Hakuna Matata – it’s so nice to sing along and tell the world and ourselves – don’t worry be happy. But are we really happy. And what does being happy mean? Is it a state of mind, an emotion or a feeling that envelops us – brings a smile to our faces, a spring in our step and perhaps, a need to shout out from the rooftops, “I am happy.”
Happiness is a choice… and we’ve scientific evidence backing this up. Two small experimental studies, published this year in the Journal of Positive Psychology, found that simply trying to be happier could actually elevate mood and well-being. In one study, two groups of students listened to ‘happy’ music – one group was instructed to make a concerted effort to feel happier, while the other group was instructed not to actively try to lift their mood. The group that tried to feel happy experienced the most elevated moods after listening to the music.
What does this mean? Of course, we can take control of our own happiness if we wish to. How do we do that? A few simple steps go a long way…
Smile a lot
One of the secrets of being happy is to smile a lot. And it costs nothing. A study found that people who smiled as a result of collecting positive thoughts exhibited improved mood and less withdrawal. But do not attempt fake smiles. They result in bad moods and general discontent.
Gratitude should be a part of every person’s life. Be grateful for the things you have. When you acknowledge that good things have happening or continue to happen to you, then you derive happiness from these thoughts.
Psychological studies have proved that mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. In other words, Carpe Diem, or seize the day.
Make it your No. 1 goal
Make happiness one of your top choices in life. You may not believe it in the beginning, but trying to be happy helps a lot in bringing happiness to your life. Smiling, laughing over silly things, music, reading all bring happiness to your life. Anything that elevates your mood can create happiness. Learn to believe in it and be truly happy.
Make happy affirmations every day. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I am happy”, or “This will bring me happiness. Affirmations used every day can release stress, increase confidence levels and improve your outlook of life. Affirmations, however, must be chosen carefully.
Spend a few minutes in solitude every day. As we are forever enveloped in the ‘noise’ of life, it becomes essential to withdraw and seek happiness from within. There are a number of studies that show the diverse benefits of meditation. Connect spiritually and bring happiness to your life.