Bob Denny: Secret for a happy life
Published: Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:03 p.m.
Want to know the secret for a happy life? Well, many experts out there have written books telling you how to do it. Many of them say there’s one path to happiness, based on what they believe or understand of what happiness is. I think a lot of them have great ideas, that could help you build that happier life for yourself, but there probably isn’t just one best way. Is it true that “all roads lead to Rome?”
I don’t think so. I don’t think there’s one pat, easy formula that’s good for everybody. As far as I know, our human race has pondered and explored what makes a “happy life” for as long as we’ve been on Earth. Common sense and folk wisdom have offered ideas for thousands of years. The science of psychology emerged more recently, and offers its own “two cents” to the body of beliefs about happiness.
A few principles and ideas seem to have outlived the ravages of time, and are generally believed to have some seeds of truth. Research from the science of psychology adds some evidence that seem to support that common sense and folk wisdom. It seems that there’s not just one way to a happy life. Here are some ideas that seem to be accepted as tried and true. You may find some of them helpful:
* It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you’ve got to work with. Anyone can make his or her own life happier. Happiness means something different to each of us. “One man’s cake is another man’s poison.” What’s do you think makes a happy life?
* Take some time to make a list of things that are most important to you. That list helps you find your purpose, and helps give your life meaning.
* Your life and time are two of the most valuable things you’ve got. What else is very important for you to have, to do with your life and time, and to become? This list can help give your life your own direction to pursue.
* Dream big. Remember when you were a child, and wanted to be a fireman or an astronaut? Don’t be afraid to dream about what you want out of life. Wanting it, seeing it or visualizing it motivates and guides you towards that dream.
* We’re choice makers. It’s built into us. Make a decision to make your life the best it can be, the life you want it to be.
* What are your strengths, capabilities, talents, and skills? What’s unique and special about you? What are your special skills, talents, interests, knowledge, and characteristics that you have to work with? What do you love doing? What are you good at doing?
* Take care of yourself. Build your health and fitness, by making your meals healthier, and including significant physical activities in your days. Health and fitness lay the groundwork for a happy life.
* Attitude is so important. Research tells us that your thoughts influence your feelings, and that optimists live years longer, on the average, than pessimists. Look for the good side of everything. Expect success, not failure. But don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learning from our mistakes is a proven way to grow and to build better lives for ourselves. When you search for it, every cloud really does have a silver lining.
* Believe in something. Try to do what’s right. The “Serenity Prayer” advises us to “have the courage to change the things we can change, the patience to accept and adapt to the things we can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
* Build that happier life for yourself, and it will also help bring more happiness to those close to you. They’re worth it, and you’re worth it.
Bob Denny is a licensed mental health therapist in Florida and teaches psychology and human growth and development at Florida Gateway College.