Achieving real happiness is easy as 1, 2, 3 once you understand the true essence of this word. Discover the secrets of attaining happiness in this detailed guide covering the top tips for living a good life.
Are you aware of the ‘Happiness Myth’?
You might not know it directly. But the ironic part is that like millions of other people in the pursuit of happiness, you too probably believe it to be true. In fact, there’s a high chance that you are living the myth already.
But what exactly is the happiness myth? How can you ensure that you don’t fall victim to the false beliefs of attaining happiness? And how can you achieve real, long-lasting happiness anyway?
In the following article, we will help you find the answers to everything you need to know about achieving true happiness.
This comprehensive guide discusses scientifically-backed tips for living a good life and simultaneously provides valuable insights into what prevents people from living the life they dream about.
If you are ready to turn your life around for the better, take a deep breath – it’s time to get started!
Let’s begin by first understanding what being happier in life entails in the first place.
Debunking the Happiness Myth
The widely held (and incorrect) notion about happiness is that it comes through the fulfillment of your goals.
We are usually taught from a very young age that if we work hard and become successful, happiness will automatically follow.
Modern philosopher, psychology professor, and commentator, Jennifer M. Hecht, explains the misconception about happiness in her best-selling book The Happiness Myth: Why What We Think Is Right Is Wrong.
Hecht reveals how the modern economy is designed to thrive on people’s attempts to be happy in life. It misrepresents happiness because happiness simply isn’t good for business.
If you are happy with what you have, why would you need more?
Shawn Achor, known as one of the leading experts on the power of positive psychology, further highlights this concept in his research-based book, The Happiness Advantage.
Survey results show that a majority of Americans find it harder to enjoy free time than to stay busy at work.
This is because they are blindly following the preconceived notion that once they are successful, they will be happy.
If you think that you will achieve happiness once when finally land your dream job, marry the love of your life, buy your own house and so on, stop right here! And think again.
Happiness never comes from achieving something or someone. It is a part of your essence. It is something that comes from within.
As Khalil Gibran artfully said:
“Happiness is a myth we seek,
If manifested surely irks;
Like river speeding to the plain,
On its arrival slows and murks.”
This illustrates that while you might enjoy a sense of wellbeing as you aspire and push forth towards achieving a goal, the fact is that the feeling eludes you when you finally do meet your target. You cool off and start longing for other distant goals.
And this cycle never ends. So, to be happy in the real sense, you need to break free from this cycle and adopt healthy habits that not just rectify this general attitude, but also help you live a happier, more fulfilling life.
Tips for Living a Good Life
Being happy in life is not as challenging as you might initially perceive it to be.
The following are some simple and easy-to-follow tips for living a good life that will raise your happiness level and help you stay cheerful even when things don’t go according to plan.
1. Eat Well
If you are thinking, ‘wait, what do my eating habits have to do anything with how I feel?’ you aren’t alone. Many people are completely unaware of the effect of food on mental health.
Good food and good mood go together hand in hand.
When you eat unhealthy food items, you might gain short-term pleasure, but at the back of your mind, you yourself are aware of the long-term damage it can cause.
On the other hand, adopting healthy eating habits improves your sense of wellbeing and encourages you to take better care of yourself.
Research shows that eating fresh fruits and vegetables serves as an instant mood booster because it has a therapeutic effect. Various naturally found compounds in fruits and veggies have antidepressant properties and are essential for better mental health.
Replace your store-bought snacks with homemade salads, smoothies, and other nutritious goodies and you will soon notice the benefits on your body as well as the soul.
You need to remember, you are what you eat. So, eat your way to happiness!
2. Disconnect From the Online World
All it takes is the click of a button – and social media sites help you get in touch with distant friends and family members anywhere and at any time.
But ironically, while social media has brought distant people together, it has also increased the distances between people at the same time.
Social media sites keep scrolling through the feeds idly for hours. You check your phone once every few minutes for a new message or update. You are constantly distracted by the buzz of notifications. And of course, eagerly anticipate getting the maximum number of likes on the post you just shared.
When you are so fixated on such things, your life tends to become more complicated than your Facebook relationship status.
Various studies reveal how excessive use of social media and an increased feeling of stress and anxiety have a positive correlation.
Recall the last time you saw a picture of your friend cruising at the Bahamas and wished you were there rather than sulking at your office desk.
If you preoccupy yourself with what others are doing in their lives and sharing on social media, you lose focus on your own goals.
You end up comparing yourself with others and this ultimately leads to low self-esteem, depression, inattention, and hyperactivity.
Put simply, one of the top tips for living a good life full of happiness is to limit your use of social media.
Don’t worry about being out of touch. Your true friends would know how to contact you nonetheless.
On a side note, when you come across something on social media that makes you feel like your life is less than perfect; remind yourself that no one posts their failures online.
3. Log In to the Real World
When you have successfully learned how to disconnect yourself from social media, consider logging in to the real world to utilize the free time in the best possible manner.
And the best way to do so is to go out for a walk whenever you get time.
Be it a cold winter morning or a warm sunny day, let nothing stop you from taking a stroll outdoors.
Incorporating brisk walk or jogging into your daily routine not only brings in multiple health benefits but also plays an important role in determining your happiness level.
Research has shown that traveling to work on foot can actually boost productivity as it aids concentration and keeps you energized for the rest of the day.
If your workplace is relatively too far to walk, consider cycling to the office instead. This helps you connect with nature as you stay more attentive to your surroundings. Plus, the smell of the air and the rush of wind that you feel when out under the open sky can alleviate stress and increase mindfulness.
4. Use the Power of Kawaii
This step may sound weird to many people, but like all other tips for living a good life covered in this article, this one is also backed by scientific research.
Kawaii is a Japanese word that literally means cute.
According to Japanese researchers, looking at pictures of cute animals like kittens and puppies or surrounding yourself with similar cute items such as stuff toys has the potential to make you feel happier.
This makes sense if you take a deeper look at the Japanese culture. You will come across many images of characters like Hello Kitty that evoke cute and childlike vibes. This is because these things produce positive feelings that help you increase focus and boost productivity. When you perform better, you feel better and this, in turn, improves your overall wellbeing.
It might not be something that your boss would be willing to hear. But using the power of kawaii is surely worth a try.
Don’t fret about what others might think and consider bringing a cute teddy bear at work. If that’s too mainstream for you, you can at least place a few adorable items on your desk instead. This can include a desk calendar with cute images of babies or any other stationery item that doesn’t scream ‘professionalism.’
5. Get Proper Night Sleep
Maintaining a proper sleep-wake schedule is highly important if you want to improve the quality of your life.
A lack of sleep not only makes you feel lethargic all day long but also reflects poorly on your mood. You are more susceptible to feeling sad and in most cases, angry for no apparent reason. Small things are more likely to irritate you.
When you are tired, minor problems seem like a huge hurdle and you might end up making a mountain out of a molehill. But that’s not all.
Scientists believe that getting a proper night’s sleep is essential because it helps you fight daily stressors and thus, stay in a cheery mood.
The Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep stage occurs just before you are about to wake up. During this time your brain is more active and processing things at an incredibly fast pace without you having the slightest hint.
When you force yourself to wake up before it is done sorting things out, you are inviting trouble for your own mental health.
Therefore, practice going to bed early so you can catch up with a decent 6 to 8 hours of sound sleep.
6. Embrace Life Wholeheartedly
Last but not least, the secret to living a good life is to embrace it wholeheartedly.
Ups and downs are a part of life. If you wait for things to get better in order to feel happier, you might just keep waiting forever.
As Dalai Lama said, ‘happiness is not readymade, it comes from our own actions.’
No matter what your current circumstances might be, reinforce the belief that you can be happy nonetheless. After all, happiness is all about energy.
Stressing over things will only attract more negativity in your life.
Accept the things for what they are, but continue to strive forward.
And if things get too overwhelming, don’t be hesitant to take a step back and relax if needed. Go for an outing with your friends or family or escape to a peaceful place all alone. Research shows that taking breaks, be it a micro or macro level, increases performance by having a positive effect on the person’s thought process.
Avoid over-thinking and stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone is on their own unique journey and you cannot become happy by trying to achieve what they have.
The experience of deep-rooted contentment and positive wellbeing will only come when you start appreciating what you already have.
Life is only as complicated as we make it be. These tips for living a good life provide easy to implement, road-tested measures that will help you feel happier and more successful.
To sum it up, living a happy and fulfilling life requires that you eat healthier, sleep well, and let go of unproductive habits. Avoid wasting time on social media and do something fruitful such as exercising or meditating. Self-care is the first step towards living a quality life. So, become your own best friend today!