21 Ways To Be A Happier You

Happiness is a state of mind. Sadly, all of us define attempt to triumphs/accomplishments that will make us happy. We tell ourselves that we will be happier when we get our job promotion. We persuade ourselves to think that life will be better when we get married and complete our family. Once this is achieved, we try to believe happiness will be ours only after the children are professionally settled and so on. We thus spend our lives waiting to be happy sometime in the future. Little do we realize that there is no better time to be happy than Right Now. Remember, life will continue to be full of challenges-we cannot let our triumph over these challenges determine our happiness.

Here are 21 simple and straightforward practices that will put you on the road to happiness:

1. Smile Frequently: We usually smile when we are happy. Studies prove that the converse is also true: smiling can actually make us feel better and help us to see the lighter side of things. Certainly, a smile makes us approachable.

2. Be Content: Happiness is nothing but the ability to be content. It has little to do with what we possess materially. It has even lessto do with achieving your self-determined goals in life. Content­ment comes from enjoying life as we live it-hurdles and all from day to day. See what you have, not what you lack. Secondly, limityour wants and needs. Our desires are insatiable, be it clothes, furniture, jewellery. As soon as one desire is fulfilled, another desire awakens. Limiting our desires will help us focus on things that we already have.

3. Live In The Present: At any time during the day, pull yourself up. Try to recall what you were thinking for the past 10 minutes. It is very likely that you were either dwelling on past problems how the other person was nasty to you or outsmarted you, etc) or worrying about future concerns in your life we may not have our job, our children may not get admission in good schools and so on). Such thoughts leave us anxious and frustrated, and de­pressed. They take our minds off whatever we are doing and do not let us enjoy the present. Remember, "Now" is the only time we have and the only time that we have control over. Practice keep­ing your attention on the "here and now" .

4. Plan Things You Can Look Forward To: Living life the same way everyday is boring. We need to sustain interest in our lives by doing new things. So, surprise your hubby with a tasty candle­light dinner one evening. Go out with your friends for a picnic lunch. Book tickets for a movie you have been wanting to see for a long time. If you sleep late every Sunday, try going for an early morning walk with your hubby, and have tea at a corner cafe.

In short do anything that takes you away from routine and gives you something to look forward to-in the evening, the next day, over the weekend, or any time in the future.

5. Don't Try To Compete With Your Neighbours: Most of us share a common tendency. It is that we compare ourselves with otherpeople and their status or compare our accomplishments with those of others. When we feel short of successes, we work harder and push ourselves beyond the limit. Life thus begins and ends as a struggle to 'prove ourselves". Jealousy takes a heavy toll on us. It hurts, confuses, angers, depresses, humiliates, builds up stress, and leaves us feeling inadequate and inferior.

6. We Are What We Are:The Truth is: We are what we are. We cannot be someone else. There is no point envying another's perfect figure, looks, wealth etc. Learn to accept yourself Everyone of us has a unique strengths and challenges. Identify yourself, set goals for fulfilling your dreams and get going!

7. It Is As It Is: However else youmay wish it, it is as it is. A mistake has been made, a plan has been delayed, something has been broken and you cannot change it. All you can do is: accept it and go on with life considering the unforeseen twist of events. Optimism means turning something that seems all bad into something good. Research shows that optimism lowers stress, which in turn, decreases the risk of heart disease. Optimism can make us smile and be content and happy.

8. Unclutter Your Home: Clutter is the other name for chaos, confusion, muddle, jumble and contributes greatly to our irritability and annoyance. So avoid cluttering your cupboards, rooms, home with extra unwanted things. It prevents us from accessing useful things when we need them, thereby generating stress and frustration. So keep your home organized and clean.

9. Don't Procrastinate: When we keep jobs pending, especially the ones we don't like for some reason, we live under stress. Whatever else we maybe engaged in, these jobs constantly nag at us in the back of our minds. So, get going. Resolve to complete all pending jobs today. Moreover, first complete jobs that you particularly don't like to do. The anticipation of finishing jobs that you enjoy doing later will keep you going even through the earlier, not so enjoyable ones.

10. Keep Things In Perspective: We usually live our life as if it were one big emergency. Whether it is being late for a meeting, a

messy room, garbage thrown by the neighbours, a barking dog, a traffic jam, irritable kids, we usually tend to overreact. We shout, we rave and may irrevocably damage our relationship with our domestic help, our colleague, our neighbour, or anyone else in­volved. At the end, we are in a bigger mess. So, accept life's quirks as they come, put things in perspective and become hap­pier.

11. Get In Touch With Old Friends: Carrying on with life, we occasionally remember cherished friends, dear colleagues, and old neighbours from our yesteryear. We keep them in thought. So, take the initiative and dig up old diaries, look up their numbers and do invite them over. Meeting dear old ones de-stresses us and makes up for all irritants and setbacks in our life.

12. Take Out Time For Yourself: Every minute we are busy doing something or the other. How many of us take time out to be absolutely alone with our own self? Being alone give each one of usbreathing space that we need. Yes, even from our spouses. Being alone gives us a chance to think quietly. It helps us ponder overthings that we would like to do and dreams that we would like to realize. It enables us to be at peace with ourselves and makes us happier.

13. Create a peaceful environment: When we live and work in a properly arranged environment, it is much easier to develop and maintain a positive attitude. Make the surroundings restful En­sure optimal lighting and temperature. Keep the rooms clutter free; put in comfortable furniture. Bring in plants, music, and whatever else that keeps you relaxed. When we are calm and at peace our pulse rate and blood pressure decrease, our muscles relax. This helps us to concentrate better on the job at hand. A job well done-be it cooking, cleaning, or office work-brings with it a sense of achievement and elation.

14. Be Less Reactive: Your kid did not clear up her plate after dinner. The driver in the car on your left swerved too close to you, the bank clerk was being too slow. Do not get bothered and react in the expected manner. Let it pass. At all costs do not shout whatever the provocation. Anger makes it impossible for you to think rationally. Moreover, a reactive person who shouts is a real  turn off for others. Note that being non-over reactive does not let -'any,stress build up in you. You remain more focused on the job at hand.

15. Bring Humour Into Your Life: By choice, have occasions that make you laugh happily into your day. Share jokes with your family, watch a humorous film, and tell your colleagues funny incidents. In short, anything that will amuse you and others around you.

16.Accept People As They Are Even Your Spouse: If only my husband would help with some chores in the morning. If only mychildren would remember to lower the TV volume, things can be different. We expect everyone to change according to our point of view. Obviously when this does not happen, we are disillusioned and we keep complaining. This brings negativity into our relationship with these people. Do accept people as they are. Once others see your unconditional love for them, they will try their best to do things that will please you.

17. Be Grateful: Begin by noticing in what way you are dependent on others-your family, your friends, relatives, neighbours, andeven people who serve you such as servants, shopkeepers and soon. Let them know that you genuinely appreciate all that they dofor you. While there may certainly be differences with them, gratitude will enable you to appreciate, rather than struggle against those differences. Remember, gratitude, inner peace, and happiness go hand in hand.

18. Stop Blaming Others: We always believe that if anything has gone wrong with things, it must be someone else's fault. In life, others are responsible for our frustration, stress, and unhappi­ness. This means that we do not control our life: our frame of mind is dependent on the actions and behavior of others. For a change hold yourself responsible for your happiness, for your circumstances, for your life. This will put you in charge of your happiness.

19. Make Someone Else's Day Happier: Everyday, resolve to so atleast one thing that will make someone other than you happy. It may be as small a thing as buying milk for your neighbour or giving away a frock for your maid's daughter or giving up yourseat in the bus for a woman with a child. These little, often unno­ticed acts of kindness, will fill you with warmth that will glow inside you all day long and before long, become your way of life. More importantly, don't talk about the good deed to anyone athome, workplace or elsewhere.

20. Tell Your Family And Friends That You Love Them: We know that we love our family and friends, and they love us in return. Yet, we are at times too shy or too stiff to utter them to thepeople we love. Don't hesitate, Say what you feel to your loved ones and you will be filled with an inner peace and confidence on hearing them say the same words to you.

21. Keep A Diary: Always keep a diary and pen with you. Make a habit of writing down all the good things that happen to you during the day. By writing down about the precious moments of your life, they become a part of our lives. The positive feeling comes back whenever we revisit happy moments through our diary. So next time you are unhappy, remind yourself that you and you alone can make yourself happy.