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Imagine all the details of what success looks like. For example, if your dream has always been to be a musician, what does success look like for you? How much do you work?

2. Be Busy, but Not Rushed

Who do you work with? What do you create? How do you feel about your work? Write down all the details of this scenario. Then, imagine what characteristics you will need to use to get you there. For example, becoming a successful musician probably requires things like perseverance, creativity, patience, and energy. Consider which of these traits and skills you already have. You may even surprise yourself with what you already know and can do. When you notice traits or skills that need further development, think about ways you can build up those things.

Beating yourself up or giving in to negative thoughts can leave you feeling weak and unhappy. Instead, show yourself the same kindness and generosity you should show to a friend. Practice deep breathing, exercising and getting enough rest. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference. I can focus and work hard. I am a valuable person on this team.

It can be easy to lapse into self-criticism. Instead, challenge negative thoughts when they show up. I will be more mindful of what I eat the rest of the day. If you find yourself consistently feeling down or upset, you might have some underlying issues from your past holding you back in the present. In the United States a report of child abuse is made about every 10 seconds. A lot of abuse and other traumatic childhood experiences go unreported to authorities.

Trauma from the past or even just painful circumstances such as the death of a loved one or a bad break-up can cause mild to severe depression. If you have tried everything you can think of to make yourself happier, there is a chance you could be dealing with something along these lines. If you have the resources available to you, consider seeking counseling from a licensed professional.

The counselor can help you work through the past trauma or painful memories in healthy and safe ways. There is nothing wrong with seeking help! If you are feeling really embarrassed or self-conscious about seeing a counselor, you should know they are bound by very strict privacy and confidentiality laws. No one has to know you are receiving therapy except you and your counselor or doctor.

Working through past traumas with a counselor may be difficult at the time, but it will greatly increase your quality of life in the long run. Many communities and universities offer therapy through low-cost public clinics. Check in your area to see if this is an option. Common treatments for trauma include cognitive-behavioral therapy, talk therapy, exposure therapy, and pharmacotherapy.

Bob Marley - Don't worry be Happy

Religious ministers and support groups are often places to go for free support. Often just the act of talking things out with someone you love and trust and who will support is a healing act in itself. If things get really bad, there are several free, anonymous hotlines you can turn to. Often these hotlines will direct you to local mental health resources in your area if you just ask them. If you just need someone to talk to, remember your call is anonymous and free. The person on the other end of the line is there to help if you need it.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is: Part 1 Quiz What are some ways in which you can change your spirit for the better? Appreciating the small things. All of the above. Learning to be comfortable with yourself will help you project confidence to others and live a happier life.

Embrace that bodies come in an infinite variety, and yours is unique to you. Make a list of your strengths. Be honest with yourself. You can network with others on a team? You can make a frozen pizza without burning down the kitchen? You made some good grades. You sing in the bath. Remind yourself of your options by listing and appreciating small, good or great fun moments that occur.

Set meaningful goals for yourself. Take a good long look at your life, your values, and the person you want to be. Set goals that are meaningful to you and accord with your core values.

How to Be Happy: 7 Steps to Becoming a Happier Person

Instead, choose a positive goal that emphasizes action: Choose extra activities that make you feel better. When you have time or make time, do your favorite hobby or go outside for a little time to enjoy fresh air. For example, walk your dog or go jogging or play basketball or golf, bowl or swim. The main thing to do is to choose to relax and also to keep yourself functional. Scientists estimate that the perfect formula goes something like this: The ability to choose is very important for happiness.

In one study, participants either chose their own positive activity or had one assigned to them. If you feel like your life is restricting your choices, try to find ways to incorporate more freedom in your life. Focus on people, positive relationships, not on things. In fact, research suggests that people who are focused on material things are often trying to make up for other, unfulfilled needs in their lives. They may even increase your likelihood of feeling sad or fearful.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone. However, if you go too far outside your comfort zone too fast, your performance will plummet again. Look for a balance of stability and trying new things. One of the most relevant for your happiness is increased resilience, or how you deal with unexpected challenges. By routinely challenging yourself to push past your comfort limits, you develop the adaptability and flexibility to handle change when it arises. Science suggests that when you smile, whether you're happy or not, your mood is elevated. This is especially true if all your facial muscles, including the ones around your eyes, get involved.

Smiling is like a feedback loop: People who smile during painful procedures reported less pain than those who kept their facial features neutral. Remember that different cultures interpret smiling differently. For example, Russian culture views smiling at strangers in the street as suspicious, while Americans will readily smile at almost anyone. In one study, two groups of people were asked to pick a poster to take home.

One group was asked to analyze their decision, weighing pros and cons, and the other group was told to listen to their gut. Two weeks later, the group that followed their gut was happier with their posters than the group that analyzed their decisions. The stress of weighing all the options endlessly can make us unhappy, though.

Intuition can be honed by experience.

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For example, experienced nurses are often good at identifying symptoms in an individual and using a combination of their medical knowledge and intuition — built up from past experiences — to make the right decisions for their patients. Follow intuition in three domains or areas by using: Enjoy learning something on your own using your experiences heuristics — and draw on those experiences when making a decision. If you are trying to buy a new car, you already have a set of assumptions schemas you are taking with you into the decision-making process domain before you set foot at a dealership.

Start with small decisions and practice following your gut so that you know exactly what following your intuition feels like. The more you practice this, the more in-tune you will be with that gut instinct. Treat your body like it deserves to be happy. Your brain isn't the only organ in your body that deserves to be happy. Assure vigorous exercise, a healthy diet, and regular sleep — key factors in growing to be happier and to stay that way. Achieve high levels of life satisfaction, better physical health, for improved longevity.

Eating healthy foods — fruits and vegetables, lean meats and proteins, whole grains, nuts, and seeds — gives your body and brain the energy it needs to be healthy. Research indicates that unhealthy diets, especially those rich in processed carbohydrates, sugars, and industrial vegetable fats, is responsible for some cell death, brain shrinkage and contributes to certain diseases like depression and dementia.

Study after study confirms it: Part 2 Quiz True or False: Stepping outside of your comfort zone will help you become more productive, which can help you feel happier. You must stay within your comfort zone in order to feel safe and stay happy. Stay close to friends and family. We live in a mobile society, where people follow jobs around the country and sometimes around the world. We do this because we think salary increases make us happier, but in fact, our relationships with friends and family have a far greater impact on happiness.

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Compassion is all about doing something kind for someone in need, or someone less privileged than yourself. A brain-imaging study where scientists peek into people's brains while they act or think revealed that people gain as much happiness from watching others give to charity as they do receive money themselves! Countless children are looking for someone to teach them and act as a role model. A microloan is when you give someone usually in the developing world a very small sum of money for an economic project of their own.

It's so basic, we often forget to think about it, yet so easy to do. Increase the happiness of those around you by giving small gifts. This will increase your happiness as well - in fact, the one giving the gift usually feels a larger pulse of dopamine the neurotransmitter responsible for feeling happiness than the person receiving the gift! This type of meditation stems from Buddhist traditions that focus on increasing compassion for others. In a study published by Harvard researchers in American Sociological Review , people who went to church regularly reported greater life satisfaction than those who didn't.

The critical factor was the quality of friendships made in church. Church-goers who lacked close friends there were no happier than people who never went to church. When researchers compared people who had the same number of close friends, those who had close friends from church were more satisfied with their lives. This research shows just how important it is to make friends with similar values and outlooks as you. Finding something you're deeply passionate about and making friends with those who share similar interests will result in the same intimacy.

If your ideas and understandings would continue dissension in a family squabble, or in your group of friends, or at a meeting of an organization such as on the job in a workplace, or in a church group, do something else. Be agreeable as much as it is up to you, applying yourself where you can be happy without unnecessary argument, anger and discord. Interact with people who share your interests, and feel happier due to sensations of reward and well-being.

Don't Worry, Be Happy

This is because during such interactions, serotonin and dopamine — neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of happiness and relaxation — are released into the body. In other words, your body is designed to feel happier when engaged in social interactions. Have deep, meaningful conversations. A study by a psychologist at the University of Arizona has shown that spending less time participating in small talk, and more time in deep, meaningful conversations can increase happiness. Psychologist Arthur Aron has done a lot of work on how to generate meaningful communication between people.

The next time you experience something wonderful, go start a conversation about it with a friend. Find happiness in the kind of work you do now, even while you are seeking a new career. Many people expect the new job or career to dramatically change their level of happiness. But research makes it clear that your levels of optimism and quality of relationships surpass the satisfaction gained from your job. You'll find meaning in interactions with the people you care about. You'll use your job as a crutch instead of relying on it for meaning. Find your flow at work. Flow is a state of mind where a person is fully absorbed in what they are doing.

They have next to no trouble concentrating on the activity because the activity is challenging enough to hold their attention but not so challenging that it exhausts them. This might not be possible for every activity you do, but find ways to make it happen frequently and try out different strategies to make it work. Some people find their flow by using a timer to keep them focused for a set amount of time and others find their flow by setting up the work environment a certain way.

Find what works for you. My husband was the tall, dark, handsome love of my life; we had two delightful girls; I was a writer, living in my favorite city. But too often I sniped at my husband or the drugstore clerk. I felt dejected after even a minor professional setback. I lost my temper easily.

Is that how a happy person would act? A little intense, I know. In the end, I spent a year test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and tips from popular culture. If I followed all the advice, I wanted to know, would it work? Well, the year is over, and I can say: I made myself happier. And along the way I learned a lot about how to be happier. Here are those lessons. When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry.

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  • Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness. I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Happiness must be, for most men and women, an achievement rather than a gift of the gods, and in this achievement, effort, both inward and outward, must play a great part. Today, psychologists who study happiness heartily agree.

    For example, reprogram your beliefs and values. Learn good self-management skills, good interpersonal skills, and good career-related skills. Choose to be in environments and around people that increase your probability of happiness. The persons who become the happiest and grow the most are those who also make truth and their own personal growth primary values. In short, we may be born with a happiness "set point," as Lykken calls it, but we are not stuck there.

    Happiness also depends on how we manage our emotions and our relationships with others. Jon Haidt, author of The Happiness Hypothesis , teaches positive psychology. He actually assigns his students to make themselves happier during the semester. They may learn to identify negative thoughts so they can challenge them. For example, when someone crosses you, in your mind you build a case against that person, but that's very damaging to relationships.

    So they may learn to shut up their inner lawyer and stop building these cases against people. Once you've decided to be happier, you can choose strategies for achieving happiness. Psychologists who study happiness tend to agree on ones like these. In his book, Authentic Happiness , University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman encourages readers to perform a daily "gratitude exercise. This shifts people away from bitterness and despair, he says, and promotes happiness. Holding a grudge and nursing grievances can affect physical as well as mental health , according to a rapidly growing body of research.

    One way to curtail these kinds of feelings is to foster forgiveness. This reduces the power of bad events to create bitterness and resentment, say Michael McCullough and Robert Emmons, happiness researchers who edited The Psychology of Happiness. First, recall the hurt. Then empathize and try to understand the act from the perpetrator's point of view. Be altruistic by recalling a time in your life when you were forgiven.