Getting To Happy: 7 Habits That Can Change Your Life

March 6, 2012  |  
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Some people are born with an optimistic attitude. Well, actually we all are; but some have learned the art of maintaining this happiness or optimism after departing the innocent stage of childhood. As growing women, many of us experience the same ups and downs of life.  When it comes to the problems that many of us face, it’s pretty much the same script only a different cast. While some women’s problems are more severe than others, we all have our happiness tested. As failed relationships, disappointments, unachieved dreams, and a variety of other things creep into our lives, our happiness seems to creep out.

As cliché as it sounds, happiness is a state of mind. I’m sure when you’re feeling less than excited about circumstances in your life this is probably the last thing you want to hear. It’s almost worse than the generic consoling phrase, ‘it will get better.’

Still, we all know that eventually circumstances do get better, hearts are healed, and debt paid off; but it can become difficult to remain optimistic and exude happiness in the midst of these aggravating situations. While every day or every situation may not make you happy an overall happy existence is attainable, if you work at it.

So before you pour countless hours into unfulfilling jobs, subpar relationships, or other can-wait situations, try these 7 tips to find and maintain your happiness.

Don’t Neglect Your ‘Me’ Time

Even the strongest women need moments alone to take a breather. The extremely important but frequently ignored ‘me’ time is needed for proper rejuvenation. Every woman needs and deserves time to herself, uninterrupted by others’ thoughts and opinions. Whether it’s a long bubble bath with your favorite wine or a work-free day lying in bed watching “Love Jones” on repeat, invest in yourself and don’t neglect you ‘Me’ time.

Embrace Growth and Learning

I used to cringe when people would offer consolation to a negative by saying it’s all a learning experience.  Although annoying, as a growing woman this phrase has assisted me in embracing growth. Without going through experiences, you can’t learn. Without learning you don’t grow. Embracing growth helps you look at those less than ideal situations in a different light. This doesn’t mean that these situations won’t be difficult, but you will appreciate them more if you embrace growth and count them as learning experiences.

Make Memories: Do Something New and Exciting

Do you really want to look back over your life and realize that you played it safe? Safe is boring and boring isn’t conducive to happiness. Try something fun and new as often as you can. It could be something as small as going out to a bar solo, taking a road trip with the girls or going to a gun range to release some frustrations. Just make sure it’s fresh and interesting.

Laugh a Lot. Even At Yourself

Some people take life and themselves way too seriously. You’ve seen these people before. (Hopefully you’re not one of them.) They’re too stiff to laugh and too ‘grown” to joke around. No one really enjoys being around them because of their permanent serious faces.

If you don’t want to become one of these super serious people, allow yourself to laugh…loudly; and even sometimes at yourself. After all, in the grand scheme of things most situations are really not that serious to us in the long run.

Learn To Say When

A while ago I read the book, “Maximize the Moment.” The book, written by T.D. Jakes, offered advice on making the most of your time. The first chapter introduced a woman in a coffee shop. The waitress who poured her coffee told the woman to say ‘when’ to let her know when to stop pouring. The woman, who was distracted, didn’t tell the waitress to stop and the cup overflowed. The waitress simply replied ‘you didn’t tell me when.’ Sure, this scenario may have been an extreme case, but it served its purpose in making the point that we have to know when to say no to certain people and situations.

I have recently learned what most people have known for a long time. There are only 24 hours in a day. Of course, I knew of the actual concept, but still ignored the math and attempted to cram a 26 plus hour work day into the pre-set 24 hours. While opportunities are great, every opportunity that presents itself is not the right one for you. Learn to say ‘when.’

Eliminate Physical and Mental Clutter

Lesson learned: sometimes having a variety of friends, date buddies, and all the extra people in your life are actually more harmful than helpful. When most women think of eliminating clutter, they think of the un-needed clothes that haven’t worn in years but hope will come back in style or the piled up mess of papers in the corner that need to be read, filed, or tossed.

Most women don’t consider eliminating the men who clutter their minds with negative thoughts or friends who they’ve outgrown and can barely stand. Or one of the most popular clutters that come in the form of a person is keeping a ‘back-up’ plan around until Mr. Right comes along. This is un-needed clutter that sometimes prevents better things or people from coming into your life.

How do you decide if it’s clutter? Weigh out the advantages and disadvantages he, she or it has on your life, keeping in mind that dead weight is harmful to your happiness.

Give Back

One of the ways to appreciate your sucky situation is to see how sucky someone else’s situation is. As humans, although it may often not seem like it, we are here to give back and help others. Giving back, whether through a local charity, or helping out an elderly family member, is a great distractor from self-pity. Instead of walking around pessimistically, complaining about everything under the sun, volunteer your time (sans the pessimistic attitude, of course) and help others.

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