Authored by tom terry

Are You Happy?

Do you find joy in the simple pleasures of life, or are you convinced that only that new car or high-paying job will make you happy? Find out how to be happy with the life you have.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you? Not an easy question, is it? If you base your response at on how you feel at this moment, you may answer one way. If you base it on your life overall, you may answer differently. Most feelings change from minute to minute, hour to hour and day to day.

What is happiness? For some people, happiness is as simple as receiving a greeting card from a loved one, going to the golf course or spending an afternoon on the beach. Others can't be happy until they can buy a luxury car, have a six-figure income or meet the man/woman of their dreams.

Studies show that the happiness we feel when we reach a goal is never as good as we imagine it will be, and happiness never lasts as long as we think it will. When we envision what will bring us happiness, we're usually wrong. According to scientists, predicting what will happen in the future causes us to make errors in judgment. Studies show that when people finally get that new car, vacation or marriage proposal, the happiness they feel doesn't match the expectations they'd had.

The best way to find out what will bring you happiness is to ask someone who has had the experience. If you think being married will make you happy and have an image of what marriage will be like, talk to some married friends. See if the feelings they now have match the level of happiness they'd expected. According to scientists, this is a more accurate way to determine if what you think will make you happy really will. Unfortunately, very few people use this tool. That's because people believe they can predict their own happiness more accurately than someone else can.

The secret to happiness

Don't expect to always feel happy. Happiness is fleeting. If you aren't constantly happy, don't think you have a problem.
Develop your own idea of what happiness is. Look back on your life and see what has brought you the most joy. It usually comes from relationships, not possessions.
Eliminate tunnel vision. Don't waste so much time waiting for the big moments that you miss out on the small ones. If you dream of being promoted to the perfect job or finding the perfect mate, you may feel extremely unhappy unless it happens. Your focus on that "big occasion" may cause you to miss out on life's simple pleasures - and the happiness that comes with them.
Focus on the present. Don't dwell on the past or worry about the future.
Share your talents with others. Volunteer your services. Offering your help to someone else can only brighten your outlook.
Don't lose sight of what brings you happiness. Remember your goals and don't let yourself become isolated or withdrawn from the people you love.
Don't believe that things will make you happy. The thing we think will make us happy usually doesn't bring the expected result.
Don't believe that another person can make you happy. People can disappoint each other. Find happiness in believing in yourself and being committed to your values.
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