6 Subtle Ways To Be Happier
Psychologist have been in a deep shit for some while now trying to figure out the problem with our current existential crisis.
You see, in the past two decades in all the first world countries around the world, the standard of living has skyrocketed and we are all living as lush Kings compared to our fellow counterparts a few hundreds years back. Tragically, as our comfort rose up, so did our misery.
Depression, low self-esteem and unhappiness is the new epidemic. Go to the subways and observe people's faces for a minute and you won't miss it - the rush, the desperation and quiet fear.
Worse still, you don't even have to look too far, there is a huge chance you are unhappy right now. Isn't that why you clicked through to read this in the first place.
But what are we so freaking unhappy? That's the million dollar question isn't it.
Confusingly there is no clear answer even though the great minds of our time has tried to answer it. Bottom line, a lot of reasons contributes to our deep shit - one is that mother nature gave us an over curious brain designed to solve problems. Now due to millions of people that we can compare ourselves to, we get bigger unrealistic problems.
- What if I’m not financially free?
- What if I’m not beautiful enough?
- What if I’m not smart enough?
- What if I’m just not enough?
Thanks to the media, no matter how good we are at anything already, we can see someone 10 times better in 3 seconds of scrolling through our twitter and Instagram feeds. We come to see the huge false dichotomy
You are either a winner or a filthy loser
What's better? The companies comes shouting in your face that they can help you be on the winning side. Quit your job and start earning passive income they say! Buy my products and you'll be happy they woo with fantastically innovative ad campaigns. Buy my book and you will be successful!
So we doom ourselves into the rat race for getting what we believe will make us a winner, in the hope of being happy in the end as if we aren't already beautiful and fabulous just being alive on this magnificent planet.
Take a good look at it; every other animal on planet earth is happy just being alive but we aren't... Or wait... We are! As a kid. As a kid we are nothing but curious cackling beasts on two legs. We played and laughed at least a hundred times everyday until the world got to us.
'Grow up!' our parents said
As if having fun is such a crime. Tragically, kids play time in the USA and UK has reduced a striking 71% in just our generation and the rest of the world is close behind.
All because of parents preoccupation with the rat race for happiness, we are neck deep in the greatest existential crisis of all time. If only the damned happiness is everlasting then it would be worth the misery that lies in its wake, but no, happiness is ephemeral. No matter how huge your goal is or how hard you toil for it - a million dollars, a billion, a patent that ended global warming, sex with Jennifer Lawrence, tour around the world blah blah blah
Your payload of happiness will eventually die off and you will be off for the next big thing. However, this is a dangerous way to live. Talk about stress and the fact that failing to meet your goals lead to regrets.
Any hard setback makes you think you are a loser. You become stressed and get thrown into a perpetual flight or fight response and soon your body starts to fight itself, which leads to all sorts of nastiness.
You have to stop living this way. There is a way.. a subtle way to be joyful, successful and alive without living in misery. Making these six subtle changes below will help you become happier no matter where you are right now.
1. Take back your own worth
This is a billion times easier said than done because we are creatures of habits, nevertheless, you can take back your worth from their ill-fated abode on external achievement by loving yourself so much it oozes off you.
I'm not advocating that you should stop setting goals and aiming to make a dent in the universe, I'm simply saying you shouldn't be bother about being a winner or a loser. You are neither, you are just you and you don't have to live in misery before you succeed.
One popular advice I'm going to give to you is to set high standards for yourself but have low expectations. Work hard but don't base your happiness on the results.
You can love yourself and be happy right now.
You have to stop postponing loving yourself and being happy until you get that something. Love yourself right now! Refuse to believe all the thoughts that you are a loser unless you go to Hawaii or get the Nobel peace price.
Love yourself right now, you can do it like Kamal Ravikant did it by reciting affirmations of 'I love myself' a thousand times a day or you can do it by listening to your habitual rat race thoughts and deliberately changing them.
2. Remember one ridiculous thing you are grateful for
Scrolling through your Facebook shows you nothing but what you lack, how boring your live compared to your classmate's lifestyle in Paris, how uninspiring your work is compared to Paul's at Google headquarters and how lame your car is compared to the guy you bullied in highschool.
But wait. Do you know how many people are blind in the world right now - from birth? Do you know that millions die from hunger every year cross the world? Do you know that millions have debilitating diseases and can't move or talk or do any damn thing?
Most times it not that our life's isn't fabulous, it's that we are just not grateful for what you have right now. So instead of looking into the bleak future that will frighten you, why not look into your past and be grateful.
It's the same advice. Work hard but also love yourself and appreciate what you have now.
Exercising this opens your eye to the fact that your life doesn't suck so much, what's better is that every time you do this, oxytocin (the relaxation hormone) gets emptied into your veins and you are relaxed and happier.
So cultivate the habit of remembering one ridiculous thing you're grateful about in your life. Most times I'm always so grateful I can wiggle my toes, as I said, ridiculous.
3. Stop time traveling
Has it ever happened to you that you are at work and you're thinking of what you would eat and then when you are eating, you are busy thinking of your relationship and when you're with your partner, you are busy thinking of work.
Get back into your body!
The past clamor for your attention too, maybe you have messed up in the past, so it's best to keep your failures fresh in mind so you don't repeat them eh? Nope
Time traveling in your head does nothing but bury you in misery. Learn to live in the here and now. And yeah I'm giving you the overused advise.
Start meditating! It's for your own good. When you are fused with the present moment, you will be happy, it's your anxiety about the future and the regrets of the past that rubs you of the beauty of this present moment.
4. Give someone something
Let's go fact digging for a little while.
In a 2006 study, Jorge Moll and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health found that when people give to charities, it activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection, and trust, creating a “warm glow” effect. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins in the brain, producing the positive feeling known as the “helper’s high.”
Another research shows that giving increase resilience to chronic disease and the life span of elderly people. And even if you throw all those benefits away.
Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give.
Giving makes you connect with others and most importantly, with gratitude. You realize that your life is not that bad, that you are enough after all.
You will realize you've been deluded all these while.
5. Read or watch something inspiring
I learnt this from a guy named James Altucher and it has stuck with me since.
Let's face fact; most of our lives are not necessarily designed for fun. We work, chat, eat, sleep and watch TV and all our friends are not necessarily funny comedians themselves. So at times no matter how willing we are to laugh, the opportunity doesn't show up.
This is why you should deliberately seek out laughter by watching comedy or going to a stand up or reading a funny and inspiring book. It is a perfect cheat and in a few minutes you'll be laughing and alive!
6. Connect with the beauties
"You are the average of the five people you most associate with,"
Around 20 year of age or so psychologist discover that people believe their personalities had matured and can't change any more - you can't reach an old dog new tricks. However latest research by Psychologist Dan Gilbert burst this myth that we don't change.
Fact is we never stop changing. No matter how old you are, you are a different person five years ago. This is because we are make up of habits, beliefs and routines.
As you change your beliefs and habits, you change who you are and your motivation and behavior changes. The reason I'm stating this is that your friends matter a lot.
Those you associate with influence your beliefs, wisdom, habits and routines. Your friends and environment decides what you do - your habits and eventually what you become.
You can never be happy if your friends are super negative and chronic time wasters. This is why you need to connect with the beauties!
Gorgeous people who are happy and taking their lives somewhere. Those who would love you to be happy and successful, and won't be jealous and clamoring to bring you down when you succeed.
Yes. Surround yourself with those people.
Thanks for reading.