Many people tend to drift through life from day to day without ever stopping to consider exactly what they want or expect from life, and whether they are truly happy. If we were to stop and think about it, there would probably be ceratin things in our life we would like to change, even if we consider ourselves to be more or less happy.
Researchers of the human condition have come to a few valuable conclusions for those who wish to improve their state of happiness. Most people, of course, need their basic requirements met, which equates with sufficient money for food and shelter. Studies have shown, however, that having more and more money does not in itself bring more happiness. There are other factors at play, both spiritual and emotional, that figure in the context of human happiness.
Some people think that the degree of happiness is largely determined by your natural temperament, which is in turn controlled by your genes, and that there's not much you can do about it. Others would refute this, arguing that if something makes you unhappy, you can actively try to change it and increase your happiness in general.
Studies show that optimistic people tend to be happier, and that you can will yourself to think more positively, even if this goes against your natural inclination.
Once you have dealt with the basic necessities of life, and earning a comfortable living, it is important to push yourself in some way. We humans are designed to seek challenges and overcome them, and feel a sense of satisfaction when we achieve. The opposite of achievement is apathy, which leads to boredom, dissatisfaction and depression. Never be afraid to try new things or take a new direction in life, because this is the way to grow and feel fulfilled.
You don’t, however, need to go overboard and take on something that you’re not equipped to do. It is better to set yourself small, attainable targets to start with, and build on your abilities, gaining self-confidence as each goal is reached. Start small and grow from there with an ever -increasing feeling of self-worth and ability. Don't be afraid of failure because it is inevitable from time to time. We learn from our mistakes and can then take on more, and achieve more.
If you’re feeling low, force yourself to act cheerfully even if you don’t quite mean it, and eventually you will believe it because feelings follow on actions. If you’re annoyed with someone, force yourself to be nice to them and be amazed at how good you feel about yourself because of this.
Try to avoidthe temptation to reward yourself or fend off depressive feelings by eating excessively or drinking alcohol. Any relief from your negative feelings will be extremely brief, and you’ll only feel guilty afterwards. It's important to face up to life with the knowledge that there is always a solution to problems, even if it takes time to find the right one.
You can increase your feelings of happiness by overcoming negativity in your thoughts and emotions. Resentment and anger are examples of negative feelings that can be thwarted by positive thinking and a change of perspective. The Dalai Lama is a prime example of a happy personality who knows and teaches the powers of recognizing and being grateful for what one has, and practising empathy with others. These qualities encourage feelings of serenity, inner power, and happiness.
Finally, remember that exercise is nature’s own mood booster. Regular exercise releases endorphins in the brain, and these are natural chemicals that help us instantly feel better about ourselves and life in general. You don’t have to sweat it out in the gym if that's not your preference - dancing, cycling, walking, swimming, playing tennis or any physical activity you enjoy will do just fine.