Is this typical? Your boss wants more results, your husband complains you spend too much time at work, your 10-year-old is not doing well at school, and your in-laws don’t stop shaking their head in disapproval at how you run the household. And you have a migraine.
“Be happy?” you say, “with MY problems?”
But here’s what’s fascinating … happy people don’t have less problems. Happy people are happy in spite of problems.
Here’s what happy people do – that you can do too:
1. LOOK FOR GOOD THINGS IN EVERY SITUATION
We find in life what we look for.
If you ask yourself, “What do I HATE about my job, my stupid husband and my life?” you will find things to be unhappy about.
If you ask yourself, “What do I LIKE about my job, my husband and my life?” you will find things to be happy about.
Look for good things in every situation. You say, “Average people don’t make a habit of looking for good things!” Correct. Joyful people aren’t average.
Your happiness depends on where you put your focus.
2. MAKE TIME TO DO THINGS YOU ENJOY
Maybe you don’t have a job you like – maybe you don’t even have a job. But you can spend some time doing things that make you happy every day.
Mothers especially, like to play the martyr. They tell you, “I am too busy taking care of everyone else. I never get to do what I like.” That’s the road to resentment.
Whether your passion is listening to music, learning languages or lifting weights, make some time for it in your daily routine. Get up earlier if you have to.
3. LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME
Many people spend their lives regretting the past and fearing the future. But you can’t fix the past and fearing the future doesn’t help.
And guess what… your present moment is usually quite okay! Unless you are having a heart attack or being eaten by a bear, the present moment is usually fine. It is the imaginary future that drives you nuts … “How will I survive if? What will happen if? What will people say?”
You conquer worry by dragging your mind back to the present moment. You remind yourself, “Right this second I have everything I need.”
There is only one place you can be happy – and that is in the present. Focus on what you can do today. Do your best until bedtime. That’s enough.
4. FORGIVE YOURSELF
Stop beating yourself up for not being perfect. Sure, you have made mistakes. But who says you have to be perfect?
Happy people are gentle on themselves. Happy people say, “I have lived my life the best way I know how. Now that I know better, I will do better.”
Happy people quit telling themselves, “I should be as rich as my brother” or “I should be as skinny as my sister.”
5. QUIT COMPLAINING
Stop moaning about the weather, politicians and your arthritis.
We TALK about what we THINK about. That is obvious. The reverse is also true. We THINK about what we TALK about.
The more you complain, the more you fill your head with unhappy thoughts.
If you want to talk about fixing a problem, wonderful! But mindless complaining sabotages your happiness – and no one cares that you didn’t sleep last night and no one wants to hear about your hemorrhoid operation.
Attitude is everything. For example, imagine two women, Mary and Jane. Both get divorced.
Mary says, “I’ve failed. My life is over.”
Jane says, “My life has just begun!”
Who will blossom?
IN A NUTSHELL…
It’s not what happens to you that matters most, it’s how you think about what happens to you. Your happiness is in your hands.
Andrew Matthews’ books, including “Follow Your Heart” and “Being Happy!” have sold over 7 million copies in 42 languages. His latest book, “How Life Works” (Seashell Publishers RM48.00), is available at MPH Bookstores or MPH Online.
(Photo: INGImage/Click Photos)