Happiness is so important that the U.S. Declaration of Independence lists pursuit of it as one of three absolute and inalienable rights. Happiness isn’t always easy, but there are a few things you can do to increase your happiness today.
Make yourself happy
No one can make you happy but you. Relying on someone else to make you happy is bound to lead to disappointment. Reclaim your power and take control of how you feel. Your circumstances and the people around you can only affect your happiness to the extent that you allow it.
Surround yourself with people who make you smile
While you shouldn’t allow others to define how you feel, there are those who seem to drain your energy and drag you down whenever they’re around, and others who are so happy themselves that it’s contagious. Limit your contact with the former group, and spend as much time with the latter as you can.
There are a lot of not nice people in the world, and one thing most of them have in common is that they are unhappy people. People who are happy want to make other people happy, and doing nice things for others triggers a release of feel-good endorphins for the person giving the happiness as well as the person receiving the happiness. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which came first, happiness or niceness, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter.
Replace envy with gratitude
No matter what you have, how successful you are, or how attractive you are, someone else will have more, be more successful, or be better looking. Focusing on what is lacking is a recipe for unhappiness. Look for the good and be grateful for what you do have.
Accept what you can’t change, change what you can
You may be familiar with the serenity prayer, and it’s good advice. Accepting those things you cannot change frees up energy to change those things you can. You can’t change other people, but you can limit your contact with those that drain you. You can’t change the past, but you can take the lessons from it to shape your future.
Let it go
The world isn’t going to end if every single detail isn’t perfect. It’s hard to enjoy anything when you’re too busy micromanaging every detail. If you’re in a profession where people’s lives are at stake, you need to sweat the details, otherwise, do what you can and let the rest take care of itself.
Letting go of hurt is hard, but is vital to your happiness. It’s been said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die, and it’s true. Harboring resentment accomplishes nothing but making you miserable. Remember that forgiving doesn’t mean you have to allow people to treat you badly. You can forgive and limit contact. While you’re forgiving, be sure to forgive yourself for your mistakes.
Take care of yourself
When you’re not happy, it’s easy to just sit on the couch, watching TV and eating ice cream out of the carton. This is counterproductive. Make an effort to eat right, exercise, and take time for yourself doing something that you find energy in (sitting at the beach, taking a hike, meditating, etc). The effort will pay off in how you feel.