Being happy isn’t some pie in the sky idea. It is practical and makes life better. It makes our relationships and our whole approach to life better. Which in turn makes life just seem better.
I want to start this off by stating that I am not an advocate of being overly happy. Pretending to be, or being so into being happy that you fail to feel your feelings when they come up. This is not a healthy way to live. It leads to repression and more issues that will certainly pop us in other aspects of your life. We won’t always be happy. It’s not natural to be happy all the time. How can we truly feel happy if we don’t also have the experience of unhappiness? This article is for the man that find themselves unhappy more often than not. The man that wants to shift and find more joy in their lives. These are the tools that I use to increase my happiness. I still get sad and angry sometimes, but when I practice these tips I find I am happy more than I am not.
One of the best ways I have found to increase overall happiness is by being grateful. As cheesy as it may sound, having gratitude opens you up to more things to be grateful for. Kind of how having a shitload of money makes it easier to acquire more shitloads of money. It’s the same construct. We find ourselves getting sad when we are focused on the negative side of things. The things that we are lacking rather than the things that we have. We live in a culture that values those who have the most. If we tune too deeply into this cultural consciousness we find ourselves constantly comparing our lives to other people’s. The secret with this that they don’t tell you is that you have no idea if that person you are envying is actually happy.
When we practice gratitude we are telling the universe, God, whatever you want to call it, that we recognize our blessings and this brings more. Take some time, daily if possible, to sit and think about all the ways you are taken care of. Your health, your family, your home, your security, your talents, and your skills. Try to think of every single thing you take for granted and give it thanks. Feel the energy of how great things are rather than focusing on what could be better or more.
Find Ways To Combat Stress.
Stress kills happiness. It slaughters joy like an army of amped-up Mongols attacking an unarmed village. Stress is the slow killer. Every moment of everyday stress just taps us. Feeding on us and pulling us farther and farther away from ourselves. Happiness and peace are achieved when we chill out and just be. One of the best ways to let go of stress is to live in the present as often as possible. Because what is stress? It is typically either worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. What good does stress offer us? Not much to be honest. We are wired in a way that stress would spark action, like running from a hungry bear. Our modern world is different. Now we stress about finances, work, family, and pretty much everything else.
Deep breaths are a great way to get out of the stress loop. Because that is what it is. When we are stressed we breathe shallow and quick. You can literally reprogram your internal mechanisms through your breathing. When you are feeling really stressed try sitting in quiet, close your eyes and start taking slow deep breaths. This will help reset your brain and your physiological reaction to stress.
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Celebrate Your Achievements.
You’re not cocky or arrogant for being proud of yourself and what you’ve done. As long as you’re not sharing it to make someone feel bad or make you feel superior then you’re good. I often fall into this one. I work hard to achieve something and once I do I am off to the next thing without taking any time to really enjoy and celebrate the accomplishment. And guess what, when I do this I find myself unhappy. Because it never feels like I’m doing enough. Do you know what I tell myself? Fuck that self! If we don’t enjoy what we achieve and don’t take the time to feel great about kicking ass then what’s the point?
Did you land that big sale, finish building a dope bookcase, realize you’re raising an awesome kid? Enjoy that shit. Own it. It’s yours and you earned it. Go buy a $70 steak and wash it down with the best scotch you can buy.
Take Time For Yourself And The Things You Enjoy.
Having an outlet is another great tool to eliminate stress. Find something you really enjoy and spend time doing it. Whether it is playing the guitar, video games, or just going for a drive. Without guilt and without shame practice self-care and keep stress at bay by spending time doing things you enjoy. Someone working crazy hours and never taking time to do the things they enjoy will never be happy. They may be rich and successful, but what is the value of that if they’re not happy. Figure out the things that really matter to you. Like on a core level and carve out the time to spend with them. Life is fucking short. You know those moments when you realize it felt like you were 20 not that long ago? Impermanence can be our greatest gift and our biggest challenge. Do the things you enjoy in life because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
Do Something Amazing!
Why the hell not? No one is stopping you except yourself. Do you want to climb Everest? Do 150 on the Autobahn? Go study Muay Thai in Thailand? Or maybe just write a book you’ve been thinking about for years. Whatever it is that is a core desire, fucking do it. The only thing stopping you is your own self-imposed limitations. Remember, life goes by fast. Do you know what creates unhappy bitter old men? Regrets. And more often than not we are haunted by the regrets of things we DIDN’T do rather than things we did. This is a key piece of the puzzle. Do I regret being crazy as a teen and causing all sorts of trouble? Nope. Not one bit. Do you know what I DO regret? NOT trying to get into Berkely School of music because I lacked the confidence to even try.
See how that works? Now apply it to your life. Taking the time to cultivate happiness yields a myriad of benefits. It may not always be easy and you may have to step outside of your comfort zone but it is so much better than living the alternative.
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