Thousands of books have been written on the subject, seminars taught, articles published, debates debated… yet a lot of us, as Bono would say, still haven’t found what we are looking for.
Is it about money, material possessions, status, achievements…?
It seems not.
What’s one to do if one gets to have all the things one ever wanted (not always easy but possible), and one still isn’t happy, what then?
Dr. Phil McGraw, American TV Host of Dr. Phil, has said that a lot of the rich people he knows, people with a lot of money and material possessions, people who are made for life, are some of the unhappiest people he knows.
So some say that starting each day by thinking of all the things you have to be thankful for is one way to put your mind on the right track.
Most personal development experts agree that there are no shortcuts to happiness, and there are no secrets either. Even generally happy people do not experience joy twenty four hours a day. But a happy person can have a bad day and still find pleasure in the small things in life.
What’s true is that postponing our happiness until we reach a certain goal, like getting a pay rise or buying a sports car, is a sure way to stay stuck in misery.
NLP Life Coach Anna Aparicio says that it is vital we schedule a few minutes every day to think about the good things in our life. She also advises "think about things you would like to do, not things you’d like to have, but things you’d like to do that would make you happier".
Happiness tends to come more easily when we focus on developing ourselves, developing positive relationships and enjoyable work, and we have a sense that life has meaning. Also, having a spiritual dimension tends to be an essential component of happiness for a lot of people.
It also depends upon our values; what we hold most important in our lives. For some people money is top of the list, for others it is family, or love, or health. It seems to be true that as long as we live our lives in congruence with our values we are bound to lead happier lives.
"But we have to remember that our future depends largely on the thoughts we think today" says Anna "so, each moment of every day is an opportunity to turn our thinking around, therefore helping or hindering our ability feel more positive in the next moment".
As Buddha once said, what you think you become.
Pessimists look for what is wrong in the world. Optimists look for what’s right. Realists look for pragmatism. Yet, it’s the same world. What do you look for? Whatever it is, it’s a reflection of your consistent thoughts.
Optimism and happiness do seem to go hand in hand, and laughter is never far away once we’re able to focus on the bright side of things.
There is tons of research demonstrating the beneficial effects of positive emotions and laughter on our health; a sunny disposition can lengthen our life, it can help boost our immune system, and deal better with physical or mental conditions.
Recent research has also found that our body’s response to repetitive laughter is similar to the effect of repetitive exercise. So, whatever it takes to put a genuine smile on our face is what we should be doing!
But what else can we do to be happier? Here are Anna Aparicio's 3 top tips to achieve Happiness:
1. GIVE: Giving without expecting anything in return is possibly one of the most satisfying and happiness inducing acts. What you give or how much you give is not what matters most. What matters most is your intention; that you genuinely and selflessly give so others can benefit. So, whether you donate money, goods, services, or your time, enjoy doing it more often.
2. CREATE: Creating something for ourselves, be it a business, a painting, or a meal… can bring infinite amounts of satisfaction and self-worth. The size of the project doesn’t matter, what matters most is that we do it because we want to and that we do it with love.
3. CONNECT: Being part of a relationship, a community, or a movement gives us a sense of belonging and of being accepted. Making new connections or connecting people together can bring more possibilities and opportunities for happiness our way.
As Mahatma Ghandi said, Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Contact Anna at www.delite.ie
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Anna Aparicio is regarded as Ireland's top female NLP Life Coach. A Self-image and Confidence Expert, she uses Neuro-linguistic Programming, Hypnosis and personal development tools to develop massive changes in her clients' lives, fast.