This article, by Sumitha, was originally featured on Pick The Brain
Your life is good. Just look at the “world news” section of any news site and you’ll know its true.
And yet, there is this undercurrent of discontent, unhappiness and sadness that underscores your life as you go about your day.
How is it that people in much nastier circumstances than you seem to be so much happier? Are you cursed, or are they onto some kind of a secret that you aren’t privy to?
Well, it turns out to be something far more basic than that.
Over the course of your life, you have unknowingly developed a few bad habits that are keeping your happiness at bay.
No, you are not a bad person and you certainly aren’t a masochist. What you are doing is not intentional — you probably don’t even realize it!
But here’s the thing. Once you recognize these habits, you can quite easily change them. And be on your way to a beautiful life filled with happiness, just the way you dream of it.
Here are the 7 habits that happy people DON’T have, and how you can break out of them.
1. Over-analyzing and Negative Thinking
When something goes wrong, do you keep worrying about why it happened and what it means? Perhaps you blame yourself, or blame others? How can you be happy with all that going on?
Accept that life is not perfect. Stuff happens. It doesn’t really matter why, or who’s responsible. Live in the moment and silence the negative committee in your head.
2. Taking Things for Granted
No matter how little you have, you always have something to be grateful for. When you take things for granted, they lose their magical powers to bring you joy.
Count your blessings. No, not in a figurative sense, but in a literal sense by maintaining a gratitude journal or saying a daily “Thank You” prayer.
3. Comparing Yourself to Others
The problem with this is, you tend to compare your worst with their best. No matter how you slice it, you can’t come out ahead.
The only fair comparison is to compare yourself to an older version of yourself. Watching your own progress can be a great motivator and a great source of true happiness.
This one is pretty self explanatory – when you have things you need to get done, and they hang over your head like a sword, how can you be happy?
Make a to-do list. Prioritize it and focus on checking off the one thing at the top. Rinse, repeat. If something lingers on the list for too long, abandon it and move on.
Media sells us the vision of happiness as lying on the beach with a margarita in you hand and nothing better to do. No doubt, its a fun vision. But how long do you think you can do it?
Happiness doesn’t come from lazing around and doing nothing! We humans are rigged to derive joy from our accomplishments. Work hard and the fruits of your labor will bring you the happiness you seek.
6. Prioritizing Work Ahead of Relationships
On the flip side, some people just work, work, work. Yes, work is important, but not at the cost of things that are more important.
The simple truth is that we are social beings. While you need to work for the sense of accomplishments, you need to nurture your relationships so you have a joyous place to come home to!
7. Seeking Happiness in Material Possessions
If you think that a new car, or TV or house will make you happy, think again. Can that happiness really last through life’s ups and downs?
More important than any material possession is your sense of self worth. Closely at heels is your health and relationships. Focus on these and you will do far better than chasing after “stuff”.
This is not the first article you’ve read which tells you how to be happy. This won’t be the last. The question is, what do you do with it? I challenge you to pick one habit from this list and start changing it right now. Just commit to it for a week and see what a difference it makes. Are you in?
P.S. Calling all Parents Who Read Pick the Brain
You already read great personal development sites like Pick the Brain to become a better person. What if you can get together with other like-minded parents and hack habits to become a better parent?