It is not surprising to hear someone says "I'm not happy because my job is not paying enough' or 'I would be happier if I live in that big house'.
People chase after money and material stuff with the idea that they can bring satisfaction and happiness. They pursue their 'millionaire dream' ceaselessly and some are even prepared to pay for it with family time and friendship.
I am not a 'happiness' guru and I am also not suggesting that you give up your money. All I am saying is that there are lots more to happiness and it is not merely about material possession. In fact, beyond the poverty line, money brings little more happiness.
Here are just a few of my humble thoughts about living a happy life:
1. Look for happiness from within
No one can give you happiness but yourself. If you make up your mind to be happy, you will be. There are always reasons to be happy. It depends on how you look at things. See article 'Perspective of Life'.
Famous quote from Abraham Lincoln says it all "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be". See article 'Happiness is a Choice'.
2. Count your blessing
Positive thoughts generate happiness. The reverse is also true for negative thoughts.
I often hear comments that it is hard not to have any negative thoughts. I agree. The idea is not about eliminating such thoughts altogether. It is about having a lot more positive thoughts than negatives ones at any one time.
Praise more, blame less. It helps.
3. Find happiness in simple things
Simple pleasures do not need extravagant spending: A relaxing stroll in the park; sipping a cup of tea with a good old friend or watching little children play.
Simple things can inspire you and bring you happiness at no cost. See article 'Ten Things That Inspire Me'.
4. Build people relationship
Human beings are gregarious animals. We need 'emotional food' to sustain our mental health. Much of such 'food' can be derived from meaningful human-to-human relationship.
One very important note about having meaningful relationship: You need to 'invest'. Be genuine when initiating a good relationship and do not be too preoccupied with the 'return'.
Beautiful people are not necessarily happier. In the first place, beauty is a matter of opinion. As far as happiness is concerned, what you think about yourself is more important that what other people do.
You can be ugly. The world can be ugly. Everything can be ugly if your mind chooses to think so. However, if you learn to see the beauty in life, you would definitely be less miserable.
6. Give to get more
This is odd but true.
In financial terms, a good investment is one which return you more money than you have put in. It is the same for 'emotional investment' except that it is harder to measure the return.
You can give time, friendship, inspiration, compassion and forgiveness. Give without hoping for a return and in time, you will be rewarded with more than you have bargained for.
7. Get your daily motivation
We often feel unhappy when we are consumed by life. Workload, financial burden, family conflicts are the usually culprits.
There is no way to avoid these life-chewers other than constantly boost your emotional immunity with your daily dosage of motivation. See article 'Get Your Daily Motivation'.
From Stephen Covey's '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', I learnt that a happy life is a balanced life. Covey suggests a constant renewal of ourselves in four areas: Physical, Social/Emotional, Mental and Spiritual.
With this, it is simple to understand why money will not bring you happiness when you are a sickly billionaire or when you are rich but without friends around you. There is also no point being wealthy but spiritually anemic.
We really ought to fear less, hope more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more and hate less, love more.
Finally, here is the secret to happiness - It is up to you.
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"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." ~Albert Einstein~