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How To Be Happy Now

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How To Be Happy Now

Films are made about it, books are written about it, scientists study it, countries dedicate funds to it, and it’s the one thing we all want — no, it’s not sex or money, what I’m talking about is happiness! Given its amazing physical, social, and mental benefits, happiness has been found to improve health, relationships, and creativity. So, the pursuit of happiness can only be a good thing. Plus it’s free! So here is how to get truly happy now and to start reaping the fabulous rewards right away.

1. Capitalize on Positive Events

Ask a friend, partner, colleague, or acquaintance to tell you about something good that happened to them that day. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as they enjoyed it. While they are sharing the event, actively listen — that means really listen and be engaged by making eye contact, smiling, asking open-ended questions, and making positive comments. You will be amazed at how natural this feels once you get into the moment. Notice how your encouragement is increasing the other person’s positivity by making them feel cared about — it feels good, right? Not only that, but talking about the event together is also a positive experience which will enhance your relationship. Research has shown that romantic partners who responded to each other’s news of positive events in this active-constructive style reported greater relationship wellbeing and were less likely to break up two months later.

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2. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

This involves doing five kind things in one day and then writing about them. First of all, think of the kind acts that you have been the recipient of. Next, reflect on the kind acts you already do. Now, note five acts you want to do and the day that you will do them. When you have completed your acts of kindness, write down what you did and how they made you feel for an extra boost. Chances are you will want to do it again. Research shows this practise makes us feel happier because it makes us think more highly of ourselves and we become more aware of other positive social interactions, which also increases happiness. Note: Do not do the same act over and over again — it will start to feel less special.

3. Practice Forgiveness

We all have hurts and betrayals that we ruminate about at times. Choosing to forgive is a way to release the distress that arises time and time again from the memory of these incidents. However, forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to forget or even reconcile. Instead, it is about changing your attitude toward the original pain so that it can no longer hurt you.

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To practice forgiveness, you need to commit to your personal healing, recognize your distress is coming from your feelings and thoughts, remind yourself that you can hope for positive things and work hard to get them, decide to make some positive goals to put your energy into, focus on what is good in your life right now, and change the way you think of the past.

Forgiveness can take some time, but it is worth it. Researchers at the University of Miami found that forgiveness is linked to increased life satisfaction, more positive emotions, less negative emotions, and fewer symptoms of physical illness. The same group of researchers also found that forgiving on one day is linked to higher happiness the very next day.

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4. Cultivate Optimism

For this, try the “best possible self” exercise. Take a moment to imagine your life in the future and make it the best you can possibly imagine. Consider everything: career, relationships, hobbies, health, spirituality, and academia. What would happen in your best future? For fifteen minutes, write about what you imagine and be as creative as you like. Research suggests that building optimism about the future motivates people to work towards their goals. This makes the desired future more likely to become a reality. You are not only increasing your happiness in the present, you are also paving the way for sustained happiness down the line. This exercise also teaches you what you want, helps you to restructure your priorities, and increases your sense of control over your life.

5. Savour the moment

Whatever you are doing, be it looking at a sunset, playing with your dog, or eating a piece of chocolate, really be present and appreciate the moment right here and right now. No thinking about anything else. Absorb yourself fully into it and notice what you are seeing or hearing, any sensations such as the breeze on your skin or the feeling of something soft in your hands. Take time to become aware of how you are feeling in this moment. If there is a mood present, what is it? Enjoying the small things in life helps us to build up a beautiful memory bank, and being truly present keeps us content.

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So, what are you waiting for? Hurry up and get happy!

Featured photo credit: SayLuiiiis via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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