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Increase your happiness
May 23, 2013, 10:15 pm
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Everyone should attempt every now and then to take an inventory on your happiness. To do this examine 10 different areas—self, relationships, work, attitude, gratitude, forgiveness, humor, health, spirituality and now—to increase your happiness, starting right now.

Self: I know who I am, and I like myself:  Happiness is your original nature — it is what you first experienced before you began to identify with a body, a family role, some school grades, your nationality, your business card, and any other labels you keep. True happiness is being faithful to your true nature. The better you know yourself—what it is you love, what inspires you, what you are made of—the happier you will be. When you forget who you are, something very strange happens—you begin to search for happiness.

Connect with others:  Relationships are the heart of happiness. Social research has found rich and satisfying relationships are the only external factors that will move your happiness score from ‘quite happy’ to ‘very happy.’ A common mistake we make is to get so busy pursuing happiness that we fail to give our best time, energy and attention to our relationships. Remind yourself daily that happiness is in the connections you make, in the friendships you keep and in the love that exists between others.

Do what you love for a living:  Today's workplaces are a modern tragedy in which too many people go to work without a sense of joy and love. The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy. You can increase your happiness score by making your work more purpose-centered. Start with identifying what real success is, what your real value is, how you can be more creative and how you can enjoy yourself more.

Have a good attitude:  Find the place in your mind where you have already made a decision about how good today will be, and how good this year will be and how good your life will be. Choice is a powerful thing. More of anything or everything will not make a difference to your happiness score until you consciously choose to be happy. Therefore, set an intention to be happy today. Decide to make today even more enjoyable than you thought it was going to be.

Appreciate your life: There are two meta-attitudes that can significantly increase your happiness score. The first is gratitude. The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it changes the world you see. Before you practice gratitude, you are in the dark and there appears to be very little to be grateful for. Once you begin, a new light dawns, sometimes a brilliant light, a light as bright as heaven itself. Gratitude changes your brain; and it changes the world.

Let go of hurt and disappointment: Happiness is easy and natural until you experience your first wound. For this reason, the second meta-attitude that makes such a big difference to your happiness score is forgiveness. You cannot hold onto a grievance and be happy, because you can't be a victim and be happy. Holding onto a grievance is a sign of a mistaken identity. You are not a victim. Also, holding onto a grievance is really a decision to keep suffering. Forgiveness helps you let go and be happy.

Know how to have fun: To be truly happy, you have to get your head around the idea that circumstances don't matter as much as you think they do. Happiness research studies reveal consistently that most people who score high levels of happiness do not experience markedly better life circumstances.

Take care of your health and well-being:  

You cannot neglect yourself and find happiness. One of the side effects of chasing happiness is you become estranged from yourself. Make some time for yourself today. Check in with yourself. Catch up on your own news. Listen to your heart and to how you really feel. Give yourself some of your own best attention. Stop trying to be strong, and to be positive, and to keep going and simply be honest with yourself. 

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