“Happiness consists more in conveniences of pleasure that occur every day than in great pieces of good fortune that happen but seldom.” – Benjamin Franklin
The comedian Jimmy Carr was asked in a recent interview, “Are you happy?”, to which he answered, “Yes. It’s a great question.” And it is a great question. Because what was meant by it was not, ‘are you happy today?’, it was ‘are you content with your life as it is?”
That’s all any of us want, right? To look at our lives as a whole and be content with them? It is something to aspire to. Perhaps the only thing. And not all of us manage it, so we should be so lucky. But also, how many of us sit and consider the question? Life is so fleeting and busy, do you ever sit down and contemplate how happy and fulfilled you actually are?
Well, if you do ever find a moment to have that contemplation, here are a few thoughts to ponder. Maybe you’ll be able to find the answer to the question.
1. You Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
When we are in a bad mood or are feeling unhappy overall, little issues tend to wind us up. Being irritable and blowing small issues out of proportion is a sign of bigger things going on with you. However, when you are happy and content, these niggles don’t, well, niggle at you so much. So your house is a little messy. Never mind. So you got caught in the rain. That’s OK, you’ll dry off eventually. So you missed that train. No sweat, there is another one coming in two minutes.
2. You Know What To Do To Cheer Yourself Up
Learning to be conscious of the self involves learning about how you react to situations, what triggers you and, perhaps most crucially, what makes you truly happy. Even a contented life has bumps in the road, but if you know how to visit your happy place, then you have a powerful tool, a key to keeping you in a positive place. I know that, if I am feeling down, an hour in the kitchen preparing food will calm me. I also know that exercise, going food shopping, or simply going outside are great ways to clear my head.
3. Other People Succeeding Makes You Happy
When we think we are not doing well, it is easy to resent the success of others. Sometimes we project our own disappointment in ourselves onto other people, as if displacing the blame for your apparent situation over to them. This is very human and perfectly common behaviour. When you are in a good place, and feeling happy about your life, this won’t happen. Indeed, you might even be happy for the success of others, and demonstrably praise them for it!
4. Being Self Critical Is No Problem
Being able to look at yourself honestly is important. When we are unhappy, many of us avoid looking at our own actions and behaviours in fear that opening a tin of worms will make an almighty mess. If you are in a place where you can self-criticise, and able to actively work on altering your own behaviour and outlook, then you are in a good place.
5. Contented by Little Things
Happiness is directly connected to contentment. When you are content, and your mind is at ease, you tend to find the time to notice the little details in your life, and to have the time to appreciate them. Your favourite song comes on, and you enjoy it and sing along. Perhaps you catch the sunset out of the kitchen window when you are washing up, so you turn the tap off and take a moment to look at it. You get excited about eating, taking your favourite route to work or sitting in your most comfortable chair.
6. Great Relationships
Human beings thrive on nourishing relationships. A happy life usually involves a range of relationships, all different, and all adding to the richness and growth of your continued existence. Think about the relationships that are important to you. If you have a supportive family, a nurturing partner and a range of diverse friendships and working relationships, then you might just be happy!
By Chris Thomson
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