“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy‘. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life” – John Lennon.
“Life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it” – Lou Holtz
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Happiness is a universal concept. All of us seek to build a life that gives us joy and satisfaction. However, the pursuit of happiness has never been an easy endeavor. At times, it may even feel like life is conspiring to make us unhappy.
There is some truth to that. Throughout history, human beings have fought to survive and flourish on earth. We’ve struggled to overcome hunger, fear, cold, heat, loneliness and loss of life. And while we as a species have definitely made huge progress over the centuries, happiness can still elude us as individuals.
A Handbook on How to Be Happy
So what would an Ultimate Guide on How to Be Happy look like? Of course, nobody can guarantee you happiness, just like they cannot guarantee you love or respect. But there are certainly concrete steps people can take in order to improve their levels of happiness. The Fabulous app relies on behavioral science, as well as established practices in the fields of psychology and sociology. So any guide we might assemble would take into account sound scientific principles and research that has proven effective over the years.
Having said that, every person reading this guide will be experiencing a different level of happiness. Some of you are surely enjoying progress in life, but still seeking ways to improve it. Others of you might be in a slump and require a complete reset.
So let’s start with the basics. This guide will begin with the simplest, most important steps you need to take to get going on your journey towards lasting happiness. There will be a timeline suggested in terms of days, months and years, but remember, everybody transforms at their own pace. As you read this guide, you’ll also come across certain rules. These are habits or routines that need to be established in order to climb up the ladder of happiness. Now that you’re all caught up, let’s start, shall we?
Build the mental habits you need to spread your wings and take flight! Start “The Art of Stoic Living” Journey on the Fabulous app!
Step 1. Get Some Sleep
The easiest way to start feeling better is by getting a lot of good quality sleep. Don’t scoff at the idea of sleeping! Several hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep is the body’s ultimate tool for recovery. If you are hurt, sleep helps you heal. If you are angry, sleep helps you calm down. Or, if you are drunk, sleep helps you get sober.
So don’t underestimate this biological function. Learning how to be happy is a gigantic, prolonged task, which means you need to be rested and ready for battle. For now, simply make sure you get some sleep.
Do you toss and turn in bed at night, and wake up tired and grumpy? “A Fabulous Night” Journey will help you get quality sleep every night, so that you wake up rested and ready to go!
Step 2. Go for a Walk
Once you wake up, go outside. Don’t worry that you don’t have the right clothes or footwear or fitness levels. All you have to do is go for a 15 to 30-minute walk. If possible, walk toward the cleanest, greenest, quietest area nearby.
Step 3. Grab a Healthy Breakfast
You might have perfectly healthy food at home. But if you are unhappy in life, chances are the food you’re consuming isn’t as nutritious as it should be. So go to the nearby grocery store, and pick up something simple yet healthy.
If you are looking for a way to get started with exercise, try the “1-Minute Just Get Moving!” session from the app’s Make Me Fabulous section.
How to Be Happy: Week One
Step 4. Sleep, Walk, Eat, Repeat.
Over the course of the first week, simply focus on three things. Get at least seven to eight hours of good quality sleep. Create a routine that allows you to sleep and wake up early. There is no need to jump out of bed and rush to a gym. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Your body needs to adjust to the change, and walking for half an hour every day will build up your levels of optimism and resolve. Lastly, plan your meals. Try to eat food that is fresh and filled with nutrients. Cut out or drastically reduce any junk food.
Here are the first three rules for attaining happiness:
Rule 1: Sleep Well
Over time, aim to develop and refine your “sleep hygiene”. These involve behaviors and routines that allow you to enjoy consistent, good quality sleep. Cutting caffeine consumption, eliminating the use of electronic devices before sleeping and ensuring a healthy diet are just some of the ways to ensure you get the rest you need.
Rule 2: Exercise
The goal is to make exercise a natural and necessary part of your daily life. So don’t seek out the toughest, most effective exercise designed to achieve specific short term targets. Instead, ease into and consistently cement a routine that feels most beneficial. Remember that there are plenty of ways to exercise, and everyone has different preferences. You just need to discover and develop yours!
Rule 3: Eat Healthily
Start learning about nutrition and how you can best achieve a balanced diet. Knowing how to cook simple yet healthy meals will be a huge asset in life. Don’t be overwhelmed by any of it though; the goal is to constantly improve eating habits, not to start right away with perfect ones.
How to Be Happy: Week Two
By now you’ve hopefully established a routine. Your energy levels are up, and you’re looking for ways to move forward. Take that enthusiasm, and redirect it…to your room!
Step 5. Clean Your Room
True happiness may come “from within”, but your immediate surroundings definitely play a big role. Research has proven time and again that our living space affects our mood. It’s not a coincidence that unhappy people tend to live in an unclean, cluttered environment.
So make a plan to declutter your bedroom. The aim is to live in a space that’s well lit, organized, clean and even uplifting. Once you eliminate the negatives, you can slowly experiment with ways to brighten your living environment. Placing plants, painting walls in different colors, and lighting scented candles are just a few of the possibilities.
Rule 4: Live in the Light
Where and how you live has a huge influence on your state of mind. Cleaning up your room is simply the first step. Slowly, you’ll start expanding the radius of your concern. Do you live in a noisy apartment? In a shady neighborhood? Is there fresh air and greenery available nearby? Are you excited and satisfied by the lifestyle in your area, or scared and depressed? As things get better, you’ll be able to slowly improve living conditions, by aiming for cleaner streets and greener parks, safer apartments, and nicer neighborhoods. It’s a lifelong process, but it all starts with making your bed!
How to Be Happy: Month Two
By now you are well-rested, ready to step up your level of fitness training and starting to see the physical and mental changes that have come from a better diet and home environment. Life is starting to look more optimistic, so what’s the next move?
Step 6. Love, Learn or Leave Your Job
What we do for a living greatly influences our life. Our jobs affect our health, social circle, financial ability, geographic location, and mental well-being. Therefore, if you are unhappy, examine your professional life.
Do you love your job? It’s okay if you don’t because not everyone can. If what you do is not something that really excites you, it’s time to make the best of the situation. So learn about your job. Which means, strive to become better at it. If you take the time to understand your profession, and the effort to improve your performance, one of two things will generally happen.
Either you will start to enjoy the job and feel genuinely motivated to go to work every day. Or you will become good at the job, which means you’ll get promoted and reap better financial benefits.
However, sometimes none of those things happen. Sadly, you might be stuck in a job that is terrible, doesn’t offer you any growth and won’t allow you to earn what you are worth. In which case you’ll have to consider quitting.
Obviously, this is not a decision that should be taken lightly. However, don’t let fear and your comfort zone stop you from doing what’s best for your future self.
Rule 5: Do What You Love; Love What You Do
Remember the goal is not to grab your dream job tomorrow. The goal is to move towards what makes you happy. It might not happen overnight. But if you put in the work, keep your ears open, watch out and learn what’s needed, slowly but surely you’ll reach a job that brings you more happiness.
Step 7. People Who Pull You Up, Not Down
This step goes hand in hand with the earlier one because more often than not, our jobs determine our social life. Changing or improving your job will also allow you to redefine your interpersonal connections. Our friends and family can influence our mental and emotional state, so beware of energy vampires. Reflect on your daily interactions, and slowly take steps to cut out those individuals who are just too toxic.
In extreme situations, some people simply pack up and move to a new city. But that doesn’t have to be the case with you. Perhaps it’s just a matter of breaking away from a dishonest friend or avoiding a co-worker who drains you of your energy. The aim is to do what’s best for your emotional well-being.
Rule 6: Nurture Fulfilling Relationships
Human beings crave physical and emotional intimacy. It’s part of our biological design. So it’s crucial to take the time and effort to cultivate relationships. That might mean improving your personality, contributing your time and effort, and making sacrifices for the sake of family, friends and a partner. Do not ever feel compelled to assimilate into a group, however. A genuine relationship will bloom if you put in the effort and give it time. As long as you treasure the bonds that are being strengthened, you will experience growing happiness.
How to Be Happy: Year Two
You’ve spent the past year taking care of your health through sleep, exercise, and diet. Going to work no longer fills you with misery. You’re spending time with friends and family. You might even be falling in love! So what’s next?
Step 8. Pass It On
A really productive and ultimately satisfying way to spend your leisure time is by helping others. Now that you are fitter, happier and less stressed about work, consider volunteering for a good cause. Rope in your loved ones as well, and you’ll have combined two great activities in one: enriching relationships and enriching your soul.
So contact your local dog shelter, or offer to volunteer at the nearby soup kitchen. There are countless ways to help. And sadly, countless people who need it.
Rule 7: Gaining By Giving
Even though cultures throughout history have known it to be true, there is scientific research that proves helping others makes us feel good. Making a difference in another human being’s life will bring you great joy and satisfaction. There’s another benefit as well, though. Sometimes when you help someone who is suffering, you realize how small your troubles really are. Reminding yourself about what others lack, rather than what you do, is a great way to become more charitable and grateful as well.
Sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective when it comes to life. Try “The View from Above” meditation session from the app’s Make Me Fabulous section to experience your smallness!
How to Be Happy: Lifetime
True and lasting happiness in life is achieved through three main sources:
As said above, your physical condition affects your level of happiness. So make sure you take up lifelong habits that will help you maintain your body.
Our thoughts are influenced by our actions, surroundings, and experiences. Once you’ve adopted the steps and rules that’ll help you stabilize your mind, be on the lookout for ways to tweak things. Maybe you’ll discover a song that cheers you up. Or a flower that brightens your room and mood. Like a gardener, tend to your thoughts with tools both big and small.
And this is the last, perhaps most difficult yet ultimately lasting way to ensure happiness. Once you’ve rejuvenated your body and rehabilitated your mind, there is a quest you have to set out on. You have to find out what your purpose is. Eating healthy will keep you alive, and earning a living will allow you to grow, but they’re both just stepping stones to understanding what you want to be. You cannot be defined by your exercise routine or your diet. Not even by the friends you have or the work you do. All of those things can be changed.
Step 9. Discover Yourself
This is not meant to happen in a year, or even five. This is simply the North Star on your journey through life. Once you’ve taken the above steps and followed the required rules, you’ll be equipped for this lifelong voyage.
Embark on “The Purpose-Driven Life” Journey in the Fabulous app to build the habits that will allow you to realize your potential!