In Part 1 of How To Be Happy, we talked about how the conditions that make people unhappy, even when they seem to “have it all”.
In this part, we’ll take a look at how to translate that unhappiness into happiness, right now.
So how do we get happy in this moment right now? Well, you’re in luck my friends.
Below are powerful concepts and practices for getting happy, right now.
1) Accept this Moment, Right Now.
Mostly unhappiness comes from a fundamental resistance to the current moment, your life and everything in it, as it is, right now.
The gap between what you think will make you happy and where you are, that you THINK isn’t making you happy, is the source of the unhappiness problem.
Even in the midst of sadness, anger or suffering, happiness can be accessed.
It’s the resistance to the circumstances happening right now. For instance, when my mother was dying I was very sad and scared.
However I found moments of happiness and joy by getting present, doing what needed to be done, realizing as hard as it was, that her passing was a unique time and that I better be present for it, as those moments will never come back again.
2) Stop Spending All Your Time Striving. The do more, have more, be more culture of the west leads to much achievement, with a low happiness quotient. This is known as striving.
We often think that if we just push a little bit more, try a little bit harder that happiness is just around the corner. It’s that hope for happiness that gets in the way of it, actually.
Ease off on yourself, and all you’re doing to “try to be happy”. That’s not to say you won’t work hard, however it’s not at the sacrifice of the current moment, which is where happiness lives.
As Rao says of conditional happiness “if I succeed, then life is wonderful. If I fail, life is no good, life sucks.”
This is the downfall of the conditional, striving attitude.
Work on developing a balance of hard work with acceptance and happiness will be much, much easier to experience regularly.
3) Focus on What You Can Do. Dr. Rao says this quite well in his TED Talk. “Actions are within your control. Outcome is outside your control.”
These are really the words of the serenity prayer. There is often much we can do.
Of course if there’s something you can’t do that is burning your soul out, go back to step one above.
4) Operate from your Values. This means finding what is important to you in moment to moment living. Is connection with others important?
Maybe it’s integrity. Or maybe it’s collaboration with others. Maybe it’s creativity and focused work on your own.
Spending time with the one you love, or your family. Whatever your values are, start teasing them out.
Value-focused living is amazing and once I found it, my happiness quotient tripled (at least). When times get rough, having solid values.
If you always do your best to act from what is important to you, the outcome matters far, far less. Everyday becomes a blast.
5) Discover your Passion and Purpose from within. Don’t follow the crowd. Follow your bliss and seek out what your heart desires. If you aren’t sure what this is, start exploring now.
6) Develop your Gratitude Muscle. If you haven’t started practice the art of being thankful and developing your attitude of gratitude, it’s time to ante up.
Whether it’s sitting down just to reflect on what your grateful for in the morning or evening, or even writing down affirmations about what you are glad to have in your life, just start doing something.
Near the end of the talk, Dr. Rao brilliantly states how the external world rearranges itself, miracles happen on a regular basis once you start living in the present moment, following your bliss, and live from your values.
Things that once seemed so difficult, start to become a breeze, because you take journeys that fascinate you (remember Step 5?), and are more interested in the journey than getting to the destination.
You do what you can, while accepting what you can’t change. Simple but not easy at first, though it gets much easier as you practice this new way of being.