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Good lives start with a simple smile

I read something recently about a very successful businessman, and he was saying that the secret to success was happiness, being happy and loving what you do.

Man, woman and child sitting on sofa together and laughing

It got me thinking, and it’s true.

There is so much talk about positive thinking and positive people, but sometimes things can feel impossible.

Is it because positive people see opportunities when most people see closed doors? Is it because they handle failures with grace and confidently continue moving in their desired direction without distraction?

I have witnessed many people go through hard times, and yet completely turn their lives around, purely through their actions and attitude. I include myself in this, having been through the most distressing divorce, and at times felt like life could never be happy again. I almost pretended at times that I was happy, but eventually you begin to feel it for real.

So basically what I am saying is, being happy is possible, no matter how dark your days are.

Contrary to popular belief, being happy isn’t all about having a positive attitude. It’s about cultivating a realistic attitude that fully embraces life as it is.

Finding lasting happiness is a lot like physical fitness, you have to work your muscles daily if you want to see results over time.

The longest Harvard study ever completed on happiness concluded that healthy relationships were closely linked to happy people. Having close relationships has been found to help us live longer and gives us a better quality and more fulfilling life. Having people who understand you, relate to you, lean on you, laugh with you and cry with you is worth its weight in gold for your health and wellbeing.

Be careful not to get things confused.

Self-esteem that is bound to external success can be quite damaging and fickle. For example, to tie your self-esteem to a job role or promotion, or that flash car, or expensive house, will give you a temporary boost, but it won’t last for long. And very soon you will want the next fix, and so the happiness search continues.

Exercise has been proven again and again to make you feel better if you stick with it. Body image improves as a result of exercise and eventually you’ll begin to experience that ‘exercise high’, thanks to the release in endorphins.

Nutrition plays a vital role in keeping your mind and body strong. If you are putting good stuff in, no matter what your heartache you will feel better. Even on the lowest of days, if you take care of your body, your mind will stay stronger and you will be clearer about the decisions you need to make in your life.

If you hit the bottle, stay up all night and reach for the processed quite fix foods, life will seem even worse than it is already. Everything can be worked out, no matter how hard it seems in this moment.

Putting all your energies into learning a skill that you are good at also has a big impact on your happiness. It may be tough in the beginning, but the feeling of satisfaction when you look back at life is rewarding and fulfilling.

Experiencing life and putting yourself out of your comfort zone (living in another country, learning to fly a helicopter, traveling the world) make us far happier and more interesting people than spending money on material goods. This is because they can be social, uplifting and something you will remember forever, and they all add to your feel good factors and connections with people.

Also, why do so many of us want to avoid sadness? It’s common for us to try to resist the flow of tears, but the truth is you need sadness if you are going to experience happiness. Resisting such emotions will only turn into something more ugly down the road.

I love this quote from spiritual master Osho:

“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That is balance.”


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