6 Easy Ways to Find Happiness

Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

IN BRIEF

Sometimes it can be easy to fall into a rut. But, it can be just as easy to pick yourself up and find a genuine smile to wear. There's always something to be happy about if we know where to look

Knowing how to be happy is something we all deserve. Isn’t it fascinating how easily brief moments of happiness can be gained through careers, lovers, purchases, or even alcohol, drugs, and food? 

But, abusing our minds and bodies in an effort to catch a quick blast of happiness, will usually leave a person feeling low. How to be happy is a mystery for many.

To find more permanent happiness, we should look past seeking gratification or fleeting pleasures. 

Happiness comes more from understanding who we are, where our lives are headed, and looking within, to discover what makes us feel alive. 

Here Are Some Tips On How To Be Happy:

#1 Get Outside In Nature 

Studies have proven that time spent outside in natural surroundings makes us happier, healthier, and more creative. (1)

Whether it’s a hike up a mountain, a walk on the beach, or just sitting in an urban park, to those of us lamenting on the state of the world, this is reverse psychology.

Being around nature, it can be easier to forget about our troubles or at least put them back in perspective.

Philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote ~ “There I feel that nothing can befall me in life—no disgrace, no calamity (leaving me my eyes), which nature cannot repair.” (2)

Activities in a natural, mood-enhancing environment stimulate brain reward circuits associated with the release of dopamine, giving us pleasure and energy to achieve our objectives in life. (1,3)

#2 Achieve Personal Goals

Realizing short and long-term goals that align with our priorities can bring us closer to happiness. These can include goals for emotional or physical health, relationships, family, careers, or in our communities.

Dreams can be transformed into reality by visualizing and then planning our best lives. We have to focus our attention on our needs, plan by thinking on options, act by taking positive steps and evaluate our progress along the way, and course-correct as needed.

Goals give us a sense of purpose and build our confidence. If we focus on one or two small things to accomplish each day, we can expand quickly to our highest potential. 

Whether through a mentor, a journal or visualization board, or with a community of like-minded people, it is helpful to put a focus on our true purpose. 

Happiness doesn’t just happen. It comes from doing things that are important to us. (4)

#3 Learn To Say No

As important as it is to agree to things that are important to us, it’s equally imperative that we learn to say no, to anything we don’t want to do.

Too often we go on social outings, take on extra work, or spend time with people who have long since stopped making our hearts sing. 

“Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to things and people that stress you out.’’ ~ Thema Davis Read (5)

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” ~ Steve Jobs (6)

The art of saying no gets easier with practice. The aim is to arrive at a compromise, so no one feels insulted, and likewise, no guilt presents itself when we turn down requests.

Saying no is an essential part of life and we should always be free to do so:

  • If drinking and loud venues aren’t your thing, ask friends if they want to meet for a quiet coffee instead.
  • If someone needs help with a task at work that you don’t need to be involved with, introduce them to a colleague who can help.
  • With family, sensitivity is key. Find a good response that isn’t personal. If family members are persistent it’s up to us to communicate that no means no. 

#4 Connect With People Cleverly

Although we should say no at appropriate times, it’s also very important to connect with our fellow human beings. Being a people-pleaser does not make us happy, yet pursuing happiness in a socially engaged way can foster well-being – if the conditions are correct for us. (7)

It is thought that individuals who socialize with others, with a satisfying goal in mind, like joining a nonprofit, or helping people in need, are happier than those who achieve an individual goal on their own. (7)

Social goals are easier to attain. It only takes a few calls to start spending time with friends or have some kind of joint effort or gain, but an individual goal like eating healthier, requires constant, repeated effort, and more self-motivation. (7)

Whether we experience joy in spending time with others, or we prefer our own company, is different for everyone. However, it has been shown that significant leverage for achieving a long, happy, and prosperous life is acquired by engaging in social relationships. (7,8)

#5 Spend Time With Animals

Had your fair share of people already? People who have pets tend to have lower blood pressure, heart rate, and heart-disease risk than those who don’t. Stress relief, improved mental health, and less anxiety and loneliness are all positives of being around animals. (9,10)

It doesn’t matter if it’s a cute kitten, a guinea pig, or a loving dog. Studies have shown it’s the act of caring for a living creature that seems to make a difference in improving our psychological health. The word is out, pets bring joy. (9,10,11)

#6 Be Optimistic, Yet Realistic 

It has been said that realists are happier than optimists. This is because when we optimize too much, we start to fantasize or dream our reality disproportionately.

The theories of happiness can be characterized in three versions: Hedonism, desire, and objective theories: 

  • Hedonism is all about what’s good for ‘me’, in a quick moment. 
  • Desire regards obtaining what we aspire to, our long-term happiness. 
  • In the middle somewhere an objective viewpoint drives a more virtuous life ~ one that gives us well-being and happiness ~ regardless of our disposition in any given moment. (12)

It’s perhaps best to realize that we all have different personalities and that happiness is not a realm of one theory that fits all. It’s also healthy to remember we cannot be happy all of the time.

Ultimate Happiness Tips

A plethora of advice is out there in the quest to find happiness. Exercise, meditation, more sleep, gratitude, healthy eating, breathing techniques, journaling, decluttering, therapy, reflection, forgiveness – it seems that staying happier for longer does require effort! 

But the good news is all the fundamentals we need to land ourselves a sweet life can be ours. We simply need to dare to open our greatest gift, and that is our own happiness.

Sources 

  1. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/4/272.abstract?sid=56b97a4c-0e75-46d0-a6ba-41c7f41a089c nature
  2. https://www.123helpme.com/essay/Ralph-Waldo-Emersons-Nature-168589 Emerson quote
  3. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2017/02/nature-fix-brain-happy-florence-williams/ 
  4. https://www.actionforhappiness.org/10-keys-to-happier-living/have-goals-to-look-forward-to/details 
  5. https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/saying-yes-happiness-means-learning-say-the-things-and-people-that-stress-you-out.html 
  6. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/374630-your-time-is-limited-so-don-t-waste-it-living-someone 
  7. https://home.uni-leipzig.de/diffdiag/pppd/wp-content/uploads/Manuscript-Pursuit-of-Happiness_final.pdf 
  8. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_americans_struggle_to_be_happy 
  9. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1061580031000091582 
  10. https://time.com/collection/guide-to-happiness/4728315/science-says-pet-good-for-mental-health/ 
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26383099/ 11
  12. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01148/full#B17 12

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About Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

Dr. Morgan is an expert in Functional and Integrative Medicine with a Strong Emphasis in stress related illnesses like anxiety and insomnia. In addition to his 20 years of work in Functional Medicine, he has expanded his practice to include work on the deeper aspects of our being that point to the root cause of our illnesses working with Mind Body Wellness, Energy Medicine, and Healing with Consciousness.
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happiness, mental health