A Practical Guide to True Happiness

Updated on December 3, 2018
Alyssa Nichol profile image

Alyssa has studied psychology, philosophy, religion, and the arts. She loves sharing her thoughts, ideas, and papers with the world.

The pursuit of happiness is never-ending. Everyone wants to be happy, and in our fast-paced society, everyone is searching for a quick, convenient solution. The truth is, no such solution exists. Life is a series of ups and downs, and no one is happy 100 percent of the time. Everyone has good and bad times. There is no escaping the inevitable truths of life. However, learning how to deal with those bad situations and rolling with the punches so to say, is truly the key to a happy life.

It all starts with you. You are solely responsible for the quality of your life. It sounds a little defeating at first, but when you come to understand it, you realize how powerful that statement is.

Yes, the unexpected can, and will happen. But, it's how you deal with it that can affect the outcome, and more importantly, your life. It all starts and ends with your mindset.

What in the world does all that mean?

In short:

  • How you view the world
  • How you live your daily life
  • How you speak to yourself
  • How you speak to others

A negative mindset will only give you problems. Constantly complaining and finding fault in everything will never allow you to be happy. That energy can be contagious and might feel good at first, but notice how you feel when you are around other people who only complain. They might complain about their job, their spouse, celebrities, or just random, everyday things. You might feel compelled to join in on the complaining. We all have problems and sometimes it feels good to just get it out. However, do you ever come away from those types of conversation feeling good about yourself or your life? Chances are, you don't. I love this quote from Theodore Roosevelt: "Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining."

Think about it for a minute and you realize how true that is. What are you accomplishing by complaining? Did it solve the problem? Did it solve anything? No.

Changing your mindset can be hard. It takes effort and dedication, especially if you are in a less than ideal situation. But it is possible, and important if you are serious about changing your life.

So, how do you do it?

The answer is simpler than you might think.

It all starts with gratitude. Learning how to appreciate all that you have, instead of focusing on what you don't have is the key to living a happier, more fulfilling life.

There are practical steps you can take to start changing your mindset right now.

Think of three things you are grateful for today. Do it now. It can be anything; your cup of coffee, sleeping in, the warm sunshine. Once you have your three things, write them down. You can use a pen and paper, a Word document on your computer, or jot them down in the notepad app on your phone. Do this every day. Three things is not a lot, everyone can find three things for which to be grateful in their lives. After all, simply being alive is reason enough to give thanks.

Don't forget about the people in your life, whether living or if they passed on: your spouse, your children, a lesson you learned from your grandparents. Do this every day: write your three things or people down on your list. Pretty soon, it will become a habit. Before you know it, it'll be second nature and you might start expressing gratitude without even realizing it.

When you find yourself in a bad mood, take a look at your list. Challenge yourself to find something to add to it. When something unexpected happens, pause, take a deep breath, and challenge yourself to find the positive in the situation. Slowly, but surely, your attitude will change.

David Steindl-Rast: Want to Be Happy? Be grateful

The last key to finding happiness is humor. Learn to laugh at yourself, at the situation, at life itself, and you will be able to get through almost anything. Look at the big picture: life is temporary and tomorrow is not guaranteed. You don't need to be religious to realize that life is a gift. Whether you believe there's a higher power at play or it's all just science really doesn't matter. Practicing gratitude daily and having a sense of humor will surely improve your life and you will be happier.

Dale Williams at TEDx: When You Laugh, Something Happens

© 2018 Alyssa


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    • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR


      19 months ago from Ohio

      Thank you so much! Have a wonderful day!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      19 months ago from Sunny Florida

      Very good suggestions for keeping a happy attitude, which feels so much better than misery.


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