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7 ways to lead a happy life right now
We all want to be happy but it seems that happiness can be an elusive beast. Happiness means different things for different people but some elements remain the same. Here are 7 powerful ways to lead a happy life right now.
Be kind – to yourself as well!
There are many studies that show that performing an act of kindness leads to an increased sense of well-being and contentment. Make it your business to be kind in little ways – it may just mean a friendly smile, or making the choice to be cheerful and not grumpy. Don’t forget to kind to yourself as well!
‘Get into the flow’
Have you ever been so absorbed with an activity that you lost all track of time? Then you have experienced flow. What brings on flow is different for all of us – for some it may be a particular sport or physical activity, playing an instrument, a hobby like pottery or gardening, or, if you are lucky, a work-related task. If you regularly experience the state of flow than you are much more likely to report that you lead a happy life.
Be in the moment – learn to meditate
Do you live a busy life? It is so difficult to be happy when you have so much to think about. You are running the risk of letting the best times of your lives slip by. Learning to meditate can teach you how to live ‘in the moment’ and silence the constant inner babble of our minds. You can learn to enjoy the now. Instead of learning how to lead a happy life, you can learn how to be happy in your life right now.
‘Fake it till you make it’
Studies that show that ‘faking’ a smile or laughter can increase levels of endorphins and other positive brain chemicals and lower our stress response. So, smile, even if you don’t feel like it!
Much has been written about the value of the ‘gratitude journal’, but the fact is that cultivating an attitude of gratitude really works. Writing down or simply reflecting on the things in your life that you are grateful for (an education, your kids, freedom, friends etc.) will give you an immediate burst of happiness.
Limit the negative
Negativity is very contagious –an important aspect of how to lead a happy life is to limit the negativity that you are exposing yourself to. Turn off the TV news for a week and commit to avoiding negative stories and experiences.
Sometimes, the people in your life can have a toxic effect on your happiness. You may need to put some boundaries in place – sometimes some respectful honesty is needed. If a family member continually rings with bad news stories and destructive gossip, you may need to have a conversation where you explain that this behavior is having a negative impact on your life and your relationship with the family member. Ask the person to try limiting their negative stories and ask them try to tell you something positive as well. You may find that this may also have a healing and transforming effect on your relationship as well.
Do something new
Our brains like novelty and getting out of your comfort zone can really boost your feeling of well-being and happiness. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, through a worldwide study of happiness, discovered the secret of success. He suggests taking on challenges which stretch you, but where you have sufficient capability, time and other resources to complete the challenge. So learn an instrument, go skydiving, eat out at a type restaurant that you would never normally choose. Mix it up – in the mix, you will surely find happiness!