Ten Paths To Happiness

ten paths to happinessSome people are just naturally happy but most are not. It has been said repeatedly that “happiness is an inside job” meaning that is up to us whether we are happy or not. But if you struggle finding happiness these ten paths to happiness might just help.

Ten Paths To Happiness

The funny thing is that some people might not even believe in happiness or that it is even possible. I know I used to be that way, thinking that maybe being content could be all that one could really ask for, hope for, and possibly expect. Happiness, in my mind was something that was reserved for a very precious few and if I ever thought that someone was really truly happy, I suspected that either something was wrong with them (crazy) or they were blind to the real workings, ways, and reality of the world (it is all messed up.)

Unbelievably, in my twenties I was actually that cynical… not only cynical, I was WRONG! Thank goodness!

Now I realize that being happy is really quite easy if being happy is what you want. I say it jokingly but there are really only two rules to being happy. Rule number one – decide to be happy. Rule number two – see rule number one!

Beyond those two rules here are ten paths to happiness that are guaranteed to up your happiness quotient. And these ten tips are not rocket science or nuclear physics either… anyone can be happy if they consistently do the following.

  1. Help Others – Helping others is one of the best ways to get out of yourself, get out of your own head, and have a positive impact in the world. Helping others is the truest win-win out there… other people benefit but you also benefit as well because you are going to just feel better doing it and afterwards. At the very least, helping others gives you a great chance to put things into perspective when it comes to your own life and realize just how great your life truly is.
  2. Exercise More – You don’t have to become a gym rat or an over the top marathon runner or anything like that but you do need to get out and move your body purposely every day… okay most days at least. Exercise increases the body’s oxygen intake which makes you feel better… exercise also releases all sorts of wonderful chemicals in the body that make you feel better as well. Exercise helps to relieve stress… If your body is strong(er) your mind will be strong(er) and a strong mind is typically a happy mind.
  3. Meditate – Okay, meditation can take on many forms. You can get all Zen-Buddhist like and meditate for days on end, or you can just find a quiet moment each day to quiet the mind and get control of the monkeys running amok in the circus within your head. Meditation is basically when you can not or do not hold onto a thought or fixate on one thing. For me, running is sort of my own form of meditation as thoughts come and go but never stick around… the brain relaxes as empties itself when I am on a long run.
  4. Eat Better – Simple math… if you eat better you are going to feel better. If you eat a ton of crap then guess what? Not going on a diet rant here but the quality of your diet is way more important than the quantity. The less processed the food is that you eat, the better you are going to feel. Period.
  5. Sleep Better – This is something that took me years to figure out myself. The better I sleep then the better I feel and the happier I am overall. Duh! You can’t stay up till 2:00 a.m. reading or doing whatever and wake up at 6:00 a.m. feeling great and ready to take on the world, joyfully. If sleeping better is a habit that you have to create for yourself the best way to do that is to start waking up ridiculously early so that when it is bedtime, you go to sleep like a baby, naturally. Bonus points when you start waking up and are rested BEFORE your alarm goes off. (Note: that is the BEST way to start a day!)
  6. Love Your Work – Are you making a paycheck or are you making a life for yourself? It does not matter what your station is in life, if you do not like what are doing everyday for 8-12 hours, life is going to suck regardless of how much they are paying you. Discover what is that you love and have the courage to go after that even if it is shoveling crap because shoveling crap is much more pleasant than swallowing crap, day in and day out, just to get a paycheck at the end of the week.
  7. Choose Your Company Wisely – If you hang out constantly with a bunch of negative and cynical types then chance are that you are going to be negative and cynical yourself. If you spend your time with folks who are positive and uplifting then that is what you will emulate. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with so choose those five carefully. And never be afraid to remove toxic people from your life if you need to.
  8. Feed Your Soul – Do the things that nurture your soul and your inner-self. Study philosophies, read, meditate, pray, go to church, or just hug and thank a tree. Strengthen your spirituality and that does not necessarily mean, “catching religion” but more so looking after the care, the feeding, and the nourishment of your evolution as a spiritual being… which you are – like it or not. “Religion is for people who’re afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who’ve already been there.” – Vine Deloria Jr.
  9. Practice Gratitude! – Start being more thankful for all that you have and worry less about what you think that you lack. I don’t believe there is anything as powerful or as effective as practicing gratitude to shift your mood, your emotions, your perspective, and your life. The bottom line is that giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.
  10. Accept It! – Accept people, things, and situations for exactly what they are. There are things in life that you can change or have an influence on and there things that you do not. MOST things in life are out of your control so acceptance is a huge key in securing not only inner-peace but happiness as well. No matter what is swirling around you in your external life, if you focus solely on the present moment and I mean exactly what is or is not going on right now you will find that everything is just fine… perfect actually. Accept life on life’s terms and stop fighting a struggle that you can never win, after all you can not make water flow uphill.

When you get right down to it, being joyful and happy is the ONLY reason that you are here. And given the choice between being miserable and being happy, why would any of us EVER choose the former over the latter? You are here to be happy… the world needs you to be happy, and we need you to share that with everyone around you.

Here is the deal… imagine that you are lying on your deathbed and “God” shows up just before you are to expire and starts wagging his finger in your face and he says to you, “You only had one job to do… to be happy.” So did you do that? It is somewhat funny if you think of it that way but it is the truth… You only have one job to do here and that is to be happy.

Like I have said… I think happiness is simple and easy, you just choose it. But if you need or needed a little more help, hopefully these ten paths to happiness will get you there!

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – A Certified Life Coach In Aspen Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten – 26 July 2013

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