26 Apr 10 tips for making changes for real happiness
Although _ã–success_ã can be defined in a variety of ways, for many in the _ã–western_ã world success is primarily something most associate with wealth. This is not necessarily or completely invalid, but a focus on finances to the exclusion of other life domains can be problematic if it leads to imbalance (e.g., a life of work and nothing else) or if it leads to an individual inappropriately determining his/her goals.
A good life is made up of multiple domains within which wealth and financial security, although important, should really be seen in the context of life_ã_s other components. True happiness might include a degree of material and vocational success but research strongly suggests that it also depends on factors such as good health; having a sense of direction and life purpose; optimistic thinking; life control; good quality relationships; and in whatever way you wish to define it, spirituality.
So how can you be really happy? Implement the following steps and you_ã_ll find that no matter how good or bad it is at the moment, your life can be even better.
1. Make a decision to be happy and know that real happiness is possible. Happiness is essentially a choice but you need to believe it is achievable. It_ã_s also crucial to realise that your happiness is entirely your responsibility so you might need to make some changes.
2. Determine what happiness means to you. Work out what_ã_s important in your life and what you need to do to get more of it in to your life. Research suggests that happy people tend to know where they_ã_re going.
They set goals and they make plans. Remember, if you don_ã_t design your own life plan chances are you_ã_ll fall in to someone else_ã_s. And guess what they might have planned for you_ã_not much!
3. Think optimistically about achieving the life you want to achieve. Henry Ford once said _ã–If you think you can or you can_ã_t, you_ã_re right_ã. Optimistic thinking is probably the factor that most significantly determines happiness. So face up to the cold hard realities but also, be positive and stay focused on what you need to do to get what you want out of life.
4. Don_ã_t go alone. It might be a clichê© but life is a journey and there_ã_s no doubt that the journey will be far more enjoyable if you_ã_re accompanied by people who are important to you and to whom you are important. Along with optimism, good quality relationships (both intimate, personal ones etc) are the most significant determinants of happiness.
5. Get organised. Success and happiness, however, they_ã_re defined require a certain degree of good management. Happy people tend to possess more effective and more active coping strategies, such as time management and problem solving skills. In a similar vein it is important to learn to control what you can, accept what you can_ã_t control and be wise enough to know the difference.
6. Live a healthy life. Not everyone wants to run marathons or even to go to the gym on a regular basis. Regardless, happiness and success are more likely to be yours if you eat well, keep active, and ensure you get enough sleep and rest.
7. Meditate and relax. For many people formal meditation or relaxation skills can be extremely beneficial. The ability to keep calm in different circumstances is very helpful in so many ways. If, however, you don_ã_t wish to make meditation a formal or defined part of your life then at least ensure that you regularly engage pleasant and satisfying (non work-related) activities.
8. Find a sense of spirituality. This can take many forms but do what you can to develop a sense of purpose and meaning in your life.
9. Plan your happiness. Many people believe that happiness should come _ã–naturally_ã. But in the same way you_ã_re more likely to achieve your financial, vocational, health and other goals if you have a clear plan, so too are you more likely to achieve your happiness goals if you have some sort of happiness plan. Find a way to integrate all of the above in to your every day life.
10. Persevere. Stick at it. Although there are a few to whom happiness comes easily, for many people it will require some degree of diligence. Don_ã_t be afraid to work hard at attaining happiness and be realistic that it might take time to master some of the skills and make some of the changes necessary.