Benjamin Franklin once said, The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. How true indeed! Whether you are happy or not, completely depends upon yourself! An optimist always sees the glass half full, whereas a pessimist always sees it as half empty. It's all about attitude! A positive attitude always propels us to seek happiness even at the murkiest turns of life, but a negative attitude steers us towards misery and guarantees us generous servings of dissatisfaction at all times. Being happy is all about managing your attitude and tuning it in such a way that your instinct starts catching and responding to positivity. Hmm, I can see the cynic in you smirking; so you think it is easier said than done, eh? Let me tell you, my friend, it is the other way round! I assure you, once you take a few minutes and ponder upon the things I am going to tell you, you'll be surprised at the simplicity of it all! There is no secret formula to happiness. You neither need a map to locate and course along the road to happiness, nor do you need to make drastic changes in your lifestyle.
Let us start with a tenfold plan. This is a set of ten ways to be happy by enmeshing ten simple attitudinal values into the conscious thought process. It would take a little effort in the beginning and you would be required to deliberately route your understanding and bend of mind in this direction but gradually, these would come naturally. This is one risk, I guarantee, that comes with no probability of loss! So let us see what these 10 "happy" ways are and how they work.
10 Best Ways to be Happy
The first step towards unlocking the secret of happiness begins with appreciation. Learn to appreciate what you have, before you set your eyes upon acquiring that which you don't. Count your blessings and be grateful to life for what you already have, rather than crib for what you don't. Understand that no one ever has everything in life. Be thankful for the things you have; there may be someone in the world who cannot afford them.
It is always good to improve yourself but first, appreciate who you are. Be proud of the person inside you first and then work upon making that person better. Diamonds came into being only after the potential of the mother allotrope of carbon - which doesn't even remotely resemble the precious stone that has come to be synonymous of beauty, grandeur, love and matrimonial commitment over ages - was realized! Be proud of who you are, only then can you discover what you can do.
You, as an individual, are unique! No one else has exactly the same qualities and attributes in exactly the same proportion as you have. Cherish this individuality and nurture it towards achieving a holistic and enjoyable existence. Chisel your individual traits and channelize your energies towards doing that which interests you. The joy that being you gives is highly contagious! To quote Dr. Seuss," There is no one alive who is Youer than You."
Prioritize the People in Your Life
It is a futile pursuit to try to keep everyone happy. So, start prioritizing people in your life. Find people who will always be there for you and cherish them. The ones that are not supportive, appreciative or positive enough for your growth should not be given undue importance. Always remember what Dr. Seuss has said, "...those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!"
Manage Your Expectations
Happiness, surprisingly, mostly comes from the simpler things in life! Expect less from people and situations, it makes accepting disappointment easier and still leaves you with the courage to try. This is true, especially, in relationships. When you expect too much from people, you indirectly put them under the pressure of living up to your expectations which puts strain on your relationship. Keeping your expectations realistic is the way that leads to a happy destination.
Accept the Truth
Mishaps occur in everyone's life at some point or the other. If you cannot do anything to reverse the damage then stop crying over spilled milk and move on. Life is too short to dwell on the past forever! Be it the demise of a loved one, the loss of an opportunity or the end of a relationship, if you can't do anything about it, cry once and move on. Negativity spawns more negativity. Unless you move on, you may not be able to gauge other opportunities that lead towards happiness and fulfillment.
Rather than feeling guilty over an action of yours, think about ways of making amends. If the damage done by you is irreversible then sincerely apologize and accept the possible punishment wholeheartedly. Accept your fault and learn a lesson from it so that it leads to your betterment. Don't entertain guilt or resentment, as it only pulls your consciousness towards abysmal negativity and hopelessness.
Be True to Yourself
You can be a master of cons and fool the entire world, but you can never fool yourself. You may pretend that you are immune to your conscience but it's just an act you, consciously or unconsciously, put up to pacify yourself. At the end of the day, you can never be truly happy when you are not convinced that what you have done is the right thing and was done wholeheartedly. Hold a mirror to yourself and be honest with your deeds and feelings.
Keep an Open Mind
Be open to new events and different points of view. It becomes much easier to learn and share if you are able to accept differences in beliefs, opinions and faith. You gather tons of knowledge and earn respect and gratitude. A narrow, dogmatic mind is like the frog that has never been out of a well. It doesn't believe that a world exists outside the well because it has never had the courage to venture out. Let your mind explore new opinions and beliefs and then decide which ones to stick to.
Flexibility may make you bend, but rigidity makes you break in the face of a stormy situation, without granting you an opportunity to find a way of surviving. It is good to have strong principles and values but we must understand that while these may apply to some situations, certain situations may call for flexibility and out-of-the-box decision-making abilities.
Happiness is within us and for us to tap. It cannot be extracted from external or material sources. We decide how we face life. Happiness cannot be taught by a teacher or spiritual guide unless we ourselves decide to be happy and make an endeavor to find our own way towards it. Focus on the present. Decide that today is going to be a beautiful day and stick to it! The past offers resentment and remorse and the future offers uncertainty and fear. Live for today and make it beautiful, for this is where happiness is!