Isn't the goal in life figuring out how to be happy? If often takes a setback to remind us of how good we have it. Sometimes it is the loss of a job, a health issue or something of that sort that prompts us to tweak our 'glass-is-half-empty' view of the world. When it comes to happiness there are a few things you can do in order to shift your perspective without having to overcome a setback first.
Give yourself permission to feel.
We live in a society where people think there is a problem when you feel sad. You must allow yourself permission to feel. Feelings of happiness and joy flow along the same pathways as feelings of sadness and anxiety. Once you accept that everyone has their ups and downs, it is easier to deal with those downs. Feeling is never a bad thing, it is coping with those feelings and knowing that they will pass, that is the difference between being sad and debilitating depression.
Time affluence is a bigger predictor of happiness than material affluence. It has been shown that once you have enough time to do the things that you enjoy, people are happier than are those with countless material possessions. Time affluence means feeling that you have the time to pursue those things that you find personally meaningful. This includes giving yourself time for leisure or to reflect on those things that are important to you. Taking a few moments a day to meditate and centre yourself can help with this, as can cutting out the things in your life that do not serve to make you feel good about yourself.
The mind-body connection
Time and time again you have probably been told that a moderate amount of physical activity can make you happier; this is not a myth but a reality. Exercise helps the body create serotonin which elevates mood. Don't think of exercising as taking a happy pill but rather as giving the body and mind the fuel it needs to keep running smoothly. Humans were not meant to be sedentary creatures therefore not exercising is like going against nature and can cause health issues as well as depression.
Awhile back while watching Oprah, I caught the episode on "the Secret" and it was the first time I had heard the concept of gratitude journaling. Since then, I have seen this concept in several other places. The concept is simple: take notice of those things that you are currently grateful for and write them down daily. To simplify this practive, you can start by keeping this list short and include only five to ten things. Once you take time to recognize what you are grateful for in your life, you become conscious of how blessed you are and can focus on the glass being half full and not half empty.
Happiness should be the goal being saught after by most people. This can be achieved by being true to yourself. Look at the present and appreciate what you have. Drop the future worry because the future is yet to come. Forget the past regret because it has already passed and has brought you to the place you are today. Be thankful and the rest will follow.