First off, note that I omitted the use of that most ubiquitous of words, “Simple”, to define the ten things you can do to be happier. There’s a reason for that. All things that are worth doing take time and effort. If it is true that you can find a quick fix for anything in life, the duration of the fix will last at least as long as the time it took you to find it. Then, when you’re in a bind again, you’ll need to go out and find another quick fix. Wash, rince, repeat. As the old saying goes: there’s nothing as expensive as a cheap tool. So why not try doing things that actually improves your lot instead of going straight for the quick fixes?
My definition of happiness is having a calm mind. I don’t care about what I have if all I worry about is my bills and debts. I can’t be comfortable about the skin I’m in, if I don’t accept who I am. I can’t look to the future with a serene mind if I have no idea where I am going. All these problems are mental, and as such, we should try to handle them on the same plane. Creating peace within your own mind makes you a calmer, saner person, and these tips will help you for the rest of your life.
Holding a grudge might trick you into believing you’ll never be deceived again, but all it does is keep bad memories dormant, like landmines, until you trip over one. And you can never trip over only one! Forgiving others and yourself removes the ill feelings associated toward people and circumstances, putting your mind at ease. Remember: you only hurt yourself by holding a grudge.
2) Be mindful of your emotions.
Most of the time we simply react to situations. By realizing that you have control over your emotions, you can avoid extreme reactions, instead of being prey to them. Remember: You should be a master over your emotions, not the other way around. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t emote. It just means that you hold it within your power how you do.
3) Be patient.
When others are losing their minds around you, keep in mind that you do not need to follow the herd. Keeping calm is as simple as inoculating yourself against a virus. Create a virtual wall around you that is skin-tight, which cannot be penetrated by other’s anger or bitterness. When you feel your own anger take hold, take a deep breath and let it go before it digs its heels in. You can only get angry if you allow yourself to.
4) Be respectful.
One of the things we wish the most out of life is to be respected. You can start that process by being respectful. Most people go about it all wrong, expecting respect by demeaning others. Your peers will gain deeper appreciation for you through your respect of them.
5) Let go of hatred.
If there’s one thing we do well, as humans, it is hate. Whether ourselves, or others, we define our being through hatred. One person hating another, or one group hating another, it does not matter. It’s all bull. We should define who we are through our achievements, not through our opponents. Otherwise, we are merely displaying how our achievements are worthless. Concentrate on being a better person, and let the haters hate. It’ll be like breaking chains that hold you back.
6) Be kind to yourself.
Sometimes the people we are the hardest on, is ourselves. Your worth is not what comes from the mouths of others but what you think of yourself. Be kind to yourself and tell yourself all the good that you are. Confidence is half practice and half bullshit. You have to convince yourself of all the good that you are, especially when others don’t see it. Then surround yourself with people who do.
Having a head full of problems and going about your normal day is like sticking your arm in a wasp’s nest and trying to enjoy a beautiful sunset: it can’t be done comfortably. Meditation is simply the art of stopping thought. That’s it. You unlock parts of yourself that you never knew existed because you can silence the continuous chatter of your inner voice. It is both incredibly helpful and supremely relaxing.
8) Stay flexible.
There’s an old proverb that says that: “the biggest oak tree in winter, covered in snow, might break, but the willow tree will bend, and shed its load.” It’s good to have a plan, but it’s great to be able to improvise in case something changes, as life always throws those curveballs in our faces when we least expect it. Don’t give up, improvise!
Try to understand why other people think the way they do. Try to put yourself in their shoes instead of judging them negatively for whatever reason. This will help you avoid the trap of anger.
As much as you can. One of our strongest emotions is fear, and fear of the unknown is the strongest. The antidote, therefore, is to learn from reliable sources as much as you can. Those things you fear because they are unknown, become part of your mental makeup, and therefore can no longer hurt you.