Most people on the planet want to be happier. In the United States, only about one third of people told researchers that they considered themselves to be happy in 2011. This was down from 35% in 2009 and 2008. The good news is that with the proper happiness training, anyone can improve their level of contentment and happiness. You can be happier.
- You control your happiness. It really is as simple as deciding to be happy. How do you do this? Happiness coaches (yes, there is such a thing) tell people to focus on their positive thoughts and less on the negative ones. This does not mean you should beat yourself up when you have negative thoughts, everyone has them, but do not dwell on them. Recognize your negative thoughts for what they are and pay them as little attention as you can.
- Train your brain to focus on positive thoughts. Your brain is a lot like a muscle. You can use happiness training techniques to get it to produce more positive thinking and less negative. Like other habits, negative thinking leads to more. The opposite is true. Actively choose to focus on positive thoughts. The more you practice this, the more it will have an impact on your outlook and happiness level.
- Being positive is not the opposite of being realistic. If you look in the mirror and think, “I am fat.” That is just a negative thought that will lead to nothing good. If you, instead, tell yourself, “I need to lose some weight but I am working out and eating healthier,” you have changed a negative thought into a positive recipe for change and self improvement.
- Practice using the word “but.” You will need to practice this but you can change a number of negative thoughts into positive ones with the simple word, “but.” As with the case of wanting to lose weight, you can add that to a large number of thoughts. You can turn, “I will never get over this breakup” into “I will never get over this breakup but if I spend more time doing things I enjoy, maybe I will feel better.” That includes some action that you can do to feel better about yourself and your situation.
- Write about what you are thankful for. It has been found that the idea of gratitude is instilled in us when we are very young. It has been shown to start to develop in children between the ages of seven and ten. Many people find benefits from keeping a gratitude journal. According to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, people who wrote in these journals slept better. Good sleep can help make you happier. Gratitude teachers recommend keeping these journals as a way to remind you of what you are thankful for in your life. You do not need gratitude coaching to make a list of things you are grateful for.
- Use affirmations. You may or may not remember Stuart Smalley, the “Saturday Night Live” character. He used to look in the mirror and tell himself, “You are good enough. You are smart enough. Doggone it, people like you!” You may not realize it but you may do something like that every day, only you do the opposite. Many of us have mantras we tell ourselves every day but they are not positive. Spend some time being positive about yourself and your life. If you do not believe the positive affirmations, they can backfire so focus on the good things about you that you do believe.
- Surround yourself with positive people. There may be people or things in your life that trigger negative thinking. This may be hard but you need to cut these things and people out of your life, at least until you are feeling more content with yourself. Let’s face it, some people like being negative. That is their thing. They can be toxic to others. When you are working with an expert on happiness training or happiness coaching, you need to keep your boundaries between you and these toxic people and situations.
You can be happier with the proper work on happiness training. It is not hard and just takes some dedication.