You can’t boost your happiness until you address this question. Why is happiness so rare nowadays? I blame our society. No. Not because it makes us depressed. I mean, it does. But that’s not the main issue here.
The problem is that it has messed up our happiness perception from the get-go. So much so that we believe we don’t deserve to be happy until we achieve a certain level of success.
And do we find happiness when we achieve our perceived success? No. We quickly get disillusioned from the milestone and instantly start chasing another shinier one. Then another, and then another.
If you find yourself in a similar loop, it’s probably time to pause and ask yourself, “What if success doesn’t cause happiness but, in fact, is caused by it?”
At least, that’s what the studies suggest.
So if success doesn’t bring you happiness, what does? How to be happier?
- Block out all negative emotions.
- Smile more.
- Expect only the best things for yourself.
- Believe you are better than anyone and everyone.
- Be an a-hole to people trying to share their pain with you under the guise of self-care.
If you try these shallow self-help trash tips for a few weeks, you might feel better immediately. But later on, you will come up even more miserable than before.
If you want lasting happiness, you need to make substantial changes in how you think, see, and live your life. And many of them might not even sound that sexy.
Yet, if you manage to incorporate it into your daily life, you’ll be well on your way to a much happier life than what you are living now.
Focus on Process over The End Result
If you look at where you are and compare it with where you want to be, it can get pretty demoralizing. So here’s a better option. Look at how far you have come.
As James Clear rightly points out in his smash hit book, Atomic Habits:
When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.
Sure. You do have to be mindful of your goals. Without them, your efforts won’t have any direction.
But when it comes to achieving those goals without starving yourself of happiness, you better focus more on your trajectory over your current results.
For example, if you’re trying to get in shape, focusing on your current weight will keep you bogged down.
Instead, if you focus on how many more steps you walked today or how well you are eating compared to before will give you instant satisfaction while keeping you on the right track.
Define Your Responsibilities
You won’t hear this from 99% of scammy self-help gurus out there. Chasing after your own selfish desires will not make you happy — at least not for long.
As I mentioned earlier, if you attach your happiness to solely your desires, you starve yourself of any sense of fulfillment until you get them. And even when you get them, you will keep asking for more.
Yes. Contrary to popular belief, a healthy dose of responsibility can give you true purpose, making you happier.
So, stop acting on your impulses and your addiction to “feeling good” all the time. Instead, focus on being consistently reliable at your job, to the people you love, and, most importantly, to yourself and your dreams.
Don’t Be a Chronic Victim
It might sound harsh. But you are not that special. We all have been through some spectacular sh*t, some more than others.
We’ve lost loved ones, embarrassed ourselves in public, been rejected by people we thought we were cool with, and accidentally sent embarrassing photos to the wrong person (I’m neither confirming nor denying this).
What I’m trying to say is if you look for them, you will probably find more reasons to feel sorry for yourself than feeling happy about your journey so far. And it’s true for most people who have ever lived.
But yet, having a chronic victim mindset doesn’t help, does it?
Yes. According to Freudian psychology, you are a product of your past experiences.
But if you consider the Adlerian stream of psychology, you will find that at any given moment, you are free to choose your actions and not let your past define you as an individual.
So how to take back control of your happiness from your default setting?
- Know that you are not your thoughts and feelings. They don’t control you. You control them.
- Be self-aware. Seeing yourself from beyond the lens of your own bias lets you rise above your toxic behavioral patterns.
- Let go of the things that are beyond your control. Instead, focus your efforts on problems that either you have caused or those which you can solve.
- Stop taking yourself too seriously. Enjoy the absurdities of your existence, and if possible, find humor in your hardships.
Build & Maintain Meaningful Relationships
Human relationships can be complicated. People don’t say what they mean and don’t mean what they say; no wonder why most people prefer pets. It’s because they don’t talk at all.
So you give up on people before they give up on you, don’t you? I don’t blame you. It hurts when the people you thought you could count on turn your back on you.
But let’s be real. As much as we love our furry friends, they can’t replace the joy of a meaningful human connection. Why does it matter?
According to studies, not having a healthy social connection can be as damaging to your help as smoking or obesity, if not more.
So as far as I can say there are three ways to avoid such a fate:
- Reconnect with your family: Even if you’re not living in the same place, make an effort to call or visit your parents, siblings, and other family members regularly to strengthen your relationships.
- Call your old friends: Don’t let your friendships fall by the wayside just because you don’t see each other as often as you used to. Make time to catch up with your old friends through phone calls, video chats, or in-person visits.
- Find newer connections: Look for opportunities to meet new people, whether through work, social activities, or hobbies that you enjoy. Be open to building relationships with different people.
Stay in the Moment
Imagine this. You are out on a hike. The view is breathtaking. And there is something special about the cool breeze on your face.
You’re fully immersed in the experience and not thinking about anything else. Suddenly, you hear a rustling in the bushes.
You turn to see a fluffy little bunny hopping out right in front of you. You smile and watch the bunny hop away.
At that moment, you’re completely happy.
Now, what if, instead of being in the moment, you are busy dwelling on the past or stressing about tomorrow? Would the moment still be that beautiful? I don’t think so.
You have to learn how to live in the moment. It’s the easiest way to boost your happiness through the simple pleasures of our lives.
Now that you know what it takes to find sustainable happiness, it all comes down to your choice. Choosing instant gratification over a meaningful life might seem easy on the surface. But sooner or later, it will catch up to you.
On the contrary, you can’t go wrong if you:
- Choose progress
- Be responsible
- Stay self-aware
- Build connections
- & learn to be in the moment.