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Ways to make you smile right now...
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5 Reasons Why Most People Are Not Happy & How to Resolve Them!
“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present” ~ Jim Rohn
Barring the few enlightened ones, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume and state that most of the population is not happy today.
The reason attributed for this is that man has become too materialistic.
He is more focused on collecting material things and losing the key human values.
I don’t agree with this completely.
Because modern-day inventions can’t be simply ruled out as bad in the name of materialism.
I think none of us would want to go to the olden days when we had to write a letter to know the well-being of our loved ones.
The letter had to reach in a couple of days and then you would hear back a few days later than that. Today with a click of a button, you can see videos and talk to your loved ones sitting thousands of miles away, thanks to technological developments.
Also who would want to go back to the days, when it took days to reach even a few hundred miles away, which journey we can travel in just a couple of hours.
Most would agree with the above, I am sure.
So modern-day progress has made our lives easier and more comfortable (but not any happier though).
Yes because, the man is only making his life comfortable, but not enhancing his level of consciousness to understand the real stuff.
So, why it is so that despite all the comfort and luxuries provided by science and technology, the human being is not getting happier truly.
This article captures some of the reasons for that:
Reason #1: Comparison with others
“Comparison with myself brings improvement, comparison with others bring discontent”
~ Betty Jemmy Chung.
Everyone has different circumstances in life.
Everyone starts at his own point in life and has his own journey towards success.
So always getting in the habit of comparing yourself with others will put you in a state of consistent discontent.
You might be comparing the strength of another person with your weaknesses, which is a game, one can never win.
If you focus on your strengths, you will multiply them.
But if you focus on your weakness, at the max you will become mediocre.
So, the right approach is to get “inspired” by other people and most importantly take action to change your situation.
So, the best form of comparison is the comparison with oneself.
Real happiness comes from fulfillment only.
If you have given your best shot during the day, you will have a sense of fulfillment, which is the real source of happiness.
Reason# 2: Lack of Gratitude
One of the biggest reasons for feeling unhappy or sad is that we don’t count our blessings when we wake up every day.
Rather, we focus on the things we lack and believe that our happiness is solely dependent on achieving the next big thing.
We have so many examples in life to prove that the happiness from every next physical thing is only short-lived.
The moment we get what we are looking for, we again start looking at something bigger than that
If you are consistently focussing on lack in your life, it will create a never-fulfilling mental loop.
“What you focus on grows, what you think about expands and what you dwell upon determines your reality”~ Robin Sharma.
You think the glass is half empty.
You don’t feel grateful that even this half glass can quench your thirst.
If these people get a one-time meal, then they will be the happiest person.
The idea is not to stop progress by looking at such people.
But alongside one shouldn’t make his or her happiness solely dependent on the achievement of the materialistic goals.
If you have a house to stay in, a vehicle to drive, a reasonable job or vocation to lead a nice life with your family, you are already better off than a substantial population.
Your gratitude has a positive impact on your future too. Because:
“What you appreciate, appreciates” ~Lynee Twist
Reason # 3: You are stuck in your comfort zone
“A comfort zone is a really beautiful place, but nothing grows there”~ Anonymous
One of the most common reasons for lack of happiness in people’s lives is lack of growth.
At a certain point in time, people get stuck in their comfort zone.
Most of us try to always play very safe in our lives.
And we very smartly keep on hiding this besides the facade of phrasing it “practical”.
We don’t pull up our courage to do what we want to do or what we should do to move the needle forward.
We keep on hiding our dreams for years only to regret them in the latter part of our lives.
“Life is too short to be little. You must enlarge your imagination and then act upon it”~ Benjamin Disraeli.
I was listening to one interview with an entrepreneur #GaryVeynerchuk.
He states that he had interacted with lots of people more than 60 years of age.
They were asked about the topmost regret of their lives and the common response was:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
So, there is always a deep desire inside the heads of people for doing something they wanted to do, but they leave it out because they didn’t think it was practical.
May be you would think that you are too young or too old for trying out something different.
May be you would think that your circumstances are not right yet.
May be you think too much about what if you fail.
So, the lack of courage to come out of their comfort zone makes people unhappy in their lives.
Reason #4: You Don’t Move Your Body
The one thing, which today’s technology and inventions have done bad to mankind is that it has almost killed the requirement of moving your body at all.
Especially for the knowledge workers.
So if you don’t want, it is entirely possible that you are able to do all your work sitting the whole day. Of course, addressing the nature’s call is something which only will make you move (might be someone is trying to invent something for comfort on this front also J)
So you don’t move your body.
You might think of this as a luxury, but this is a real big dent in your health and happiness.
Because, when you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins.
These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body and help you develop a positive and energizing outlook on life.
If you see the top-notch performers in any field, they are regularly doing exercise.
Reason #5: You are always in the Past or Future.
It is generally reported that the human mind runs around 60000 thoughts per day and more than 95% of those are repeated thoughts.
People either are thinking of their past, because this is something, which they have already seen and are certain about.
Otherwise, people keep on thinking about their future.
They are continuously anxious about what is the next thing going to happen in their lives. How would be their future?
So this whole focus on past and present makes you stranded in the present moment.
You are not able to take any action or get plagued with indecision.
If you don’t move any further, that becomes the key reason for your unhappiness.
But the point to remember is that you can’t ever go back and undo that action of the past.
Similarly, you cannot go to the future and make things happen now.
The only place where you can act is the present.
It is only your present that will take the shape of the past tomorrow.
And also your future will come only in the form of today, to act upon.
If you have to make your past good and the future better, you have to focus and work on your present.
The principle itself is self-fulfilling.
If you make your present better and have a look back, then you will see a better past.
Also, if you live your present well, the well-lived present will set the layout or background for a better future anyways.
“If you are depressed, you are living in past.
If you are anxious, you are living in future.
If you are at peace, you are living in present.”~ Anonymous.
The Health Benefits of Smiling
"Life is like a mirror, smile at it and it smiles back at you"
They say it takes more muscles to frown than to smile, and although there’s no hard evidence to support that, we do know that smiling comes with some real-life benefits.
It’s not always the easiest thing to do, especially after a long and stressful day. But if you can take it upon yourself to crack a smile, you’ll actually feel better.
Release the Endorphins!
When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress.
Then other neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins come into play too.
The endorphins act as a mild pain reliever, whereas the serotonin is an antidepressant.
One study even suggests that smiling can help us recover faster from stress and reduce our heart rate.
In fact, it might even be worth your while to fake a smile and see where it gets you.
There’s been some evidence that forcing a smile can still bring you a boost in your mood and happiness level.
That being said, if you’re suffering from depression or anxiety you should talk to your physician immediately to find the best treatment for you.
Creating a Ripple Effect
It turns out the benefits of smiling aren’t just limited to yourself — it can also affect those around you too.
We’ve already talked about how our brains react when we smile, but we’re also rewarded when we see someone else smile too!
The reward center of our brain is activated and it makes us feel a little better.
Plus, one Swedish study suggests that we can’t help but react with a smile of our own when we see someone smiling — so it’s an all-out infectious loop of happiness.
Happy in the Face, Boss in the Workplace
Feel-good benefits aside, smiling and happiness can actually affect your job performance.
A team of economists performed a study and found that “human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity.
Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings, while negative emotions have the opposite effect."
Another study linked decision-making, processing, and learning to the release of dopamine triggered by happiness, so smiling can also make you a more creative and efficient worker.
So the next time you’re feeling like a pick-me-up, try busting out a toothy grin and it could give you the lift you’re looking for.
And if you’re already in a good mood, why not flash those pearly whites at a stranger and pass along the good vibes?
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My Life Is Great, So Why Can’t I Be Happy?
Another point of view..........
6 Decisions That Led to Me Living a Distinctly Happier Life
Happiness is a funny thing.
The research shows the more you think about it, the less likely you are to have it. It’s a cruel fact that but one to remember.
But science doesn’t lie.
I used to obsess about being happy, my most common stumbling block was passion, I didn’t have any.
But then I learned, according to some Harvard Professors, that passions aren’t found they are made and that changed things.
Over the last few years, I’ve built mechanisms to help me be happier.
This morning I decided to take stock of the decisions that have increased my happiness, it turns out there are some scientific reasons for the uplift.
1. Deciding to not wake up too early
There is a lot of hype about waking up early.
I used to be determined to wake up at 5 am every morning.
I’d read enough self-help to convince myself that this was the change I needed to make in order to build a better life for myself.
It was largely unproductive.
I would crawl out of bed at 5 am, sit wide-eyed in front of the computer trying to not fall back to sleep, and ease myself into the morning with some YouTube.
Watch YouTube for 2 hours and then get to work.
I was essentially getting up early to watch YouTube.
You see, life is a balancing act.
The way I think about it these days is the goal is to understand your tolerances and then find the balance that makes you happiest.
Waking up too early means you spend the day sluggish.
It’s a poor decision.
It means you sacrifice sleep for subpar working hours.
According to science, 1 in 3 of us suffer from bad sleep. I was inadvertently volunteering myself into those stats.
Decision 1: Deciding to not wake up too early.
2. Deciding that quantity does impact quality
I’ve been writing online for 2 years.
In those early days, my articles were embarrassingly bad. Like a dad dance at a party bad. I’ve deleted most of them since.
My problem was quantity.
I was trying to write 4 articles a day.
I would tear through them as quickly as physically possible.
I’d be writing number 1, thinking about number 2, writing number 2, thinking about number 3… you get the gist.
I realized that I needed to slow down.
I realized that I need to feel a sense of awe, a sense of value and meaning when writing to enjoy it to the fullest.
It turns out, that science proves that finding awe makes us happier.
I find that when I have a short unambitious writing schedule I am freer. I write with more thought and for me, that’s miles more enjoyable.
Decision 2: Sacrificing quantity for quality.
3. Deciding to sit with the bad feelings
I used to avoid bad feelings like the plague.
I use to detest the feeling of being scared, the pressure would overwhelm me and I would freeze if I didn’t know the answer.
I’ve always been a people pleaser so when I know I’m not doing that I feel vulnerable.
I know, it’s cringe.
As soon as those feelings would come over me I’d do anything to get rid of them.
I’d fight them, I’d refuse them, I’d complain about them.
I think somewhere along the line I just gave up on fighting them.
I thought, oh well, so what if I feel scared, cool whatever. And weirdly it seemed to work.
It works mostly because I think it takes the gravitas of the feelings away.
Now, on a good day, I’m able to sit with bad feelings and feel them.
And then let them move on.
It’s quite something.
Decision 3: Allowing myself to sit with bad feelings.
4. Deciding to choose time over money
I always thought time was money.
I used to work a job that was £3 an hour, I used to count the hours I wasn’t working and calculate how much I was missing out on.
Funny how you think when you're a kid.
I recently made a decision that meant financially, I’d be significantly worse off than before.
But that was a choice between happiness and sadness.
I decided I would, for once, break the rules and put myself first.
I choose my own happiness.
Recently that’s turned out to be the best decision I’ve made in a long while.
Since I made that decision I’m noticeably happier, my mind is healthier, and my thoughts are clearer. After all, I’m writing an article about it.
Decision 4: Choose happiness.
5. Deciding to let things take as long as they take
I’ve been doing up my house recently.
I hate DIY.
Painting and decorating are not my thing and so it tends to be the case that I fall into the trap of rushing things.
I skip steps in order to get through them because usually, I set impossible deadlines.
Recently I took a new approach.
I decided I wouldn’t worry about how long it took. I decided instead to just try and enjoy it for what it was.
Easier said than done with painting a wall but I committed to trying nonetheless.
Well, for the first time in, well, my entire life, I was actually enjoying painting a wall.
I was thinking about all the ways I could maximize enjoying my painting time.
- I put on my favorite podcast.
- I found an hour in my day I could spare.
- I focused on getting my lines as neat as possible.
It took me a month to paint two rooms.
But I learned in that process that when we rush through things, hoping to get them done as quickly as humanly possible, we miss the point altogether.
It turns out science agrees.
According to the research, children that are more engaged in their current activity are happier.
That was me with painting my walls.
I was so concentrated on the task, I forgot all about how much I didn’t like it.
Decision 5: Accept things for what they are, let them take as long as they take.
6. Deciding to let go of expectations
Expectations are the happiness killers.
It used to happen all the time with me and writing.
I expected to write once and my work to fly off the shelves.
I thought the biggest hurdle was starting, which is funny after writing 477 articles online, I can’t tell you, the problem is not starting.
Expectations are the problem.
Mo Gawdat, the happiness science expert, says this is the foundation of an unhappy life.
If you expect A* and you get A, you convince yourself you’ve failed.
Instead, I began to remove my own expectations.
I let things be.
I didn’t think about writing as a thing to achieve, I thought about it as an exercise.
I show up, I do it because it makes me feel good.
I don’t get the scales out every 5 minutes to see how I measure up. I write because I love it. That’s all.
Decision 6: Removing expectations where possible.
The 6 decisions that led me to live a happier life?
- Deciding to not wake up too early.
- Deciding not to sacrifice quality for quantity.
- Deciding to sit with the bad feelings.
- Deciding to choose time over money.
- Deciding to let things take as long as they take.
- Deciding to let go of expectations.
Happiness doesn’t start with a relationship, a vacation, a job… or any external source.
It starts with your thinking and what you tell yourself today.
Remind yourself of this truth.
And remind yourself that the absolute best lessons we learn in life are the lessons we learn over and over again.
The human mind needs lots of proactive reminders—lots of practice—to operate effectively through thick and thin. For example, deep down we know it’s OK to…
- Say “no”
- Speak up
- Tell the truth
- Believe differently
- Change our mind
- Prioritize our needs
- Learn from our mistakes
- Embrace our imperfections
- Forgive and seek forgiveness
- Begin again, stronger than before
Yet, we often seek the exact opposite when life gets stressful and we’re under pressure.
We do the wrong things even when we know better.
Because the human mind has weaknesses.
It becomes forgetful and insensible when it’s stressed. And the only way to conquer these weaknesses is to practice conquering them.
Now is the time to practice!
Are you ready?
The bottom line is that life will get better when you get better on the inside.
Take this to heart.
Start investing in yourself mentally and emotionally.
Make it a priority to learn and grow a little bit every day by building positive rituals and sticking to them.
The stronger you grow and become, the better your life will feel in the long run.
The best ritual for beginning this process?
Daily Quotes and Notes
It’s all about keeping the right thoughts at the top of your mind every day, so they’re readily available on those inevitable days (like today) when you need them most.
For Angel and me, that means pausing frequently and reflecting on precisely what we need to remember. We write ourselves little quotes and notes like the ones below (all of which are now excerpts from our books) and then we place them where we can easily see and reference them throughout the day (mine are taped on the wall directly in front of my desk).
These bite-sized bits of wisdom keep us on track by keeping our minds centered and empowered with positive, proactive trains of thought.
So, my challenge to YOU is to start practicing alongside us today.
To get started, steal our quotes and notes below—perhaps just the ones that resonate most—and place them somewhere you can see them.
Then, whenever you catch yourself feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, or confused about the next best step, pause for a minute and quietly read them to yourself.
See how doing so gradually changes the way you think through life’s present twists and turns and potholes…
- You can’t control how other people behave. You can’t control everything that happens. What you can control is how you respond to it all. In your response is your power.
- The biggest and most complex obstacle you will ever have to overcome is your own mind. Let that sink in. You aren’t responsible for everything that happens to you in life, but you are responsible for undoing the self-defeating thinking patterns these undesirable outcomes create.
- The goal is to change your response to what you can’t control. To grow so strong on the inside that nothing on the outside can affect your inner wellness without your conscious permission.
- The older you grow, the more quiet and focused you become. Life humbles and enlightens you gradually as you age. You realize just how much nonsense you’ve wasted time on. And you realize just how precious today truly is.
- Train your mind to see what’s right. Positivity is a choice. The peace and happiness of your life heavily depend on the quality of your thoughts today.
- Your struggles are helping you grow in ways you can’t imagine. It might be hard to see right now, but one day you’ll look back and realize things had to happen the way they did to get you to where you are. Trust that today’s challenges will be responsible for your future growth.
- Peace does not mean being in a space where there is no chaos, trouble, or hard realities to deal with. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still remain mentally, emotionally, and physically centered.
- If you wait until you feel 100% ready, you will be waiting for the rest of your life. Realize this! Some people wait all day for 5 pm, all week for Friday, all year for the holidays… all their lives for happiness. Don’t be one of them.
- Be patient today, but don’t just sit there. Patience in life is not about waiting—it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.
- Start replacing the phrase “I have to” with “I get to” whenever you catch yourself complaining. So many activities we complain about are things others wish they had the chance to do. Not everyone has the same resources and options right now.
- As you struggle forward in the days and weeks ahead, remind yourself, it is far better to be exhausted from lots of effort, learning, and growth, than it is to be tired of doing absolutely nothing.
- Our character is most evident at our highs and lows. Be humble at the mountaintops, strong in the valleys, and faithful in between. And on particularly hard days when you feel you can’t endure, remind yourself that your track record for getting through hard days has been 100% so far.
- Ten years from now it won’t really matter what shoes you wore today, how your hair looked, or what brand of clothes you wore. What will matter is how you lived, how hard you loved, and what you learned along the way.
- If you have the power to make someone happy today, do it. The world desperately needs more of that right now.
- Build friendships with people who aren’t your age. Spend time around those whose first language isn’t English. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from the same social class. Listen. Be humble and teachable. This is how you learn and grow. This is how you see the world.
- You’ll always be too much for someone—too sensitive, too big, too loud… too edgy. And if you round out your edges to make them happy, you’ll lose your edge. Take this to heart! Apologize for your mistakes—for being human. But don’t apologize for being who you are.
- You will never find your whole worth in another human being—you find it in yourself, and then you will attract those from all backgrounds who are worthy of your energy. Realize this. Accept and acknowledge your own worth. Stop waiting for others to tell you how important you are. Tell yourself. And believe it.
- Dozens of times throughout your life, you’ll outgrow what you thought you couldn’t live without, and fall in love with what you didn’t even know you wanted. Life will lead you on hard yet necessary paths you’d never travel by choice. Don’t be afraid. Have faith. Trust the journey.
- It’s not too late. You aren’t behind. You’re exactly where you need to be. Every step is necessary. Don’t judge or berate yourself for how long your journey is taking. We all need our own time to travel our own distance.
- Appreciate your progress today. You’ve been through a lot, but you’ve grown a lot too. Give yourself credit for your resilience, and how far you’ve come.
Use Visual Reminders, Too
Written quotes and notes like the ones above are powerful, but they merely scratch the surface of possibilities for daily self-reflection.
For instance, I have my laptop’s desktop background set to a photo of my family, both because I love looking at them and because, when life and work get really tough, these photos remind me of the people I am ultimately working with and living with for.
It’s so simple, but it helps.
Think of moments when you are most likely to give in to impulses that keep you stuck and take you further away from your best intentions.
Then use written quotes, notes, and visual reminders to interrupt those negative impulses and keep yourself on track.