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Happiness Isn’t About How Much You Have, But How Much You Enjoy Life

Happiness Isn’t About How Much You Have, But How Much You Enjoy Life

Many of us believe that the more we have, the happier we are. But is it really the truth?

As economy develops, we seems to be able to live a better life. Earning money to buy the things that we desire, that’s how it goes. But do these material possessions always guarantee long-lasting happiness?

There might be a time that you have been saving money to buy yourself something, like a new gadget, a luxury car, or a grand apartment. Yes, you might be uplifted at the moment but the delight never lasts. The happiness recedes after a day, a week, a month, a year, or a decade. The new gadget will become old, the luxury car will depreciate, the grand apartment will become boring.

The truth is that although we have much more than the previous generations do, we are not happy as we are supposed to be.

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Probably we have fallen into traps which keep us away from the long-lasting happiness that we have been chasing for throughout our lives. Check if you have fallen into one of these 3 traps and try to get rid of them:

We play hard but become slaves of desires

There is a kind of people who always play hard and sometimes we call them the hedonist. The hedonists always strive to maximize pleasure and hunt for excitement to satisfy their desires without realizing the negative side of their behaviors. They only look for pleasure and try to escape from pain. It is not uncommon that they would gradually become the slaves of desires with only vanity left after the excitement fades away.

We work hard but suffer from the pain

The busy bee is the exact opposite of the hedonist. They work hard in exchange for more material possessions. They look for the pleasure that comes in the future but suffer from the present pain. They do not realize that they are just running on a treadmill, running hard but only marking time. Ironically, the material possessions that they work hard for can only give them temporary happiness.

We do nothing hard but lose the passion of life and the hope of future

Then, you might think that it is better not to play hard or work hard. However, being a nihilist can neither guarantee you long-lasting happiness. Being a nihilist is the worst case because the nihilists believe that life is meaningless. They do not enjoy what they have got at the moment, nor do they have any hope for the future. Without passion and hope, one can hardly have feel any kind of happiness.

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We spend years living our lives on this planet and it would be a pity if we cannot get a taste of what it is like to be truly happy. Easy come, easy go. The long-lasting happiness that keeps us living our lives passionately is something that worth us spending time to build. There is something we can do to pursue the happiness that lasts a lifetime.

1. Capture and collect positive emotions

    Capture your happy moments every day.

    To put it simply, the more positive emotions you capture in a day, the more likely your happiness sustains.

    Positive emotions are not limited to joy and excitement. Psychologists say that positive emotions also include joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. [1] These positive emotions can broaden and build our long-lasting psychological, intellectual, physical and social resources which increase our well-beings.

    Try to capture and collect your positive emotions every day. Keep a diary or take some photos. Instead of recording what happens, describe how you feel is rather more important. This will build your psychological resource and one day it will remind you what kinds of positive emotions you have experienced.

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    2. Engage with what you do

    Wanderers with no goals often feel unhappy. They disconnect with the world and tend to be over-absorbed in their emotions or abstract, unexplainable thoughts. They are on a road to nowhere.

    But instead, if we are more present in our lives and feel engaged with whatever we do or say, we can feel more grounded and happier. Being engaged prevents your mind from wandering and stops you from overthinking too much. On the other hand, when you are engaged in something, maybe your job or your hobby, you work for improvement and accomplishment. The pleasure of eventually achieving something gives you the feeling of pride and also makes whatever you are doing meaningful.

    3. Derive meaning from everything you do

    If we can’t find any meaning in what we do, we tend to have a sense of loss, thinking that we have wasted our time and energy. It is just like the nihilists who think life is meaningless and a waste of time.

    Frankly, there are some times that we really find something meaningless. Those things that are supposed to disappoint or frustrate us are exactly what keep us from the long-lasting happiness. Try to derive meaning from them and think in the other way round. Losing a competition might be a chance for you to realize your room for improvement; failing in a interview might be a chance for you to look for a better opportunity.

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    4. Build in-depth relationships with others

      An in-depth relationship makes you feel fearless.

      We always need some kinds of connections with people, friends, families, and lovers. But what makes us feel satisfied from relationships is not the quantity but the quality.

      Some might be satisfied with the fame but it is only the vanity. An in-depth relationship is a totally different story. It allows you to open up your mind fearlessly. You can have deep chats with your friends, hearing their stories and telling yours. You do not only gain practical support but also emotional supports from them. There is nothing better than being deeply known by someone who knows you better than yourself and speaks your mind.

      5. Broaden your definitions of success

      Success is not only about winning a game or trumping others. It can mean completing things you want to do or should do. It can be small or big, which does not really matter. It can be as simple as finishing a small task on your work. Sometimes people judge and they define the meaning of success as numbers. But bear in mind that you are the only one who can define your success.

      And by celebrating your accomplishments, even the smallest ones, every day can make you happier. Just because of finishing a small task on your work, you can celebrate it by giving yourself a little treat. It is the mark showing that you are capable of achieving something and giving you a sense of pride.

      Be happy and shine like a diamond

      Happiness is sometimes a very abstract idea and we might be lost on the road to the long-lasting happiness. The pursuit of happiness is a lifelong lesson that we all have to take. But once you and I get the clues, we will all shine like a diamond, with an everlasting shiny light that everyone would admire.

      Reference

      [1] The Huffington Post: What Are The Top 10 Positive Emotions?

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      Sheba Leung

      Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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      Last Updated on August 6, 2020

      6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

      6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

      We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

      “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

      Are we speaking the same language?

      My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

      When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

      Am I being lazy?

      When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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      Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

      Early in the relationship:

      “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

      When the relationship is established:

      “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

      It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

      Have I actually got anything to say?

      When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

      A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

      When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

      Am I painting an accurate picture?

      One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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      How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

      Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

      What words am I using?

      It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

      Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

      Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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      Is the map really the territory?

      Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

      A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

      I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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