By Kevin Daum | INC.com
How do they do it, these happy people? How do they let troubles bounce off them and make the best of every struggle? Do they choose to be this way? Many believe a constant state of happiness is in the category of mermaids and unicorns. But there are people in this world who, short of major unexpected trauma, have figured out how to be truly happy most of the time. These people have mastered a perspective worthy of imitation. Here are some common traits for you to emulate in your pursuit of happiness.
1. They clearly define happiness.
I have heard many people claim happiness comes from people or children or community or work, etc. Each one may be true for some and not true for others. Happiness is a personal objective only reached by knowing what it looks like for you. Happy people understand what makes them happy and are therefore able to make changes in their life to eliminate unhappiness. They don’t hope for happiness, they decide to make it happen. Try keeping a journal listing the things that make you happy and those that don’t. Then focus on making the happy list happen.
2. They find pleasure in the little things.
Many people are waiting for happiness to come from a major event like a promotion, wedding, or winning the lottery. Truly happy people find joy in simple things like accomplishing tasks, pleasant conversation, beautiful images, or nice weather. Those tiny bits of joy add up–like manufactured runs in baseball–to a winning disposition. Open your eyes and ears to seemingly inconsequential items and events around you. Be a curious observer and enjoy the wonder of small detail in this amazing world.
3. They believe in their own self-worth.
So much unhappiness comes from personal insecurity. Anxiety can be a good motivator for success, but too much will suck the joy out of accomplishment. Happy people choose to be confident so they can focus their time and energy on opportunity and relationships. Cultivate your self-confidence so you can enjoy the journey to success as much as the end result.
4. They take continuous action for self-improvement.
Happy people love to grow. They commit to constant learning and personal development. When they feel themselves becoming stagnant they actively pursue new opportunities to discover and challenge themselves. Set yourself a regimen for learning. Books, classes and clubs will not only make you smarter, but you’ll meet like-minded learners to add to your personal circle and help you be a better person.
5. They graciously impact others.
Those who are happy have a positive effect on the people around them. Some generate a happy atmosphere just by their presence. But many constantly make an effort to brighten the days of other people. These people inspire others by engaging them in entertaining activity and conversation, but never in an overbearing way. Be an instigator and a leader. Create opportunities for others to share in your love of life. Give selflessly of your time and joy so others can draw from your happiness and energy.
6. They live in a constant state of gratitude.
Happy people consciously recognize the many blessings they receive. They are truly appreciative of the people and opportunities that come their way and they demonstrate their gratitude generously and unabashedly. Make a habit of outwardly showing your thankfulness every day. It may feel awkward at first, but many people around you will recognize your love for life and may discover they also have much for which to be grateful.
Of course I recognize that being truly happy is not easy. People will spend a fortune on therapy, pharmaceuticals, and self-help to get to a happy state of mind. But all efforts are worthwhile even when the path is slow. It took me a fair amount of trauma and several decades of struggle to make changes necessary for a happy life. But I can’t imagine a single reason to revert to the alternative, so come join me on the happy side.