Posted by: Nici | 23 October, 2008

How to be Happy

  • Perhaps above all, be as healthy as you can. Nothing is more valuable than your health and little is more likely to make you unhappy than ill-health.
  • Most fundamentally, recognise that happiness is a state of mind and not something which can be defined objectively.
  • Have a cat or a dog. Stroke often.
  • Keep in close touch with relatives and a small circle of friends. You can’t beat their love and support.
  • Conversely, if there is a person in your life who is a negative influence and who is dragging you down in some way, don’t be afraid to get remove such a person from your life.
  • Smile a lot. Smiles make you miles better – and you smiling will make others smile.
  • Laugh a lot.
  • Say what you mean and mean what you say. Honesty really is the best policy.
  • Be politely assertive. Say how you feel and explain what you want. Friends and colleagues can’t be mind readers.
  • Give lots of compliments. You will make others feel good about themselves and find that this gives you pleasure too.
  • Give small gifts to your friends. To give is even more pleasurable than to receive.
  • For a special thrill, perform acts of kindness anonymously so that the person benefiting does not know that you’re responsible.
  • Spend less than you earn.
  • As Shakespeare put it in “Hamlet”, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be”. Don’t borrow money unless you absolutely have to (for instance, to buy a house or car). Don’t lend money – even to relatives – unless you genuinely don’t mind if it’s not repaid.
  • Wear the most expensive after-shave (usually men!) or perfume (usually women!!) you can afford. It will make you feel good.
  • If you are a woman, get your hair done. This will always make you feel better about yourself.
  • Surround yourself with pleasant smells. Have flowers, pot-pourri or scented candles in most rooms of the house and in your office.
  • Stay close to nature. Have flowers and plants in your home and office. Spend time in the garden or local park. Take walks in the countryside and by the seaside.
  • Every so often, spend a little time observing the night sky. As you contemplate the distances and time involved, it will put your life and your concerns into more perspective.
  • Take a weekly or monthly magazine reflecting a personal interest. You’ll come to really look forward to each new issue, like a visit from a friend.
  • Read regularly and widely. Good fiction will widen your vocabulary and put you in touch with your emotions, while a range of non-fiction will extend your knowledge and interests.
  • Listen to some rousing music.
  • Have a favourite television programme, so that you can really look forward to seeing it.
  • Watch “It’s A Wonderful Life” on Christmas television every few years  It’s really life-affirming.
  • Go out and see a good movie. A romantic comedy – something like “Bridget Jones’s Diary” – usually works well.
  • Treat yourself often to something ‘cheap and cheerful’ that you like – chocolates, flowers, a magazine, a cake, a CD. It costs little and you’re worth it.
  • Cultivate a few favourite places to eat and drink outside the home. Then, when you go to familiar café or restaurant where you like the ambience and the menu and the staff know you, you’ll feel comfortable and content.
  • Stretch yourself physically. At the mimimum, regularly go for a brisk walk – it will raise your spirits. If you can, join a gym and take more vigorous exercise – it will make you feel good and lengthen your life.
  • Stretch yourself mentally. Go on courses on different subjects – they don’t have to be academic courses (they can be at your local college) and they don’t have to be long (they can be as short as a day or even half day).
  • Stretch yourself geographically. Go to places you’ve never seen before. Even in your home town, try taking a different route than usual and notice the different locations that you’ve never seen before.
  • Do something you’ve never done before, like visiting a particular art gallery or museum or going to a ballet or opera (or even just taking a different route to a familiar location). You’ll probably surprise yourself at how much love it and you’ll have found a new interest.
  • If you can afford it, take regular holidays in different countries and savour different cultures.
  • Keep a diary or journal. It will give structure to your life, an easy way to revisit good times, and a reminder that bad times don’t last.
  • Take lots of photos. You’ll love looking at happy times and old friends.
  • Have a political vision on how to create a better world – and do something to make that vision more of a reality.
  • One way of dealing with a difficult problem is to imagine how you will feel about that problem next week, next month, next year. Now try to bring those feelings into the present. It will give you a sense of perspective. Problems rarely look so formidable in retrospect.
  • If you are uncomfortable or frightened about a situation, try to take yourself to a mental safe place which you have previously created in your mind and where you feel relaxed and comfortable. It might be an imaginary garden or beach or just an image of your study or bedroom.
  • If you’re down, remember it could be a lot worse.
  • As M People put it in their pop song, “Look for the hero inside yourself”. You are someone very special – so you should respect yourself. If you can’t, why should anyone else?
  • Regularly consider affirmative statements or aphorisms.

More information can be found here


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