Eight Ways To Think Yourself Happy
Are you happy? Do you want to be happier than you are now?
Here’s the good news: Happiness is the direct and unavoidable result of the correct application of those principles that produce it. By discovering the principles upon which happiness is predicated, we will predictably experience more of it.
The principles of happiness can roughly be divided into one of the following 4 categories. This post covers the first one.
#1: Thinking Happy
#2: Believing Happy
#3: Doing Happy
#4: Living Happy
Following are 10 ways of habitually thinking that is guaranteed to add joy to your life. The key to greater happiness, however, is to move these ten ways of thinking from the level of technique to the level of what you might call a habit of thought.
This will require a driving hunger to improve your life, the persistence to see the habituation of new ways of thinking and a lot of work. But it is achievable. And the results will be well worth the sustained effort.
1. THINK POSITIVELY
It seems that positive thinking has come under fire a bit from some quarters lately. But much of the criticism has positive thinking mostly wrong. It is not so much the recitation of affirmations that fly in the face of reality, as much as rigorous retraining of the mind and attitude to learning to see things in brighter hues.
Positive thinking, in a word, is a learned trait. We can improve how positively we see the world by choosing what aspects of it to focus our attention on. The rewards of such an effort are life-changing.
2. THINK OPTIMISTICALLY
Optimism is the belief that things will work out, that there is a bright tomorrow lurking around the gloomy corner. It is faith and hope in action. It is proactively doing in the face of obstacles because of the faith you have that you will be able to overcome those obstacles. Practical optimists believe in a brighter future. They have confidence that things will work out … in part because they then take steps to create that future and work things out.
Note: Optimism and positive thinking are often used interchangeably. But there is a difference. Where positive thinkers see the blue sky around the cloud, an optimist sets up a picnic expecting the cloud to blow away. A practical optimist sets up the picnic beneath an awning … just in case!
3. THINK CREATIVELY
Learn. Expand your mind. Read broadly. Travel, if you can. Expose yourself to other cultures and ideas. Challenge your thinking. Don’t get intellectually lazy. An active, engaged mind is a happy mind … and a more creative one. Fostering creative thinking is difficult to do in a vacuum.
And, frankly, positive thinking requires some creativity. I can complain about the rain for ruining my plans, or I can use my imagination to come up with something even better.
Creative thinking can lead to creative ways to overcome problems and to create a life that impassions and excites you.
4. THINK PERSPECTIVE
There are different ways of changing your perspective in ways that positively affect your happiness. One way is to see the trials of life through the lens of other people’s difficulties.
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t advocate comparing yourself to others. And in truth, I’m not really doing that here either. Rather, it’s more a broadening of your perspective, seeing your life and your problems within a larger contextual picture. Come check out the video clip linked here (introduced to me by my new friend) to see what I mean. This is a MUST see!!! (but be sure to come back and finish reading this article … and leave a comment … and subscribe … and share on your favourite social media … and send me money … and, well, never mind)
5. THINK PURPOSIVELY
Choose your thoughts; don’t let them choose you! Think with purpose and direction, with a plan in hand and a destination in mind. The more thought you put into the things in your life that matter most, the more effective you will likely be at creating the life you would love to live. Lazy, wandering daydreaming leads to nothing but less time to do what can lead to amazing opportunities. A mind left to wander on its own often gets filled with thoughts that pool at the lowest points of the moral landscape. Instead, learn to choose what you will think about. Fill your amazing mind with amazing ideas. And then think creatively about them.
6. THINK ELEVATED THOUGHTS
We are dual-natured. We can think small, angry, self-serving thoughts that are cynical, lustful, prideful, fearful, boastful, resentful, condemning, judging, greedy, shrinking thoughts. Or we can think with and about thoughts of nobility and honour and love and graciousness and humility and forgiveness and gratitude and faith and trust and benevolence. I’ll leave it to you to decide which list of thoughts will produce a happier life.
Thinking kind thoughts about people, for example, simply feels so much better than thinking hateful or critical thoughts about them. And yet we spend so much time judging others, talking about them behind their backs, speaking foul things in foul ways about aspects of their lives we know little about. It serves us nothing, but to damage our relationships and the sense that our existence makes the world a better place.
So stop the gossip. Stop backbiting. And learn to see the best in others, to wish the best for others, to think the best about others. You do, after all, hope others will do as much for you!
7. THINK FUNNY
Developing a good sense of humour is essential to happiness. Laughter is truly the best medicine to a melancholy life, especially when life throws you a curve ball or two. So go and find your funny bone! Especially important is being able to find the humour in life’s challenges and missteps and not taking yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and at your own idiosyncrasies and shortcomings. You will feel happier for it!
8. THINK SOLUTIONS
Things of the mind tend to grow larger with focus and attention – and our problems are just all too willing to accommodate that fact. So starve your problems and feed the growth of solutions to them instead.
Rather than worrying about your difficulties (which does nothing to improve circumstances, but lots to expand the size of the problem in our minds — and the stress associated with that expansion), spend your time and energy thinking of possible solutions to the difficulty you are having instead — or of ways to prevent the potential problem from ever developing in the first place!