How To Be Happy: 5 Easy Steps To Finding True Happiness & Joy

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How To Be Happy: 5 Easy Steps To Finding True Happiness & Joy

Life is a dish best served with joy, and for that to really happen, you need to learn how to be happy through practicing gratitude and keeping a positive attitude every day.

Happiness is a choice. Understanding how to practice gratitude helps you see the world through a positive outlook. Mastering gratitude and a positive mindset not only guarantees happiness, but are also essential tools to get you through tough times.

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It doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you have, or how successful you are in your career. Finding happiness is a sweetness that we all desire.

Are you ready to be happier? What does it take to be happier? And how do you find happiness in your life?

There are moments in life when we can choose happiness, even if finding joy seems impossible. Everyone struggles with painful and unexpected events or situations that can leave us reeling every now and then.

Squeezing joy out of life’s hard times can be difficult during such challenges. Yet, in every situation, there are always opportunities to find and choose happiness.

Here are 5 easy steps to find happiness and true joy in your life every day.

1. Attitude is everything.

You always have a choice in how you react to situations in your life. Happiness can seem just out of reach, but often it’s your attitude that impacts your sense of joy.

In all situations, you bring your attitude, mindset, biases, and beliefs forward, which all impact your experience.

When you're in a situation where you feel yourself tensing or stressing, take a step back and observe what's going on around you. Decide how you can choose happiness and joy instead of just reacting to your situation.

2. Step outside of your perspective.

To find joy, you often need to step outside of your singular perspective and open your mind up to multiple perspectives. Changing your perspective changes your relationship to a situation.

A fundamental truth is that all situations have more than one side. When you are stuck in your own perspective and don't consider another person's point of view, you're not attuned to the whole experience. 

The better able you are to see a situation from multiple perspectives, the clearer you will see the bigger picture.

Your happiness is often linked with the ability to see a situation from multiple lenses. Seeing the "whole" situation leads to confidence in making choices. Clarity slows you down, reducing your instant reactions and responses, and ultimately invites you to have a more knowledgeable viewpoint.

3. Be grateful.

I have often thought about how God would respond if s/he came down to Earth to talk with people. What would God think of all the complaints and demands? Consider how the conversation might go as you describe all the moments that bring you joy, instead.

Learn to savor those moments when the universe conspires to bring you what you want. And learn to appreciate and rejoice in the moments where you don’t get what you want. Both are imperative to finding happiness around you.

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Holding deep appreciation, feeling that buzz of excitement in the depths of your being, and savoring life’s experiences is what gratitude offers you. These moments, like light, abounds.

What is required is the willingness to see the beauty around you; to recognize moments of brilliance. It could be shared laughter with a loved one or a stranger, the beauty of a butterfly in a garden, or the feeling of the sun on your face.

The joy you feel when you achieve a goal, cross a finish line, or find freedom from past pain. These moments define you just as much as your fears.

4. Have realistic expectations.

How often do you hold unspoken or unrealistic expectations? These expectations are rarely met and are the slippery slope of unhappiness.

You create stories that support the idea of a world in which your unspoken wishes will be intuited, which rarely happens.

Just last week, I was chatting with a friend while my husband was out of town on business. I wanted company for dinner, so I asked her, “What are you doing for dinner tonight?”

She responded that she and her husband were keeping it low key. I wanted to hang out, but if I'd left the conversation there, I would have been alone. Instead, I let her know I was hoping for some company, and so we all had dinner together.

If I expected her to read my mind, I would have ended up on my own. (And I still might have, if they'd been busy.) But by asking and being transparent about what I wanted, I was 90 percent more likely to get it.

You may have unrealistic expectations somewhere in your world. Maybe you expect something from someone that they don’t understand, are aware of, or are incapable of giving you. I did this for years.

What was in my mind was a reasonable expectation, but because I didn't say anything, no one had any clue what I needed.

This brings us to another way to be happy: Believe people when they show you a “no.” Let go and move on, or create a healthy boundary for yourself.

I have found that the degree of unhappiness or anger I feel is related to the quality of the healthy boundaries that I set for myself.

5. Have "S.M.A.R.T." goals

Lot’s of things can squash happiness. Having realistic and attainable goals can help you to focus your attention on where you can make changes. S.M.A.R.T. goals are a way of breaking down a big goal into many smaller, more easily attainable goals by setting first, second, and third goals.

Happiness is often linked with a sense of accomplishment and feeling focused on what you can control. When you're scattered or frozen, you tend to feel helpless. And this is the opposite of what's useful in finding more joy in your life.

Follow this metric and make your goals more achievable:

  • Specific: Clear goal that you are driving toward
  • Measurable: Your goal is trackable
  • Achievable: The goal is challenging and possible
  • Relevant: The goal is important to you
  • Timely: Your goal has a deadline

There are many paths to finding happiness. These keys can help you remember what will support joy as you navigate life. I invite you to draw on past experiences of happiness you've had. What was different at that time? What can you learn from these past experiences?

Then, pull your collective wisdom forward and consider what you need to do to shift your mood. Recognizing when you have a choice and acting on it is a powerful decision in finding your happy place.

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Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC is a clinical social worker, executive coach, and author of "StoryJacking: Change Your Inner Dialogue, Transform Your Life." To learn more, visit her website or schedule your complimentary introductory session.

This article was originally published at Lyssa deHart. Reprinted with permission from the author.