Thursday, January 8, 2009

4 Ways To Increase Happiness Immediately

Most self help is ultimately about discovering how to be happy.

I've read over 5,000 books related, in one way or another, to improving either my own life or the lives of others. And, in so reading, I can say that ultimately what we seek when reading such a book is to increase our happiness from one of the following things:

1. Increases in:
a. Pleasure; improving how much we enjoy the things we do.
b. Career Success; be a better boss, creating a dream job, etc.
c. Dating/Relationship finding/keeping someone special and improving how we relate.
d. Financial Abundance; making more money, investing more wisely, etc.
e. Health; being healthy in diet, weight, muscle, shape, etc.
f. Hobby/Free Time; improving certain aptitudes in recreational activities.
g. Wisdom; gaining perspective in life, philosophy, and experience.

Sometimes, our success increases when our failure decreases, so many additional books deal with decrease. Therefore, our happiness increases when we decrease some of the following:

2. Decreases in:
a. Getting rid of doubt and self-incrimination.
b. Fear; removal of fear or ways to overcome fear.
c. Blocks; removal of blocks to success.
d. Debt; ways to remove or eliminate debt or poor money management.
e. Poor relationship choices; bad dating or inter-relational habits.
f. Failure; learning from failure to turn losing into winning.
g. Disease; overcoming disease or other health ailments.
h. Time management failure; overcoming procrastination, etc.

Almost all self-help topics could be categorized in one of these sentences above.

Based upon this analysis, I'm going to give you four simple ways to increase happiness:

First, Take three.

If you wish to increase happiness, why not take the simple approach to address THREE of these at any given time. No more than three, just three. If you're having a problem with doubt, start a new discipline of confidence. Find the experts on teaching confidence and learn the essence of what they share. If you're struggling with getting in shape, take one new action that will do that for you: in my case, I've joined a new gym today that will enable me to drop the next 10 pounds in my weight management goal. Or, if you're not enjoying your career, do a career evaluation. Read a few books written by people who LOVE their career and follow some of their advice. By working on several aspects of your life and continually improving, you're creating a habit of life improvement. This habit will lead to increased happiness.

Second, What really matters most?

If you ask almost anyone who has lived a full life, they will tell you that sharing laughter and stories with good friends and family are the moments that matter most in your life. To improve this aspect, why not create special time for those you love, who add the most joy to your life, each week? Perhaps Saturday coffee with friends, or meeting for a happy hour on Thursday or Friday night? Maybe a special Tuesday dinner night that moves from couple to couple? Do something like this a couple of times a week and you'll never feel like you've missed something important. By spending time with those you love, you automatically ensure you'll be happier.

Third, simplify.

In Eastern philosophy, common wisdom is to simply "be" in the moment and experience life right now. What can you do to help you accomplish this? Can you reduce the clutter in your home? Can you make your commute shorter? How can you reduce wasted space or things you no longer use? How can you minimize time spent wastefully and replace it with things you love the most? To the extent you can accomplish some of this simplification, your life will improve and you will be happier.

Last, it may sound silly, but LOOK UP and show the sky your PEARLY WHITES.

We need sunlight and I always find it remarkable that when I make a practice to look up to the sun and show the sky my pearly whites, I automatically lift my mood. The converse is watching television. The more we watch television, where we commonly look straight or down, and let life get dictated or shown to us, we have happiness decrease. So, this last one is simple: get outside more often and spend less time in front of the television. When you're outside more often you will bump into people and have a chance to witness, create, and experience life more fully. While you're at it, why not learn something new? Tennis, golf, basketball, play an instrument, paint a landscape, whatever, but doing something outside is likely to make you happy.

So, there's a simple four-part strategy to increase happiness and enjoy your life more completely. If you find this useful, share it with friends!

Did I miss anything on your own list of happiness creation? If you've got more ways to improve happiness, feel free to weigh in on my comments page.

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Seriously Fun Self-help! said...

Want to focus your efforts even more? When I said pick "three" I meant you can pick three different areas, but true focus would be to pick ONLY ONE. Do that. And do it very, very well. Want to know something interesting? When you get really good at something, you rarely lose that talent. You may slip from being super-advanced to just advanced, but you'll still be good for a long time. So, get really, really good at ONE thing on the list, and watch your happiness grow!

parham Prand said...

Not in Iran.It is the saddest country in the world.No chance to practive these ways for increase happiness,no chance.

Seriously Fun Self-help! said...

I haven't lived in Iran. But I would still do what I could to manifest happiness, no matter what my circumstances.

Are our circumstances what dictate our happiness? Or is it an inner state of being?

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