Wednesday Roundup: The Secret to Being Happy
Want to Know the Secret to Being Happy?
If you ask people the question, “What do you want most in life?” You will get a variety of answers. Some will say to be powerful, others to feel good. Some will say they want to be loved, others that they want a bunch of money. If you ask long enough you will find that most people want to be happy. For some reason this emotion eludes many, and they find themselves struggling to find and maintain happiness. Today I want to take a look at what the experts say about the secret to being happy.
Want to know my secret to being happy? Keep reading and I’ll fill you in at the bottom.
We Say we’re Happy
When you ask someone about the overall happiness state of those who live in the US, you would probably get the response that most people are unhappy. We see negative news on TV, we read complaints on Facebook, and we see a lot of bad stuff.
But if you ask people if they’re happy, the overwhelming majority reports that they are happy. In fact 34% say they are “very happy”, and 50% are “pretty happy.” A mere 15% claim to be “not too happy.” At least that was what Paul Taylor, Cary Funk, and Peyton Craighill found in their Pew Research Center report titled, “Are We Happy Yet” from back in 2006. Perhaps current affairs have changed that? Likely not, since happiness levels have stayed roughly the same for decades. It’s a fascinating read that looks into various influences on why someone is happy.
Being Happy (All the Damn Time)
I’m generally not a big fan of Huffington Post articles. They’re often a bit too opinion, not enough facts, and sometimes just off-the-wall tabloid(y). But I did like how Jessica Larsen tells about her struggles with depression, and how she learned to be happy (yes, the general consensus is that being happy is a learned trait).
The idea hit her when she noticed that during her depression, her happiest days were when it was raining and gloomy outside. Now most people would think that’s a bit off; as humans we generally don’t like gloomy weather because it makes us feel gloomy. But Jessica learned that when how she felt inside matched how things looked outside, there was a peace. So, the secret to being happy (all the damn time)? Align your life. Read the article, it’s a quick read.
The Big Lists of Happiness
If you Google “How to be happy” or “The secret of happiness” you get a ton of articles that give you a list of the secrets of being happy. There are a lot of factors, but there are a few overlapping items, and a few items that I find to be a little more realistic.
For instance, Susan Biali has an article on Psychology Today giving us the 10 secrets we need to know. She talks about managing stress, sleeping enough (my sleep number is 7 hours, the whole 8 hour rubbish doesn’t apply to everyone), faith, and more. It’s a good read, but I think the list could be simpler.
Or take a look at Linda Kelsey’s article on Daily Mail regarding happiness. She has a list of 12 items to keep in mind. Things like choose happiness, think positively, accept what you have, and more. I connected with this article, because it’s a little more in line with how I have managed to be happy, and the secret that I have discovered.
My Secret to Being Happy
First of all, I have to say that when we talk about happiness, we actually mean joy. Happiness is a reaction to external events. I’m happy that it’s sunny today; I’m sad because it’s rainy. I’m happy because my steak was cooked perfectly; I’m sad because the fries were soggy. Joy is the lasting feeling that most people talk about when they refer to happiness.
How do I remain happy? Every day, for everything, I am thankful. I personally say a prayer of thanks for everything, the good and the bad. I’m thankful I have a computer to work on. I’m thankful I have electricity in my house. I’m thankful for the rain, it helps the plants grow. I’m thankful for the dull ache in my foot, I can still walk. I’m thankful for the flat tire; imagine if we had to use wooden tires. I’m thankful for my family, my pets, my house, my critics, my encouragers. I find something to be thankful for about everything.
When you start giving thanks for everything in your life, your stress melts away, you are content with your life, and things start to look up and up.
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