This article was last updated on September 5, 2017
The funny thing about happiness is that the more you look for it, the harder it is to find but when you stop looking it, it will find its way to your life. That’s what the Happiness project is all about. It teaches you how to become happy right now, rather than thinking you must do some specific thing or achieve a goal before you start becoming happy.
True Happiness Is Not a Goal but a Reward
Don’t try chasing after happiness and scare it off. To catch it you should let it come to you. However, what must you do in the literal rather than figurative sense to get happy? All philosophy aside, you shouldn’t delude yourself into thinking, “If I get rich, I will be happy,” or “If I fulfill my dreams, then I can become happy.” There are many rich men who’s unhappy even though they’re literally wiping their tears with their paper bills because they assign “getting something” to happiness.
Happy rich men do exist, but you best believe that they’re happy not because of their riches and they can stay happy without their riches. Money is a means to an end for many people, but it cannot buy happiness. The Happiness project aims to teach this important lesson so that you can start being happy now rather than thinking that true happiness is locked in that special moment of success or achievement.
Action step: Instead of waiting to get something and thinking that fulfilling that goal will lead you to be happy, change your perspective to an understanding that happiness is a mindset and work to develop a happy mindset. Start by being happy now and having gratitude for what you have and move towards appreciating all that is good in this life.
Learn the Virtue of Optimism
Most people view optimism as naivety. Or even delusion. They say that if you’re realistic and understand how the real world works, you will tend to become pessimistic. They also say that claim that humans define their existence through suffering. Many of our world views are shaped by the religions we subscribe to, for example. However, regardless of your faith or what the pundits have to say, it is fact that happiness is not contained in the world outside, but is rather in your mind. We experience the world through our minds, and in a very real sense our minds our all we have.
Also, we decide how to view the world and comprehend things around us. We can decide whether to focus on the good or on the sensational negative jargon that is fed to us through the media and press. We can develop a positive mind set and train our minds to be happy in spite of being surrounded by otherwise unfortunate circumstances.
Action step: Be optimistic. Rather than hunt for success in order to become happy, you should be happy enough with yourself and learn to train your mind to understand that happiness is not in the object, but rather it is within you. At the best, the objects and achievements act as a catalyst to trigger a happiness reaction in you, but when you realize that they do not inherently contain the happiness, you can stop looking to them for your happiness and rather generate it in your own mind.
Exercise and Health Is the Path to Happiness
Did you know that exercise can make you happy in more ways than one? That’s one of the main recommendations of the Happiness Project. You should stay fit and healthy by exercising. You should also eat right, but it’s actually exercise that has the closer ties to happiness. It’s actually all about the chemistry of your brain. As you can surmise from the happiness project summary, exercise is an activity that produces endorphins in your brain.
Endorphin, in turn, keeps you happy. It’s called the happy hormone for a reason. You can access it not by buying it from a drug dealer, but instead by moving around and doing physical activity that keeps you from living a miserable sedentary lifestyle. Don’t let your excuses hold you back from getting in your daily dose of exercise. If you can’t travel to the gym or don’t have the time, invest in a proven workout machine such as the treadmill or an indoor cycle for the home. So, if you don’t have time to go to the gym due to your hectic lifestyle you can at least cycle indoors in the comfort of your home.
Action step: Simply exercise. Keep yourself healthy. Happiness can also come from your brain chemistry and getting a daily dose of endorphins to get a natural high can do wonders for your well being.
Prevent Burnout and Stress
If you’re unhappy with yourself even in light of realizing that happiness shouldn’t be chased, optimism isn’t delusion, and exercise can help perk you up, then “something” else must be keeping you from being happy. Something like stress or events in your life that necessitate mourning and sadness. These include death of a loved one, the loss of livelihood, or feeling trapped in a dead-end job). The way to become happy despite of these things is addressing the issues and doing something about them.
If you don’t take care of yourself, your unhappiness might be a signal by your brain to stop running yourself ragged with stress and pressure. Break times and vacation times are legally mandated for a reason. If you don’t learn or have forgotten how to stop and smell the flowers in appreciation of a job you’ve done well or the last time you’ve enjoyed being with your family, you will also shrivel up like a dried out husk regardless of whatever motivational insights you’ve gained about happiness. Don’t live life like a marathon with no end in sight and learn to enjoy it. Then happiness will soon follow.
Action step: Fix your schedule and stop burning yourself up while young. This will lengthen your life and allow you to reap your rewards now instead of later on during retirement.
Boredom Can Sap Out Your Energy and Happiness
Boredom isn’t sadness or anger. It’s instead the closest thing to an empty emotion. If it were a color, it’d be ash. If it were a taste, it’d be paste. However, contrary to popular belief, did you know that boredom is a mild form of loathing and disgust? That’s according to Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions. There’s research that exists that shows boredom is more than just apathy or not caring. It’s mild revulsion. It saps out your enjoyment out of life and using whatever talent you may have or skill you’ve developed to your utmost.
Once you’re bored you won’t get any real satisfaction from a job that used to give you joy. The activities you engage in might no longer stimulate you. Your emotions have become paste in short because you live a monotonous lifestyle. You are robbing yourself of happiness. This lack of enthusiasm is just a way for your body and mind to tell you that you’re in a rut and it’s slightly loathing doing the same thing over and over again.
Action step: Challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone and do something new or exciting to remove this revolted feeling in you. Life should be lived through constant discovery and finding new avenues to unleash your potential.