There's no one recipe for happiness, but these are some common ingredients.
Being happy is a great goal and challenge in our lives. It’s can motivate us to do things we never would have imagined. It’s the ace for which we would trade the rest of the deck of cards.
No doubt, all of us are already trying to be happy, and have already discovered and applied lessons that help us in that direction. However, you can never be too happy, and it can be profitable to learn from other people’s experiences so that we can become at least a little bit happier.
Raúl Gómez is a Spanish running enthusiast and adventurer-traveler who has been to the farthest corners of the world. From his experiences to date, he’s compiled certain life lessons that he published in a book called La Vida Mola (Life Is Cool). He doesn’t pretend to be a spiritual guru, or to have a panacea for all unhappiness. He simply wants to share some of his experiences with other people, in the hope that it might help them, especially those who are going through a rough patch of one kind or another.
Here are five of the ideas Gómez proposes in the book that can help us change our attitude and our perspective and be, perhaps, just a little bit happier:
1.Find occasions to laugh more.
Laughter changes our mood, uplifts us, and relaxes us — it’s the best medicine. Find a way to smile—not just for your own good, but also because you can help other people with your positivity, lightening their load. There are many ways to look at most situations, so pick the most positive one. Laugh at other people’s jokes, and try to add a touch of humor when you tell stories, so that other people can enjoy listening to you.
2Set realistic goals.
Setting yourself realistic goals and deadlines helps you avoid a lot of unnecessary frustration, disappointment, and feelings of failure. Self-help books tend to be full of pretentious phrases, such as, “You can achieve excellence.” We read these things that give us high expectations and promise to make us a success, but then we try to do it, and reality knocks us down a few notches. It’s better to be more realistic. Remember: it’s normal and human to make mistakes and not to get everything right the first time around. Ask other people for help, and work as a team.
3If your plan doesn't work, change your plan, but not your goal.
Don’t give up too easily. We can try again when we fail. We may need to change our plan or adopt a new strategy, but we shouldn’t necessarily change our goal. Great hearts have great plans, and in the end, we can find a way. For the moment, we need to enjoy our small daily victories and share that happiness with the people around us.
4Be inspired by others, but make your own path.
While we may share common goals, each one of us pursues them in our own way, and we can have different reasons for pursuing them. That makes every person’s goal, and their efforts to achieve it, unique. We shouldn’t expose ourselves the torture of trying to exactly imitate other people, because it’s quite possible we don’t have the same temperament, character, or talents. While other people can inspire us, we need to achieve our own goals in our own way. There’s no point in envying someone else’s form of success. We have to look at who we are and what we’ve achieved up until now, and consider how we can take the best advantage of it.
If something good happens to you, take a trip to celebrate. If something bad happens to you, take a trip to forget about it. If nothing happens to you, travel so that something will! Traveling is a good way to meet other people and to understand ourselves better. It broadens our horizons, sparks our imagination, and increases our desire to do and see more. Travel also helps us learn about different nations and cultures, history, language, and so on. It fills us with new oxygen. Travel with the intention of learning. It doesn’t need to be expensive or international — just make an effort to go outside of your normal places and routines.
Each person’s happiness, and the recipe for achieving it, is as unique as each person, but these are some ingredients that experience has shown to be useful.
The art (and science) of true happiness
Give thanks… and find happiness!