In today’s world, with so much fighting, poverty and corruption, it is hard to have an optimistic outlook on life. Everything seems downright depressing if we stop to analyze it too much. And even though most experts agree that positive people are happier overall and, as a result, healthier and more satisfied with life, how can we feel upbeat in this environment?
Some people have experienced unspeakable tragedies and may well wonder if they will ever laugh again. But while it may seem difficult, it is possible to find happiness.
Many think they can find happiness but it is not something that just falls into your lap one day. As the saying goes, “happiness is a state of mind.” In other words, you have to change your attitude, which takes practice.
Another misconception about happiness is that it involves our circumstances. Say, for example, you lose someone who is very close to you. At the moment it happens, it may feel like the world is caving in on you. But, as another famous quote states “time heals all wounds.” Time and patience are key, but with support and positive attitude, we humans can get through anything.
Psychologist and author Martin Seligman is a promoter of positive psychology, a type of psychology that uses science-based techniques to help achieve happiness. His view is that people are not confined by their situations and can, in fact, take steps to achieve happiness.
Happy people share seven habits according to Seligman:
– Relationships. You don’t need a huge circle of friends to gain benefits. Even a couple of close friends or relatives that you can share feelings with is sufficient.
– Caring. Helping a friend or someone in need has the obvious benefit of helping that particular person but, more importantly, it brings you a feeling of satisfaction.
– Exercise. Numerous studies have shown that physical activity lowers depression.
– Flow. This involves deep concentration in trying to achieve a goal or while being involved in an activity.
– Spiritual Engagement and Meaning. Spirituality does not necessarily mean being religious, although both can lead to more satisfaction in life. Looking at something bigger than ourselves can give us a deeper appreciation of life, which can then lead to more contentment.
– Strengths and Virtues. Everyone has strengths and virtues. The trick is to find them and use them positively.
– Positive Mindset (Optimism, Mindfulness, Gratitude). Having a bright outlook, being present now and being grateful for what you have are big contributing factors to overall happiness.
“The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe that bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault,” writes Seligman in his book “Learned Optimism.” “The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe that defeat is just a temporary setback or a challenge, that its causes are just confined to this one case.”
I have always tried to look at life with a positive vision. When my heart fills with joy, I laugh with abandon. I feel that laughter is infectious and can help those who are having a hard time. I selfishly hope that my laughter will cause their worries to disappear, at least temporarily.
Although I consider myself an optimistic person, I cannot say that I have always been surrounded by positivity. Many people were against my foray into the world of carpet weaving for various reasons. What hurt me the most at the time was the fact that some family members were also not happy with my decision.
However, I did not let anyone stand in my way. I persevered and deeply appreciated the support that I had and still have. I am also deeply grateful for what I have. That is why I feel it is so important to adopt this attitude of happiness. After all, smiles are contagious.
Weaver, Thinker, Doer