How to Be Happy

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

As Americans, we know those words well – they are part of our Declaration of Independence – and while we certainly have life and liberty, we don’t always have happiness. Instead, we run around like chickens with their heads cut off, fulfilling obligations, and totally forget not only to be happy, but how to be happy.

Numerous books have been written about happiness, but one of the most popular (and one of my favorites) is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It is both highly entertaining and thought-provoking as you follow Rubin’s efforts to be happier across all aspects of her life.

As she says, one of the best ways to be happy is just to decide to be happy. To get started, you need to figure out where in your life you should focus your energy.

Set aside 10 minutes, pick up a pen, and write down your answers to the following questions:

  • What makes you feel good? What activities do you find fun, satisfying, or energizing?
  • What makes you feel bad? What are sources of anger, irritation, boredom, frustration, or agitation in your life?
  • Is there any way in which you don’t feel right about your life? Do you wish you could change your job, city, family situation, or other circumstances? Are you living up to your expectations for yourself? Does your life reflect your values?
  • Do you have sources of an atmosphere of growth? In what elements of your life do you find progress, learning, challenge, improvement, and increased mastery?

Now that you know what areas of your life you need to work on, make a list of resolutions that are concrete, not vague. For example, instead of “Laugh more” your resolution could be “Spend 10 minutes swapping jokes with my kids every evening.”

In my next blog post, we’ll look at how to keep your new resolutions.

Til then – what do you do every day to be happier?

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