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10 Basic Rules of Happiness You Need to Follow

10 Basic Rules of Happiness You Need to Follow

Happiness they say, is a state of mind.

Great riches, the mansion, a swanky boat and a fancy car won’t necessarily make you happy, nor will a life completely without work. In fact, many of the suggested routes to happiness that we’re fed by the powers that be are leading us to early graves and fits of depression.

The basic rules of happiness are quite simple, and here are 10 easy to follow rules that you need to learn in order to be happy.

1. Turn Your Happiness Switch to ‘On’

We are all born with a happiness switch. Remember when you were younger and you’d race home from school with a heart full of joy just because school was out?

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Think back to what made you happy as a child and you’ll probably find it was the small mini-experience that made your heart race, rather than the big wondrous experiences we crave as we get older.

Find that small happiness switch within you and keep it turned ‘on’ to your own happiness level, always.

2. Understand that Happiness is a Journey not a Destination

We’ve all been given a magic book; the book of life. It has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Make sure you focus on fulfillment and enjoy the journey of your story. Live every page, and savor every word, just make sure to live each day as if it were your last.

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3. Learn How to Cope with Frustration

Remember that total control in life is not an option and we all get frustrated for different reasons about different things. A basic rule of happiness is to be able to raise your frustration tolerance and this means letting go of being in control. Too much control kills happiness and feeds frustration.

4. Live in the Moment and Embrace the Present

There’s no use in waiting for tomorrow to arrive, hoping that it will bring you more of what makes you happy. Today is all you have, right now is all you have and you need to find ways to be happy in this moment. Enjoy your family, live your dreams, let your imagination soar, whatever it takes because this is your journey.

If you’re banking on winning the lottery to make you happy, you’re probably on the wrong track for happiness.

5. Understand Your Life’s Purpose

When you’re in sync with your purpose, you are more likely to feel content and happy. If you don’t know what your values and purpose in life really are, then take a good hard look at what you stand for as well as what really makes your heart sing.

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6. Set Achievable Goals and Pursue them Within Reason

Goals are the essence of hope, and they inspire you to get out of bed in the morning. Happy people have short, mid-term and long term goals that they are striving towards, but they don’t pursue them at the risk of their well-being.

Make sure you have goals, but weave them into your life in a balanced way.

7. See the Wonder of the Simplest Things 

Take time out every day and enjoy the simple things in life. Many millionaires have found out that money isn’t everything and chasing life’s big pleasures instead of the small ones is futile in the pursuit of happiness because you are as likely missing tiny sparkling diamonds that are strewn across your life’s path.

8. Give, Give, Give

“Give and you shall receive,” but how about forgetting about the receiving bit and just give, give and give some more? Giving of yourself, your time or a percentage of your money will most likely reward you with huge chunks of happiness – it’s a universal law.

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9. Never Sacrifice Family for Achievement

Just imagine for a moment … you are living in a big house, perhaps the house of your dreams with a fancy car in the garage and money in the bank account for a five star holiday. Wow, you’ve really made it … or have you?  Great wealth nearly always means sacrifice, in the form of large chunks of your time. You might have had to relegate your loved ones to second best, perhaps you have a failed relationship in your wake, perhaps you have missed your children’s childhood years, or been too busy to celebrate birthdays and remember anniversaries. At the end of the day, it’s no good having all life’s fancy trappings if there’s nobody meaningful to share them with.

10. Don’t Let the Past Color Your Future

Your past is over. It’s happened. The water has flown under the bridge and disappeared from view leaving fresh water in its wake. You have no power to change events that have occurred already and happy people know this. Don’t waste time worrying about the past, instead  focus on what you can change or accomplish right now.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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