Happiness is, quite literally, a state of mind. Our environment directly influences our moods, our perceptions and our feelings of well being, and neurons in our bodies transmit signals to our brain that tell us whether we are happy or sad. Therefore, it is essential that our physical surroundings complement and enhance both the personality and the values that make us unique as individuals.
Although not necessarily essential for personal happiness, many people find that their happiness is enhanced if they live in a specific area or in a specific type of house. For some, living in a house near the ocean is calming and promotes a sense of well being. Others may feel more at peace when living in the desert.
Wherever you choose to live, it is essential that you receive adequate sunlight in order to maintain a healthy outlook and to retain both an emotional and a physiological balance. Receiving adequate sunlight enables us to maintain proper levels of serotonin in our system so that we can remain emotionally stable.
Even if you are unable to relocate and you don’t live in your ideal situation, you can change your current accommodations so that they are pleasing to view and encourage happiness. Surround yourself with items that you like and that hold fond memories for you. Rid yourself of clutter and practice deep breathing, meditation or other similar exercise that encourages your higher self.
The Best Friends
No matter how positive your outlook, being around friends and family who are perpetually gloomy and pessimistic will dull even the sunniest outlook. Although the adage “You can choose your friends but not your relatives,” holds true, we have the right to establish boundaries with all of those with whom we come into contact. It is emotionally healthy as well as physiologically healthy to establish limits in our interactions with others by courteously stating what behaviors we will and will not tolerate and enforcing those boundaries.
By setting your limits, you will gradually begin to increase your happiness level because you will feel more self worth and will therefore love yourself more. You may also improve those around you because they will realize that if they want to be around you, they will have to dispense with the pessimism and negative attitudes.
Habits of Happiness
We’ve all known individuals who seemed to be unflappable. No matter what events befell them, they took them in stride. Happiness is a habit. You must decide that you will be a happy person and resolve to make that happen. This is not to say that you will never again be unhappy. Rather, it is the resolve that no matter what the circumstances, you will get through them because you have inner contentment. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul, “In whatever situation you find yourself, you resolve to be content with that.”
It is inevitable in life that sometimes you will be unhappy. That is part of life and the physiological process of the human body and is unalterable. However, the determining factor is whether you control your circumstances or you let them control you. Financial status alone is not a determining factor in being happy: many millionaires are unhappy and many who are indigent are happy.
One of the best ways to increase your level of happiness is to do for others. There is an inherent joy in knowing that you have done your best everyday to improve or enrich the lives of others and it doesn’t have to be extravagant gestures. An act as simple as holding the door open for someone, saying please or thank you, letting someone go ahead of you in a service line…these are very simple acts of kindness that increase your happiness level as well as the happiness level of the recipient.
Unfortunately, manners have become passé. The simple act of being mannerly can dramatically increase your happiness level because you are exhibiting respect and kindness for others rather than having an aggressive and self-centered attitude.
How You Know
A happy person makes a conscious decision to do his or her best no matter the circumstances. A happy person accepts himself or herself for the person that he or she is inside and strives each day to improve the inner self.
When you can reflect on your life and the manner in which you live it and acknowledge to yourself that you are doing the best that is possible for you to do and that you have consistently helped others to do the same, you are well on your way to inner happiness.