The other day I was thinking about my happiness and how far I’ve come in just a year. Even though I’ve been working on my personal happiness consciously for about 11 years, one year ago I was focused on many negative things in my life, and thanks to some small shifts, I am much more present and able to stop worrying about crap that hasn’t happened yet.
For example, one year ago, my happiness would have been greatly affected by my neighbor (she is a mean, old woman!). Just her coming out of her house would have had me picturing what she was going to do and my negative reactions to her actions. Of course, my imagination was always worse than what happened, and I normally wasted tons of time being unhappy for no reason!
A Lot Can Change In A Year…But Your Happiness Could Stay The Same
Actually things can change overnight. You could win the lottery, receive good news, or lose everything in a moment’s notice.
Your happiness doesn’t depend on what changes in your life physically, as in a new home, better car, loving partner, or a new job. No! Your happiness changes as your mindset, beliefs, and actions change.
In other words, in a year from now you could be in the exact same job, with the exact same friends, and living in the exact same place – but you could be a lot happier than you are right now.
Happiness doesn’t depend on external things. That is so important to remember!
Another way to look at it is like this: If you don’t develop your happiness in terms of mindset, beliefs, and actions, then you could win the lottery and still have the same level of happiness as you do now.
The Three Happiness Elements To Develop For A Happier You
From all of my writing and reading, I’ve come to realize there are 3 things that are really important. There are a ton of tools to help you develop these three things, such as meditation or positive affirmations, but no matter how you get there, these are the three things that need to develop, change, and grow in order for you to become happier.
1. Happiness Mindset
Positive and constructive thoughts go a long way in creating a happiness mindset. This is not about creating a fake world full of lollipops and sunshine, it is about having an optimistic attitude that serves your life and helps you move forward feeling good.
Research has proven that optimism is important to a healthy life, but you don’t need research to prove it. Find a pessimistic person and look at their overall health and happiness, I’m willing to be that it is lacking in some area. (I know many, many people like this!) If you look, you will see firsthand the optimistic people are happier than their pessimistic counterparts, no matter what is happening.
For me, positive affirmations have been the biggest tool to help me change my mindset to a more positive one. I no longer look at everything as crappy or against me; instead, I have developed a HUGE positive affirmation that everything happens to benefit my life and development , whether it is a rejection, setback, or even something as simple as bumping into a rude person. My mindset is focused on the fact that everything happens for a positive reason – to make my life better or to make me stronger – and that mindset has contributed to my happiness in a BIG way!
2. Happiness Beliefs
When I was younger I believed in a lot of stupid things.
Heck, even last year I believed in a lot of stupid things.
My happiness has changed drastically as I changed my beliefs. For instance, I used to believe that it was stupid for people to do certain things. I would make comments to other people about how stupid they were. I would think about how stupid they were. And, I wouldn’t be happy as I did so. Now, I really believe that everyone does the best they can, and that nobody is right or wrong – we are all just doing what we know to be right.
That belief has allowed me to be more compassionate towards people, and it has helped me to let go of what I think is right. I can tell you that when you think someone is stupid for wearing a certain outfit, you are affecting your happiness through that belief. You are judging, and that kind of action does not produce happiness – it produces bitterness, anger, and even hatred.
3. Happiness Actions
The last part of my happiness equation is actions. The way I act is a direct result on my happiness.
If I act in a hostile way, I feel hostile.
If I act in an angry way, I feel angry.
If I act in a kind way, I feel kind, compassionate, and loving.
If I act in a productive way, I feel productive.
I have made it a habit to choose actions that promote my happiness – even when they are tough. For instance, I know that I feel happiest when I am productive with my day. So, I choose actions during my day that help me get stuff done. A year ago, I would have been fine neglecting the things I needed to do, but I would have felt unhappy at the end of the day.
Note: I have changed over the year, but it took continuous work. For instance, I continuously had to remind myself that everyone does the best they can in life. The more I said it, the more I noticed it to be true, and the more it became a part of my belief system. Furthermore, I continuously had to take positive action on things that made me happy. The more I took action, the more it became a habit and the easier it got. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen!
Where Will Your Happiness Be In A Year From Now?
I know that if you work on improving your mindset, beliefs, and actions, your happiness will have increased.
Focus on changing and becoming the person you really want to be.
Focus on developing a more positive and loving attitude.
Focus on doing the best you can during every moment.
If you do those things, you will naturally start to find little ways to fulfill those desires and become happier. Your life will start to change slowly (it won’t necessarily be quick and apparent), but you will be amazed at how permanent those positive changes are.
All you have to do is desire happiness and start taking continuous action.