How do you get happy

Everyone wants to be happy. Of course it means different things to each of us, but it is a state of being I think we all desire to some extent.

Humanity’s pursuit of happiness is a huge industry in itself and it fuels many other industries from the superficial to the profound. Partly this is because happiness is such a difficult entity to define or objectify.

How can we get to the happy place in our lives?

Without having to ascribe to any specific school of thought on the matter, there are a few steps we can each take that might bring us closer to our end goal.

First – speaking as a mental health professional, I will stress the importance of dealing with mental health issues. Obviously happiness will elude a person experiencing unmanaged chronic depression, anxiety or other mental illness. In the throes of an illness such as these, simple daily function can become severely disrupted and certainly any feelings of contentment quickly disappear.

When mental illness is appropriately treated, the barriers to happiness often fall away.

If you are not mentally ill, but unhappy due to an unsatisfying or difficult work situation or relationship, take steps to change those specific details in your life. Seek out a career path that will be meaningful for you. Work for healthy relationships and if necessary, break out of relationships that are hurting you.

In these kinds of situations, therapy or some other professional help could be useful to help you set realistic goals and create roadmaps for how to achieve them.

Once the specific situations causing unhappiness are dealt with, there are also some more basic steps you can take to increase feelings of happiness or contentment.

At least one study suggests that happiness is almost like an infection – it works its way through social networks. Surrounding yourself with other happy people can increase your odds that the feeling will rub off.

People who make the investment to become truly good at a skill they enjoy experience greater happiness in the long term.

Smile more. It may sound strange, but some data indicate that simply making a point of expressing happiness in this outward way can increase feelings of happiness.

Don’t obsess about getting or staying happy. If you spend all your time fixating on whether or not you’re truly happy and attempting to grasp this diaphanous thing, you may in fact miss out on simply being happy in the present. If there isn’t something that needs fixing in your life, try to just enjoy the details as they happen.

 

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