (although, more power to you if that sounds like your jam!). However, there’s a lot to be said for finding happiness right where you are—rather than being so obsessed with where you’re going.
Easier said than done, right? Believe me, I’m right there with you. But, learning to feel satisfied with what you already have is definitely doable—it just takes a little conscious thought.
1. Stop Falling Into the Comparison Trap
All too often, I find myself chasing after something not because I actually want it, but because I feel like I should have it. Why? Well, because other people have it.
Comparison has become all too easy today. Like everybody else, I’ll blame that on social media. One minute, I’ll feel accomplished and successful in my career—until I log into LinkedIn and see that a colleague was recently published by The New York Times. I have zero complaints about my cute little house—until I see that one of my Facebook friends has just purchased this ridiculously gorgeous home on a giant wooded lot.
See how easy that trap is to fall into? I won’t even bother getting up on my high horse and preaching to you about this one, because I compare myself to others more frequently than I’d even care to admit—it’s natural.
But, it’s important to remember that someone else’s success isn’t your failure. And, beyond that, you don’t have to have (or even want) everything that other person already has within her grasp. You’re different people with different lives. So, do your best to stay focused on your own path, and forget the rest. In the end, what everyone else is doing has little to no impact on your own success and happiness.
2. Think About Your Reasoning
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with seeking improvement—as long as you have legitimate reasons for doing so. Maybe you want a better job because your current one makes you absolutely miserable. Perhaps you’re chasing after more money, because you find that your family is strapped for cash month after month. Those desires to be better can actually be motivating, and that’s a good thing!
But, if the only reasoning behind your longings are, “I just want it,” you’ve got a little more thinking to do. So, take a magnifying glass to your yearnings to amass more, and determine what exactly is feeding those desires.
If you find that you actually have solid justifications for why you simply can’t feel content and settled with your current circumstances? Well, you’ve lust landed on some awesome inspiration to keep moving forward. However, in contrast, if you discover that you’re only chasing your tail and driving yourself crazy for the sake of bragging rights or keeping up with the Joneses? You know you need to reevaluate and focus your attention on being happy with what you already have.
3. End Each Day Feeling Grateful
“Be happy with what I have?” you’re likely thinking now, “OK, that sounds great, but how exactly do I do that? That’s the hard part!”
You’re right. That is the hard part. And, I’m going to resist the temptation to spout out a bunch of those cliché, “It’s about the journey, not the destination” lines at you. This isn’t a high school commencement speech, after all.
But, do you know why that advice is so popular? Because it’s true. Oftentimes, we can be so laser-focused on what we want, we totally neglect to appreciate what we have. Don’t feel guilty—we all fall victim to this ungrateful attitude.
So, what do I do to try to combat that? Every night, I think of five things from that day that I’m grateful for. Whether it’s my family (my husband and my dog usually end up somewhere close to the top of that list) or a great accomplishment from that workday, I spend some time reflecting on all of the things that made me crack a smile.
It might all sound a little to mushy to you—and I can’t blame you there. But, I promise, it works. This technique pulls your attention off of all of those things that you don’t have and those slipups that didn’t go quite right throughout the day, and instead makes you remember all of the things (both big and small!) that you should appreciate.
Instead of falling asleep obsessing over the career trajectory of my college roommate’s friend, I rest easy thinking about all of the positives in my life. Dozing off while remembering how adorable my dog is? Well, there’s no better way to end the day.
We all want more. And, to some extent, that’s a good thing. But, if you spend every spare moment only thinking about all of the things you don’t have yet, you’re setting yourself up for a life of stress and discontentment.
It’s important to learn to be happy with what you have right now. And, as you now realize, that’s totally possible. Use these tips to feel pleased with where you are at the moment, and you’re sure to feel more satisfied, more fulfilled, and more accomplished on a daily basis. That’s right, you can actually have more with less.
This article was co-authored by Jennifer Butler, MSW. Jennifer Butler is a Love & Transformation Coach and the Owner of JennJoyCoaching, a life coaching business based in Miami, Florida, although Jennifer works with clients all over the world. Jennifer’s work centers around empowering women who are navigating any stage of the divorce or breakup process. She has over four years of life coaching experience. She is also the co-host of the Deep Chats Podcast along with Leah Morris and the host of season 2 “Divorce and Other Things You Can Handle” by Worthy. Her work has been featured in ESME, DivorceForce, and Divorced Girl Smiling. She received her Masters of Social Work (MSW) from New York University. She is also a Certified Health Coach, a Communications & Life Mastery Specialist, and a Certified Conscious Uncoupling and Calling in “the One” coach.
There are 16 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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In our fast-paced, interconnected modern world, it’s hard not to constantly want something new, something better, something faster. Whether it’s your car, your house, or your family, we’re always looking for ways to trade up, always chasing the next best thing. But this cycle of pursuit and temporary satisfaction is never-ending. To free yourself from it, you must eventually become content with what you have. This doesn’t mean you never seek improvements within yourself or your quality of life, but it does mean to stay conscious of how lucky you really are, and finding simple joys in everyday moments.
Most people I meet assume that if anyone on the planet is happy at work, I am. Their assumption is easy to understand: I co-founded and run a company called Happier. I make a living by helping other people find more joy in their lives — which is one of the simplest ways to increase your own happiness. I must feel happy all the time!
But: I don’t. Being an entrepreneur is the absolute hardest thing I’ve done professionally. Every day is a psychological battle to not let the overwhelming stress, long hours, uncertainty and emotional rollercoaster of being part of a start-up beat me down.
Which means that to be happier at work, I’ve had to become intentional about it. Like working out or eating healthy, being happier is something you have to work on. It’s a skill that takes practice. The good news is that a growing body of research shows there are simple, concrete things you can do to help you learn how to be happy at work, and they don’t require huge changes.
Start the day on a good note
How you feel in the morning affects how you feel at work for the rest of the day. In one study, researchers analyzed the moods and performance of customer service representatives. Those who were in a good mood in the morning were more productive during the day and reported having more positive interactions with customers.
So make it a point to do something in the morning that makes you feel good:
Take a few minutes to savor your morning coffee (or tea or hot chocolate or whatever you like to drink before the workday starts). This means actually pausing to enjoy it, focusing on what you feel as you drink it and taking a few minutes to do nothing else — not gulping it down as you rush to your desk.
Get some fresh air. Every morning I go for a brisk walk. Rain or shine, I get out there before the day gets going. It’s probably one of my best habits to help me deal with daily work stress. And there’s research to back this up: just 20 minutes of fresh air has been found to boost happiness and feelings of well-being.
Make fewer decisions
One of the hardest aspects of my job as a CEO of a startup is making dozens of decisions daily, often with little or incomplete information. Decision fatigue is real: each decision you make depletes your cognitive resources, making each future decision more difficult. This can quickly exhaust you and make you feel run down.
So how can you make fewer decisions?
Put some parts of your day on autopilot. For example, have the same thing for lunch or breakfast for a week, then change it up. You’ve just removed a bunch of decisions from your day. (Steve Jobs said that he wore the same outfit daily so that he wouldn’t spend energy deciding what to wear.)
Take yourself out of a few decisions. Before weighing in on something at work, ask yourself if 1) it’s high impact and 2) you have a strong opinion about it. If you say “no” to both, then this might be a great opportunity to not weigh in on a decision.
Help a colleague
Helping others makes you happier. And helping your colleagues makes you happier at work.
For example, one study found that people in their mid-30s who had earlier rated helping others at work as important reported feeling happier when asked three decades later. Helping your co-workers seems to create a virtuous cycle; according to another study, happier workers help their colleagues 33% more than those who aren’t happy.
You don’t have to do anything huge or heroic to help. Grab your colleague’s favorite beverage when you get your coffee. Ask if they need help on a project. Offer to do something simple, like type up notes after a meeting.
The tougher part is making this a regular part of your day instead of something you do only once in a while. One simple way to do this is to put a reminder on your calendar. It may sound cheesy, but give it a shot. You might be surprised at how effective this small habit can become. (And feel free to call it something that makes you smile, like “Time to be awesome, yo!”)
Make progress and acknowledge it
One of the best books about being happier at work I’ve read is called The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer. The authors studied motivation in the workplace and found that one of the most powerful causes of positive employee morale and happiness at work was feeling like you’re moving forward and making meaningful progress.
I can attest to this. Even on really bad days, if I can point to a few things that I’ve accomplished, I feel better.
Try this: Before you start your workday, write down three small things you will get done. Do them, preferably before you even open your email or take a phone call. Cross them off your list. At the end of the day, go back and look at your list and acknowledge that you made progress.
If you have a huge project ahead of you, it’s hard to feel like you’re making progress unless you break it up into smaller parts. On some days, those parts may have to be tiny. When I sat down to write this article, I only had time to write the title before having to run and take care of something family-related. The next day when I opened the document, instead of feeling bad for not having gotten more done, I felt great that I’d made a start and had a good title in place.
End your workday with a simple gratitude pause
Here’s the bad news: Our brains are better at remembering the bad than the good. For example, one study found that the negative impact of setbacks at work was three times as powerful as the positive impact of making progress.
We’re conditioned by evolution to seek out what’s wrong and focus on it: this helps us protect ourselves from danger, which is good, but it makes it more difficult to be happier. The good news is that you can train your brain to better remember the positive things. In other words, you can fight your natural negativity bias.
The simplest way to do this is to think of something you appreciate about your day and write it down. Many studies have shown that when people do this regularly, they report feeling more optimistic and better about their lives overall.
Since you’re likely busy, create a simple gratitude ritual at the end of your day that will be hard to skip. The best way to do this is to connect it to something you already do. For example, my ritual is thinking of something good that happened during the day before I turn my key in the ignition as I start my commute home.
If you share something positive about your day with someone else, even better. Research shows that discussing positive experiences with others enhances how good you feel about them and increases their after-effect.
How to be Happy in Life:
Here are the steps to follow to stay happy in life.
Reduce Your Needs & Increase Your Responsibilities
When you take more responsibility and your needs are less, everything simply comes to you – enthusiasm, happiness, creativity, etc.
Look At People Who Have Bigger Problems Than You
The student then drew a much longer line underneath that line. So, the line automatically became shorter. The lesson here is that if your difficulties appear to be very big, lift your eyes because you are only focused on yourself.
If you lift your eyes up and look at those who are in a worse condition than you, you will suddenly feel that your burden is not as bad as you thought it was. If you think you have some big problem, look at people who have a greater problem. Suddenly, you will get a confidence that my problem is much smaller, and I can manage it.
So to be happy is to see those who have greater problems, then your problems will appear smaller. The moment your problems appear smaller, you will get the energy and confidence to deal with it or solve it.
In simple words, serve those who are in greater need.
Don’t Be Unhappy About Being Unhappy
Drop Unpleasant Memories Of The Past & Live In The Present Moment
How can you be happy if you’re holding onto unpleasant memories of the past? Unpleasant memories are the biggest hindrance for you to be in the present. The nature of the mind is such, it leaves all the pleasant memories and it grabs onto those few unpleasant events and chews on it. We have advanced in technology but we have not used that technology for our mind.
If you are happy now, the past will not torment you and the future will take care of itself .
Know That Everything Is Temporary
None of the events are permanent; pleasant or unpleasant, all pass and move away .
When you realize that everything is temporary, and it all fades away, then you can be perpetually happy.
Dedicate You Life To A Larger Goal
Take The Decision That ‘I Will Not Allow Any Situation To Bog Down My Happiness’
You Have To Take This Decision, Nobody Else Can Take It For You.
There is nothing great in smiling when everything is normal, and when everything is going the way you want. But if you awaken the valor inside of you, and say, ‘Come what may, I am going to keep smiling’, you will notice tremendous energy rise from within you. Then problems will feel like nothing; they just come and disappear.
Being happy, keeping the environment around you happy, and not losing your smile come what may, is the real sign of enlightenment.
At All Costs, Save Your Mind!
In your day to day life, people come and put some negativity in you, and that makes your mind and your determination shaky. Don’t let this happen. Put a filter to your ears and just smile through it.
It is natural and common that people will put out some negativity, but when you are deeply connected with your Self , and when you have intuition, then you will just smile through all such incidents. You will put a filter in your ears.
That is how the world is. There are some pleasant and some unpleasant things. How we manage them and keep our direction, that is what is most important.
Have Faith Because Faith By Itself Can Make You So Happy
What you need to remember at all times is this, ‘There is someone who loves me very dearly, and is taking care of me at all times. He cannot be without me and He is capable of removing any lack that I have’.
Knowing this too brings such joy in one’s life.
Share Your Happiness With Others & It Will Grow
When you are content; when you are happy, you want to share it.
The nature of joy is to share with others. Joy has the tendency to spread, and whenever a person is genuinely happy and joyful from within, they want to just share it with the whole world.
WE’RE all familiar with that happy feeling that comes from something new – a relationship, job, or shiny new toy. Here’s how to maintain that high all the time
November 7, 2016 12:55pm
Becoming rapidly accustomed to something new is so common that psychologists have a name for it – hedonic adaptation. Source:Getty Images
I’M A movie buff.
Terminator sci-fi films, 007 spy flicks, Flying High comedy spoofs, Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns, Hitchcock thrillers, classic swashbuckler adventure films – I love them all.
So I was bursting with excitement the day that a new LG 60 inch ultra-high definition Smart TV was delivered to my door.
For the next month, I spent every evening camped out in the lounge room like a kid in a candy store slack-jawed, eyes glued to the screen.
I was in cinematic heaven, overwhelmed by the crystal-clear picture, the dazzling colours, the sweet sound.
Incredibly, though, as each week passed I found that the initial happiness I had tasted when I had first switched on the TV had waned and the screen didn’t seem as large or the picture as stunning anymore. I began wondering if I should have bought the next bigger size.
Becoming rapidly accustomed to something new is so common that psychologists have a name for it – hedonic adaptation.
I am betting you’ve had a similar experience, perhaps when you bought a new car or article of clothing, changed your hair style, relocated to a different city, or began a new job.
Just as you quickly adapt to the heat of a hot bath or a peculiar smell in your own apartment, so too do you adapt to changing life circumstances.
In a landmark study, researchers in Germany surveyed over 800 married couples and found that for the first two years of marriage their happiness increased, but thereafter it returned to the pre-marriage happiness level.
You can see that hedonic adaptation is a double-edged sword. It is beneficial when bad things happen, allowing you to adapt quickly and return to your baseline happiness after losing a job, suffering an illness, or experiencing a relationship breakup.
But it works against you and reduces your happiness following uplifting or positive events.
Fortunately, the power to successfully minimise the effects of hedonic adaptation is within your
control. By making a habit of practising a variety of happiness-inducing activities you will be able to maintain and enjoy a higher level of happiness when good things happen in your life. Here are several activities to help you.
1. Appreciate what you have now, instead of wanting more
The remedy is not to completely stop wanting more, but to enjoy and be thankful for what you
have NOW. Instead of being seduced by the urge to buy another car, coffee maker, or pair of
shoes, write down why you are grateful for similar possessions that you presently own.
Remember the reasons why you bought your current car. Recall the great coffee your machine
makes. Reminisce about the wonderful times you have had wearing the various shoes in your
cupboard. Then, make a conscious effort to enjoy every moment you use those possessions in
2. Relish ordinary experiences
I have worked and lived in some extraordinarily beautiful places around the world, but like most
people, I always became accustomed to my surroundings and never fully appreciated the amazing
opportunities afforded to me.
It took a five-year stint living in the Middle East (and an understanding of hedonic adaptation) to make me appreciate my hometown of Melbourne in Australia.
Ordinary pleasures such as the changing temperature of the seasons, being able to greet strangers on the street, and the rustle of swaying gum trees, things that were non-existent in Saudi Arabia, were now available to me at any time.
I felt as if I was seeing my hometown for the first time. Enhance your everyday feelings of happiness by learning to relish ordinary experiences when at work, at home, and in your relationships.
3. Avoid comparing yourself to others
One of the main culprits behind hedonic adaptation is social comparison. We become envious of
what another person has – perhaps a larger house, a more attractive girlfriend, a faster rise up the career ladder, greater popularity – and so no sooner have we experienced or achieved a positive event in our life than we are already eagerly anticipating the next event.
Consequently, we short-change ourselves of happiness in the moment. Counteract social comparison by savouring your own positive experiences.
Take pride in your own job promotion and of the skills you mastered, enjoy listening to your new hi-fi system with others, every week explore a different area of your new city, and every day learn something new about your partner.
4. Minimise hedonic adaptation in your relationship
The key to increasing your relationship happiness is to think back to when you first dated your
Remember how you listened to their life story in rapt attention? How fascinated you
were in learning about their struggles and successes? How you willingly sacrificed your time to
help them? How you regularly showered them with acts of affection? How you expressed
gratitude for anything they did for you? How you saw them as an equal partner in making
Well, the secret for lasting and fulfilling marriages, and for minimising hedonic
adaptation, is to continue doing what you initially did that captivated your partner in the first
5. Vary your positive experiences
To maintain a happiness activity’s effectiveness you need variety. If exercising gives you
happiness, try varying your morning running route. If you get a buzz out of helping others by
regularly visiting the local retirement village extend your acts of kindness to other domains.
If you keep a gratitude journal and restrict your appreciation for your healthy social life, try counting your blessings with respect to your profession and your family. If you love being affectionate to your husband spice it up a bit by being affectionate in different places and at different times.
Surprise yourself. By varying your happiness activities you will ensure that you continue to find
them stimulating and pleasurable.
Dr Bruce Wells is a happiness expert and a professional speaker. Visit his website for a free ebook. He is the author of Happiness Anywhere Anytime.
Written by joshua becker · 36 Comments
Last updated: December 21, 2019
Happiness is a state of mind. Specifically, it is a state of “well-being and contentment.”
But the definition can be tricky and assumptions about the word can cause confusion. Many don’t even realize learning how to be happy is something that can be intentionally practiced. Some people, when they hear the word ‘happiness,’ assume it is speaking of an emotion such as pleasure or joy. For them, it is what people feel in the immediate here and now.
This is the reason some people say, “Don’t pursue happiness, seek joy. Happiness is fickle and fading, joy remains forever.”
But this short-term definition of happiness is not how everyone understands the word. Some define it to mean long-term satisfaction.
In fact, when I speak of experiencing happiness in life, I am not thinking of short-term emotions at all. I think of a quality of living—a much longer-term view of the word.
Both definitions are understood to be correct and speak of different realities.
But are they really that different? I don’t think so.
After all, a long-term experience of life satisfaction is almost certainly made up of many short-term feelings of joy and pleasure. Does that mean every day is a great day with no trials, temptations, or downturns? Certainly not. But it does mean when we look back at the many seasons of life, we can look back satisfied at how we navigated them.
The long-term feeling of life satisfaction is most experienced when we embrace the emotion of joy in the here and now.
And we accomplish that by taking steps each day to be happy. Here are some tips on how to be happier starting today.
1. Choose happiness
The most important thing to realize about happiness is that it is not an outcome of current circumstances. Just the opposite, happiness is a choice. Is this easier on some days than others? Absolutely. But if you get caught in the trap of thinking your circumstances need to change before you can be happy, you’ll never, ever get there.
2. Focus on the good
There are good things in your life right now: you are alive, you are fed, you are healthy, you have family and friends, and you have opportunit i es each day to pursue meaningful work. Maybe not all of those are true for you right now, but certainly some of them are—which means there is good in your life that you can focus on.
Marine Sgt. Jonny Joseph Jones lost both of his legs in an explosion while serving in Afghanistan. I was struck by a quote of his I saw recently. He said this, “People ask how I stay so positive after losing my legs… I simply ask how they stay so negative when they have both of theirs.”
Happiness is about perspective and if you’re looking for reasons to be happy, you’ll probably find them. Happy people focus on positive thoughts.
3. Stop comparing
No matter how you choose to define happiness—short-term or long-term—comparison will rob you of it. Whether we compare our finances, our body type, our vacations, our talents, our house size or our shoe size, there are no winners in the game of comparison. But here’s the good news: Nobody is forcing you to play! You can stop any time you want. Be grateful for what you have, appreciate who you are, work hard every day to live your best life, and stop comparing yourself to others.
4. Practice gratitude and generosity
In the world of positive psychology, there are a few themes that emerge every time happiness is studied. Among those recurring themes, we find gratitude and generosity.
Both of which can only be understood correctly when we see them as disciplines rather than responses. A discipline is something we practice regardless of our circumstances. If you are waiting for enough money to become generous, you’ll never get there. Likewise, if you are waiting for everything to be perfect to be grateful, you’ll never experience it. Choose to be thankful today. And choose to be generous with your time and money. Making them both a discipline in your life will result in a happier today… and tomorrow.
5. Don’t pursue physical possessions
Possessions are necessary for life, but our society has seemed to confuse consumerism with happiness. Marketers work hard to convince us their products are not just needed for life, but that they are essential for happiness.
Slowly but surely, we begin to believe their empty promises and waste our lives pursuing things that can never satisfy. We sacrifice time, money, energy, and focus chasing and accumulating things we do not need.
These excess possessions add stress, worry, and burden onto our lives. Want to become a bit more happy today? Go declutter a closet or drawer and start to challenge consumerism in your life.
6. Be present in your relationships
Robert J. Waldinger is an American psychiatrist and Professor at Harvard Medical School where he is best known for directing the world’s longest-running longitudinal study tracking the health and mental well-being of a group of 724 American men for 76 years.
One thing that he has learned, and has been confirmed by studies elsewhere, is that relationships hold the key to happiness:
Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives, the study revealed. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes.
We don’t get to control every aspect of our relationships (we didn’t choose our family, for example). But we can all take steps to be a good friend. And good friends tend to attract healthy community.
7. Develop healthy habits
Annie Dillard is credited for saying, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And she is right. Our lives are filled with days, our days are filled with hours, and this present hour is filled with whatever you chose to fill it with. So pursue healthy habits that add value to your hours, days, and lifetime.
Spend time outside. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly. Quit smoking. Put down your cell phone. Work hard. Pray often. And get enough sleep.
8. Look outside yourself
The pursuit of self comes natural to us. We don’t need to be reminded to pursue our own self-interests. We pursue self-survival, self-promotion, self-actualization, and self-exaltation as if it is hardwired in our genes.
But the most efficient pathway to lasting happiness and fulfillment is not to look only at your own interests, but also to the interests of others. When we shift our focus off of ourselves, we live lives of greater meaning and greater contribution. When we serve others without concern over what we might receive in return, we experience the beauty of selfless love. The size of our universe (and happiness) begins to expand exponentially.
It is no small thing that happiness is pursued by so many. Let’s make sure we find it—in both the short term and the long term.
For many, finding happiness is a life-long effort that they adapt along the way. While there are no rules about how to be happy, many people have success with the ideas outlined here.
What are some secrets on how to find happiness?
Learning how to live a happy life is a common goal. Collective wisdom suggests you can only learn how to be happy after you’ve learned how to be happy with yourself.
Consider the following 10 tips for how to live a happy life.
Recognize that you have choices
While you can’t prevent many of the difficulties that you’ll encounter in life, you can control how you respond to them. You’ll be more content once you begin to see happiness as a choice rather than as a good fortune that only some people enjoy.
Even during the most difficult life experiences, there are often things to be grateful for. Acknowledging what is good in your life is an essential step in learning how to live a happy life.
Anger toward yourself, toward things that have happened in your life, or, anger toward other people can be a significant burden. When you can let go of anger, you may begin learning how to be happy with yourself.
Become aware of the role your thoughts play in the quality of your daily life. Focusing on bad things and negative emotions can be destructive. You can learn to be happier when you stop dwelling on the negative and focus on the more positive side of things.
Feeling included in a community of friends can be important part of living a happier life. Without the love and fellowship of friends, loneliness may become a factor that can detract from your health, happiness, and overall well-being.
Getting the right amount of sleep is important for feeling refreshed and focused. But losing sleep can also impact your mood. You can help your quality of life by practicing good sleep habits and getting plenty of uninterrupted rest.
Exercise stimulates your blood flow, which can help you feel better. While some people enjoy very intense exercise – and the endorphins it can generate – even a small amount of movement is beneficial and can help improve mood, lessen stress, and improve sleep.
Sunshine typically makes people feel happier. Take advantage of sunny days by getting outside – but don’t forget the sunscreen. If your environment is often without sun, lamps that are specially designed to mimic sunlight may be an option. If you are affected by dreary weather or the wet, wintry seasons, talk to your doctor. You should also talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or nursing for help choosing the right sunscreen for you.
Keeping your work and home spaces clean and free of clutter may help lift your mood. For example, some people are happier when they rearrange furniture and spend a day cleaning out a closet. If you’re feeling crowded in your space, try a little cleaning and organizing to see if that boosts your happiness.
Part of learning how to be happy with yourself comes with life experiences. Try to set and work toward achieving some goals. Start small. Find a goal or two that are relatively easy to accomplish. Have a plan in place for how you will achieve them. Achieving goals can help boost your confidence, and with it, your sense of happiness, too.
Finding happiness is different for everyone. Try making a few small changes a day that help you feel better when you do them. Over time they become good habits that can lead to a happier—and healthier — you.