6 Simple Steps to Happiness

I was in a rat-hole of sad. No, really. And people were throwing these trite ideas at me for how to climb out. But that hole is dark inside, and screaming for help brought no magic ladders, so I had to go get my own answers or live and die in that hole. Do the guru people have something worthwhile or are they full of it? Is there a science to happiness or is it art? Some of both, I think. Happiness can be had in 2 minutes via happiness triggers, and maybe there’s an art to it, too. This is how I helped myself out of the hole, and the ladder I built to do it, 2 minutes at a time. No guru needed.

Quick Read:

Contrary to the smoke up your, uh, skirt … guru-type thinking, happiness isn’t magic; it’s a skill. And we can go get it just like any other skill. I was sunk, lost and in the dark. Once I decided to be happy and got after it, it came at me and I didn’t have to go look for it anymore. No magic. No bullsmoke. I was in a hole and built my own ladder to get out, one rung at a time. Including the one that made me want to bust my friend’s nose wide open — it may not be the best idea to tell a person struggling with negativity not to complain so much. That’s bonus advice right there.

TakeTwo MInutes to Transform Your Level of Happiness

Count Your Blessings

Even on our darkest days, most of us have SO MUCH to be thankful for. It’s hard to be droopy when we look at the good. And that’s just a choice, you know? Yeah, sure, things can be hard. Not enough money, the car broke down — or we have no car. But taking one minute to mentally list the good things we’ve got has real impact.

We forget about all of the good we have in the fray of life. A minute is all we need to think about the good, the sunshine, the functioning pair of shoes, the coffee that came out just how we like it. Get into the idea putting things in perspective. Look for a gratitude app to help keep track if needs be. Or start journaling your thoughts — or even make it a point to do your counting with a friend who may need a leg up, too.

Let it Go

I am an irritable human monster sometimes. Being cut off in traffic makes me livid. But the gurus got this one right. Irritability can lead to increased stress hormones like cortisol. So I’ve gotta let that crap go. Learning detachment just plain sucks, but it looks like it can have lasting value. I know, I know — meditation, blah blah. But look, meditation can help clear the mind and studies do show it helps. So let’s get into it. I use a guided podcast and app for practice. This helps until I’m ready to go it alone.

Volunteer or Spread Kindness

Sometimes we need to get out of our own skin. Apparently being mired in our own stuff counteracts the need to let stuff go, like I said above. We can actually get on our own nerves. I know I do!

Helping others gets us looking out instead of in and it’s kind of satisfying. Believing that we are good people makes us feel better, too, obviously. And besides, this way we end up happy and so does the person who we helped out, a win-win. Check out the local volunteer center or make a list of causes and make some phone calls to land a great gig.

The random acts of kindness people have this one down. Simple things can really brighten someone’s day and make us feel better at the same time. Hold the door, give a smile, say thank you, give a compliment or if you can, buy someone’s groceries. Look out and not in; help others and help the self.

Be Present

Sometimes I have to remind myself, “at this moment, right now, I’m okay.” Stopping for a moment to really live in the present can improve our level of happiness by reminding us not to borrow trouble. When anxiety and fear start to ruin my day, I know it’s often because I’m focusing on what might happen, not what is currently happening. This steals little pieces of my day and robs me of my overall happiness. Stay in this moment to steal happiness back.

Be Happy Now

Really, if we wait for a goal to be accomplished or a task to be completed before we allow ourselves to be happy, we may never get there. So knock that “I’ll be happy when…” crap off right now. We can choose to be happy right now, in the present moment, rather than deprive ourselves because we think we need to be more or do more. Be enough, ok? Don’t make happiness dependent on something that may or may not happen.

Stop Complaining

“Tell me five positive things” a friend said to me and I wanted to break his nose. But then I tried it. And yeah, okay, so saying the good is like counting the good and I get it. But then we got to talking and he told me I complain. A lot. Oh.

I’ve been trying to cut this out of my life because it’s not really rocket science. If being grateful works to make us happier, complaining is the exact opposite of that concept and will, therefore, make us, or at least me, into a negative jerk. So I’m working on it.

We definitely can improve our mood and watch happiness flow over into the rest of our lives. These ideas really helped me to improve my happiness when I was feeling down and combined, got me out of my hole. I hope you can benefit from them, too. Here’s to our happiness!

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