Happiness–it’s what we all strive to find and keep, even when it’s as elusive as ever. Nobody is jolly and elated all the time, but some individuals are definitely more fulfilled than others. Studies reveal that happiness has little to do with materialistic needs, goods, or wants, or high achievement; it boils down to your outlook on life, the quality of your relationships, and basic amenities like good governance and community resources.Check Step 1 and beyond for more tips and tricks on how to unlock the happier you.
1. Be optimistic
In the 1970s, researchers followed people who’d won the lottery and found that a year afterward, they were no happier than people who didn’t. This hedonic adaptation suggests that we each have a baseline level of happiness. No matter what happens, good or bad, the effect on our happiness is temporary, and we tend to revert to our baseline level. Some people have a higher baseline happiness level than others, and that is due in part to genetics, but it’s also largely influenced by how you think.
- Add up all the little joyful things that happen to you during the day. For example, there was no traffic on the road, you had a very decent and scrumptious breakfast, your friend said something uproariously humorous that made you laugh, you took your dog out for a walk in the park and played with it. All of these matters added together
- Feel deeply grateful for the things you have. This is a very effective way to be happy. If you feel grateful for the things you have, you not only become more happy but it also helps you to bring more into your life.
- View the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. Your girlfriend/ boyfriend broke up with you? Now you have the chance to meet someone else! You lost your job? Now you can seize the opportunity to find a better one! Adjust your mentality so that, in everything that happens to you, there’s some kernel of good.
- Put yourself in situations where fabulous, fortunate things are likely to happen to you. It’s easier to remain optimistic if you set yourself up for success. Cheating on a partner, or stealing someone’s bicycle — while temporarily thrilling — rarely end well for any party involved. Ask yourself before you act: Am I setting myself up for success or for failure?
- Think of your current situation (however hard it may be) and then think of how much harder some other people have it. Just be happy that you are not in that worse situation. Learn to enjoy your life!
by Nick Notas
Good friends are family.
They aren’t just buddies we have a fun time with but people we treat like our own blood. They can be profound connections that are forged for a lifetime.
I remember sitting in the car with my girlfriend and a close friend when he opened up to us. “Listen, you know how much I care about my mom and brother. They have the best intentions but sometimes they don’t truly understand me. But you both do. And I want you to know that you’re my family, too.”
It was one of the most honest and meaningful statements someone had ever said to me.
The other day I was excited to see a “How to Be a Good Friend” article appear in my feed. Reading through it was severely disappointing for a topic so important. When I searched for similar articles on Google, I was amazed to see how many contained idealistic advice that lacked any substance.
Here’s my list of ground rules that I follow to be a good friend.
- Don’t be a fair-weather friend. You have to maintain your own life and set boundaries for your time. However, being there only when it’s beneficial or convenient for you is selfish. Friendship should be a mutually valuable connection.
This especially applies when starting a new relationship. Don’t forget about your friends or let your partner dictate who you’re allowed to see. Even though you have less free time, keep in touch and make plans when you can. How can you expect the friends you ignore to welcome you with open arms if the relationship ends?
I can’t think of a more important topic to write about than this. If you want to thrive in this world and do great things; If you want to have an impact on people’s lives; If you want be happy and live stress-free: You have to stop caring what other people think of you. It’s absolutely necessary to freely express yourself. It’s the only way to be an originator, a leader, and a creator.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to stop caring about people’s opinions. It’s in our nature to want to fit in and be accepted by our peers. There is a certain comfort that comes along with feeling accepted. However, if this desire to be accepted becomes the driving force in your life, you will become a watered down version of yourself, frightened to do anything that might attract criticism.
And that’s not what you want, is it? But, we’ve all been afraid to express ourselves at some point in our lives. If you haven’t been afraid to show the world something you’ve created, you’re probably not taking enough chances. The act of creating requires you to stand out from the pack and be an individual…voluntarily. This takes guts, the kind of guts that all Mancredible readers should strive to have.
2 things to remember next time you start to worry about someone’s opinion…
1. Nobody cares about you as much as you – People are extremely self-centered. And it makes sense: we’re trapped in our bodies and being ‘you’ is all that ‘you’ know. Everyone is living in their own first person shooter, and so we spend all of our time thinking about ourselves. In fact, most criticism people give is merely a reflection of how they feel about themselves.
Have you ever heard of The Curse of the Traveler?
An old vagabond in his 60s told me about it over a beer in Central America, goes something like this: The more places you see, the more things you see that appeal to you, but no one place has them all. In fact, each place has a smaller and smaller percentage of the things you love, the more things you see. It drives you, even subconsciously, to keep looking, for a place not that’s perfect (we all know there’s no Shangri-La), but just for a place that’s “just right for you.” But the curse is that the odds of finding “just right” get smaller, not larger, the more you experience. So you keep looking even more, but it always gets worse the more you see. This is Part A of the Curse.
Part B is relationships. The more you travel, the more numerous and profoundly varied the relationships you will have. But the more people you meet, the more diffused your time is with any of them. Since all these people can’t travel with you, it becomes more and more difficult to cultivate long term relationships the more you travel. Yet you keep traveling, and keep meeting amazing people, so it feels fulfilling, but eventually, you miss them all, and many have all but forgotten who you are. And then you make up for it by staying put somewhere long enough to develop roots and cultivate stronger relationships, but these people will never know what you know or see what you’ve seen, and you will always feel a tinge of loneliness, and you will want to tell your stories just a little bit more than they will want to hear them. The reason this is part of the Curse is that it gets worse the more you travel, yet travel seems to be a cure for a while.
None of this is to suggest that one should ever reduce travel. It’s just a warning to young Travelers, to expect, as part of the price, a rich life tinged with a bit of sadness and loneliness, and angst that’s like the same nostalgia everyone feels for special parts of their past, except multiplied by a thousand.
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY. As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it RESPECT.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it MATURITY. As I began to love myself I understood that in any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it SIMPLICITY. As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health— food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since, I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is MODESTY. As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART. We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know THAT IS LIFE!
by Stan Hayward
I am in my 80s. To be this age is largely luck. To be this age and reasonably healthy with peace of mind is even luckier. To be this age, be healthy, and not lonely makes one feel so lucky that you want to gulp the moments down like a drowning man reaching air. I have been in five car crashes without being hurt (none were my fault). During the war as a child, I experienced several bombs falling within close range and where people within yards of myself were killed or injured. Numerous other such incidents sometimes gives one a sense of invulnerability, and other times that the next incident won’t be so lucky.
I regret much but also realize that having regrets meant that I had opportunities to regret; I was lucky to have those opportunities. There is a desire to leave one’s mark; graffiti on the wall of time; an apt engraving on a tombstone or small plaque on a park bench. The gifts of inheritance that will be gratefully accepted, and carry the essence of one’s past. The slogan ‘I was here’ seems as important as always, but much more in the sense of ‘I hope I deserve it’ rather than ‘And now you know.’
Much thought is sometimes given to organ donations, with an underlying feeling of ‘Please God keep me healthy and I will give my body to science in return.’ Though living on as a kidney transplant is more of an altruistic gesture than a religious one.
When friends pass away, it is not just their presence that is lost, it is also the memories they have of you. The “Do you remember when…?” conversations that pepper the elderly reminiscences. Fear of death is actually rare and is commonly a joke. On the other hand, fear of losing one’s memories, faculties, or independence is real. We put a great value on having people who we can trust — especially to carry out wishes when we are gone. Making final decisions can be upsetting, particularly if they relate to young people who are distant in age and lifestyle yet close in relationship.
by Nick Notas
Everywhere around there will be someone who tells you that it can’t be done. They’ll argue that you don’t have what it takes. That you’re foolish. That you’re following “childish dreams.” Any person who’s gone after something they want or believe in has had to swash through a sea of doubt.
It’s easiest for naysayers to sit back and tell others what they can and can’t do. To spread negativity while staying safely in their comfort zone. It makes them feel good to tear others down when they aren’t the ones putting their neck on the line. In reality, they have their own goals that have dwindled into “pipe dreams” that will never get done. They haven’t accomplished theirs, so why would they encourage you to accomplish yours?
This phenomenon is so real it even has it’s own name — crab mentality. It’s much easier to try and pull someone down than to lift yourself up and join them. That takes courage.
Sometimes the loudest voice of doubt is in your own head. It’s the most powerful. It knows you. How could your own mind be wrong when it’s been with you all your life?
That would be true if the mind was infallible, but it’s not. It, too, is susceptible to mistakes, fears, and self-defeating thoughts. It wants you to do well but at the same time protects you from being hurt if you don’t reach your objective. You have to fight through that defense mechanism — success is born out of risks and failures.
I am ugly. I am unattractive. I know that my skin is awful, my hair is greasy, and society simply does not permit women to weigh as much as I do.
But, mind you, this is not the same as having low self-esteem. Because when I look in the mirror, I hate my body, not myself. I simply shake my head and think, “This isn’t me. This mediocre sack of meat isn’t me. I’m just renting it out, driving it around. It’s a tool. It’s a vehicle. I use it to take myself places that I need to go, and that’s all there is to it.”
Ok fine, I’m not Zen enough to actually believe I can escape with that train of thought. The truth is, I am frustrated with the irreconcilable disconnect between my pride and my presence. The acne mask and the fat suit egregiously fail to conform with my mental mockups of my perfectly badass self. I suppose the only real solution then, besides undergoing extensive surgeries, is to upload my conscience to a supercomputer.
Maybe the Singularity will happen, and everything will be great, but in the meantime, I much prefer the Internet to real life interactions because most of you haven’t got a clue as to what I look like, and if you don’t like me it’s because my ideas suck and not because you find my face unpleasant. The Internet allows me to temporarily abandon the limitations of my subpar physical avatar.
Even if people are especially curious about my appearance, I only allow them to make vague inferences based off a single profile picture, uniform across all my social media haunts, taken a very long time ago at a surprisingly flattering angle, in which I actually manage to trick them into thinking I look quite average. Well, I don’t. I’ve gained 50 pounds since then, and academic stress makes my acne flare up like nobody’s business.
Regardless, I decided a while back that everyone has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, and I would do well to focus on my strengths instead of my weaknesses. Even people who are bad at everything are less bad at some things than they are at others. After some introspection, I concluded that I was less bad at learning things than I was at looking pretty, so I would ultimately benefit far more from sharpening my skills and pursuing a technical career than from trying in vain to undo the effects of losing the genetic lottery.
As for the romantic side of things, I avoid unnecessary heartbreak by keeping myself from harboring silly delusions about reciprocated love in the first place. I have rationalized that it is okay for me to be ugly because 1) marriage is not the optimal arrangement for everyone and 2) the human race would likely carry on just fine without my genetic contribution.
I am irritated with the cliché that “everyone is beautiful” because surface friendliness and pretending to be PC don’t solve anything. It doesn’t help the young girl with confidence issues because even if you’re “nice” enough to tell her that she’s beautiful, are you nice enough to, like, actually date her? Words mean nothing without actions, yet it’s patently unfair to expect people not to be shallow because at the end of the day, beauty is beauty, attraction is attraction, and sexual desire is governed by deep-rooted evolutionary impulses that people don’t understand and can’t control.
It would be far more useful to promote the idea that people can contribute to the world in a variety of interesting and fulfilling ways besides making others salivate over their bodies. You can make original scientific breakthroughs! You can regale people with tales of heroic conquest! You can build products that make people’s lives easier! But I guess changing the world wouldn’t make for an effective beauty products campaign.