3 Simple Actions You Can Take to Get Happy & Stay Happy
By Curtis Aiken.
If you dislike the food in a local restaurant, would you continue to go there until you liked the food or would you go somewhere else, where you do like the food? If you choose a different restaurant would this mean you are running away from your problems and are missing out on an opportunity to learn how to find happiness in a place that makes you unhappy? Probably not, and is it any different in life? Do we really have to remain somewhere that makes us unhappy?
I once heard someone say that happiness comes from an external stimulus whereas bliss a natural state of being. Bliss is a state in which something or nothing can be happening around you and you remain peaceful and feel good. I have many, many miles to walk in this journey called life and I learn something new with every step, but from where I’m standing in this point in time, it seems to me that we cannot easily find bliss within unless we are predominantly in environments that assist us with being blissful. This means to me that even our state of bliss is at least partially derived from our subconscious interpretation of our external circumstances.
Therefore, to me, happiness and blissfulness are essentially both the same thing. This may not ring true for Buddhist monks and the like, but I am a regular guy who is not living in a monastery secluded from the world. If bliss really was only found within and was really as easy to obtain as giving away all our worldly possessions and meditating for the rest of our days on earth, surely everyone would be doing it.
It takes courage to choose happier circumstances.
Today as I write this I can honestly say I am more consistently happy than I have ever been in my life, but I didn’t find my happiness just by being happy on the inside and putting up with the environment I was in that made me unhappy. I stepped closer to this place of happiness by walking away from places that were not aligned with who I really am on the inside. To believe we need to remain in situations that make us unhappy so we can learn to find happiness ‘within’ is simply not true – it’s not true to me anyway. It takes courage to choose happier circumstances.
I stopped eating animal products when I discovered how most animals are treated, whether they are kept for their milk or eggs or are destined for a slaughterhouse. I was so angry. I hated everyone from the farmers to the abattoir workers to the delivery men driving the trucks full of meat. One day, I got tired of feeling such stress and hatred, so I stopped watching animal cruelty documentaries, I stopped reading books about why people should be vegan and I stopped reading articles in newspapers about campaigns by the RSPCA and PETA and other groups. I especially avoided their adverts showing abused animals.
Am I opposing these organizations? No. Am I supporting the exploitation of animals? No way. Am I trusting that others will reduce their consumption of animal products by seeing how healthy and energetic I am from eating a plant-based diet? Yes, but that is not the point of this story. I didn’t find happiness in my heart while I stared at images of abused animals. I found happiness when I looked at images of loved animals or better still when I cuddled my own dogs.
So why is it so hard to be happy and maintain it?
The answer I came up with that makes sense for me and possibly for everyone else who doesn’t live in a monastery is: We find it hard to maintain happiness within when we surround ourselves with environments that we dislike.
Did you ever notice that birds sing loudest after a storm? Why do people believe that they need to remain in the storm until they can sing? There’s a paradox in what I am saying because our happiness comes from our perception of our environment, not from the environment itself and our perception comes from inside of us. But while I think it is important to focus on the details that we like rather than the ones we don’t like, wouldn’t it be easier to be in an environment that we love so much that we don’t even notice the details that we don’t like? Why should we try to like a situation we instinctively know is not aligned with who we are when we could instead be in a situation that resonates with every cell in our body?
We find it so hard to get happy and maintain our happiness because we are only living in the conditions we wish to be in for a small portion of our lives – holidays usually. Not everyone is programmed to be a happy monk. If you took a stockbroker who is passionate about what he does and confined him to a monastery where he has to meditate for hours a day and eat rice and vegies, do you think he would learn to love it or learn to put up with it just as we have learned to put up with our jobs, relationships and other circumstances in our lives we dislike? Equally, would a monk find happiness internally if they were forced to work on the trading floor in a stock exchange building? More likely, the monk would escape and find his way back to the monastery. Reflection on this makes me think that the monk lifestyle is the perfect environment for people who find happiness being monks and living in simplicity. So, even monks find happiness with the assistance of the environment around them.
“Happiness is your natural state of being, so ‘be’ in environments that are aligned with your natural state.”
Are you happy 24/7? If not, when aren’t you happy? When you aren’t happy, are you focusing on the small percentage of the situation that you don’t like or is it more likely there is only a small percentage of the environment that you do like? Happiness is your natural state of being, so ‘be’ in environments that are aligned with your natural state.
Why is being happy so important anyway?
Good question, I am glad you asked. Actually, you probably didn’t ask because it is not the kind of question that can really be answered with words, it is something that we feel and know within ourselves and is somewhat obvious within ourselves even if we can’t put it in words.
To even try and answer that question all I can really say is this: When we are happy we think happy thoughts. When we are happy and think about things we want we think about those things in a good way and bring them in to our life. When we are unhappy and think about those same things we usually think about why we can’t obtain the things we wish to have and by doing this, we create the un-obtainment of those things in our life.
Simple steps you can take immediately to get happy and stay happy
Step 1: Get out of the environment you dislike as often as possible even if you can’t escape entirely right away. Take walks to a local park every day, phone a friend (a happy friend), find an activity you enjoy that takes your mind away from the environment you dislike, put headphones in and listen to happy music or even better, if possible, listen to lectures by the likes of Wayne Dyer and Anthony Robbins.
Step 2: Get clear on what you want. Find the journal you bought 6 months ago with good intentions, wipe off the dust and write down what you want in life. Forget being realistic according to your current situation, if you want a million dollars, write it down. “Dear diary, I want a dog and a boyfriend, make that a boyfriend with a dog and I want one of those little dog jackets that my dog and my new boyfriend will hate.” Write down more than just ‘stuff’, write down what environments make you happy such as the beach, tropical locations, banana palms, coconut trees and anywhere there is a (wo)man in uniform.
Step 3: Take action, just one step, toward what you desire. So you don’t overwhelm yourself and feel even more stuck, only once you have completed that step, take another.
If you still really feel stuck, talk to a friend about your ‘predicament’. Often it is easier to see the way out of someone else’s problems than it is to see the way out of your own. By asking a friend for their opinion on what you could do, gives you an insight into what is possible for you and you can address the situation without fear standing in your way.
Happiness is your natural state of being, so ‘be’ in environments that are aligned with your natural state.
Image Credit: Outlier*
Leave a comment below and let us know what situation you have walked away from which turned out to be the BEST thing for your happiness. Can you offer any other steps in addition to the 3 above that you have taken to get happy?
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