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Book Review: The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness by Henrik Edberg

Book Review: The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness by Henrik Edberg

    “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” – Aristotle

    “Life wasn’t all too bad really, but I wasn’t that happy either,” recalls Henrik Edberg, creator of The Positivity Blog and author of The 7 Timeless Habits of Happiness. “I think the problem was that I didn’t understand myself or the world around that well. I didn’t understand what I needed to do to create a happier life for myself.” Well, now he does:

    1. Choose Happiness

    “Most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

    Misery and happiness aren’t about external circumstances; they are a conscious choice. “You choose each day what you focus on and how you interpret your reality,” Edberg writes. So instead of seeing the world and yourself “through a lens smudged by negativity”, you consciously choose to look outwards and inwards “through a lens brightened by positivity”. This could involve being grateful for what you have, spending time in an environment of happiness with people who lift you up, and choosing positive information such as personal development reading over negative information like endless news reports.

    For more, see The Gift of Gratitude and Thoughts on Happiness

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    2. Get Your Physical Fundamentals in Shape

    “Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley

    “How we manage our body has a huge, huge impact on our thoughts, emotions and everything that happens in our personal world,” Edberg explains. This is why we need to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.

    For more, see No More Stress: Part One and The Secret of Dreams by Yacki Raizizun

    3. Create an Action Habit

    “Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.” – Benjamin Disraeli

    It’s been said that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. We need to stop waiting for other people to solve our problems and take action in order to see results. Use a morning ritual, do things even if you don’t feel like it, and take responsibility for the process, not the potential results.

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    For more, see Get the Edge and The Seven Habits: Part Two

    4. Be Here Now

    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha

    Guess what? The past and future don’t exist. They are simply thoughts arising in the present moment. By focusing on the present, we can improve our social skills (no more thinking of what to say when you should be listening to what’s being said), improve our creativity (no more worrying about what others will think of our work), and release stress. And by focusing on what’s in front of us (through practices like guided meditation and breathing techniques), we also learn to appreciate our world more.

    For more, see Focus by Leo Babauta (Part 5 of 5) and Carpe Diem!

    5. Help and Make Other People Happy

    “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.” – Chinese Proverb

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    “When you do the right thing and make people happy you feel good about yourself,” Edberg points out. “When you make someone else happy you can sense, see, feel and hear it. And that happy feeling flows back to you.” Give value by bringing a positive attitude to your interactions, giving useful advice, or offering a listening ear to someone who needs it. And let’s not forget about smiles and hugs! Even though people may not always appreciate what you do or feel compelled to reciprocate, you should still persist and feel good for doing so.

    For more, see People Policy and Relationship Review

    6. Do What You Love to Do

    “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer

    The fact that you’re working at a full-time job doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) pursue your passions on the side. “There is always time,” Edberg explains. Things won’t always be great but the work won’t feel as hard nor will you have to force yourself to perform. Spend some time exploring and asking questions to bring clarity. Most importantly, remember to add value to the world and not simply to yourself. “By using your talents and skills and at the same time helping people and giving them value in some way you can find the opportunities to both do what you love and to earn money to support yourself from it.”

    For more, see Seven Keys to Discovering Your Passion by Jonathan Mead and Success Built to Last

    7. Let Go

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    “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu

    So much of our suffering is caused by our clinging. We hold on to who we are and what we believe to the point where we must always be right. We hold on to things that are impermanent and things we think will make us happy even though they never really do. Sometimes we simply need to accept things as they are and then let them go. We need to stop trying to control everything and stop fussing over things that don’t even matter. And while it may be hard at first, it gets easier as time passes. Our happiness depends on it.

    For more, see You’re Worth It! and No More Stress: Part Three

    Conclusion

    Edberg admits that this book won’t solve all your problems or make you happy all the time. But he firmly believes that with some effort and persistence, focusing on one aspect at a time, you can start to see major differences in your life as was the case for him. What do you think? Are there any other habits of happiness you would add? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2019

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

    Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

    In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

    These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

    1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

    Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

    But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

    Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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    2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

    You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

    The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

    3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

    If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

    Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

    If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

    4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

    Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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    To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

    In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

    5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

    We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

    If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

    Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

    “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

    6. Give for the Joy of Giving

    When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

    One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

    So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

    7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

    Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

    Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

    8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

    When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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    So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

    9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

    Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

    It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

    It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

    10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

    There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

    But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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    Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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    Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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