The art of happiness may be elusive to some, but research reveals relationships provide the key to happiness. Good relationships have the power to transform your life . . . and make you happier than ever before. If you do nothing but learn how to spice up relationships, you can master happiness.
Whether you live in an apartment, castle, log cabin or a monastery, you're happiness will depend upon the quality of your relationships.
The Enormous Benefits Of Happiness
The benefits of happiness are extraordinary. Happy people are more resistant to pain, they bounce back more quickly from illness and adversity, plus they are more tolerant of life’s bad breaks. Not only do happy people enjoy life more, but they tend to live longer and have more fun than people who rank low in happiness. So learning the art of happiness is a big investment in your future.
In recent studies of trauma victims, happy people developed fewer trauma symptoms than unhappy people. And fewer happy people developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than those who were unhappy.
Who should be concerned about their level of happiness? Everyone! Even a happy person can learn to be happier, and reap more benefits by applying happiness strategies to his/her life. By learning the art of happiness you can be more successful, too. Guess what? Happy people are more successful than unhappy ones, and bring a special passion to their work . . . a passion that clearly shines like a big bright aura whenever they walk into a room.
Tap Into Your Relationships
The art of happiness begins with your relationships. How do you tap into them? Simple steps go a long way . . . let’s go over a few.
1. Pay more attention to your relationships. Start by assessing the quality of your relationships, taking note of the especially good or healthy ones . . . ask yourself what you could do to make each relationship better. Little things really do matter, like sending a card or stopping by a friend’s house for a surprise visit.
2. Now earmark those relationships in need of attention. When I coach people to improve their relationships, I begin with a thorough relational assessment, that helps us to identify problem areas, such as, neglected relationships, and we often work on those first. But you can start without a formal assessment, simply by prioritizing the relationships in greatest need.
3. Decide what to do for each relationship. Here's where the "art" in the art of happiness comes into play . . .
Let’s say you decide to focus on two neglected relationships. You plan on calling one person and offering to take him/her out for a cup of coffee. And you decide to call the other and apologize for your long silence. Now what you do and say (and HOW you say and do it) when you meet each person is absolutely critical. You may want do a good job of catching up and listening with the first, and speaking from your heart with the second. The art of happiness entails honesty and direct communication.
4. It pays to spell it out. Say the words you need to say to bring the relationship back into the light. Saying that you have missed someone, or you want to keep in touch more often in the future can help, but you have to be prepared to follow-though on your promises, too. Don’t get busy and forget about the person right after you meet with him/her! That leads us to the next tip.
5. Stay in touch!
6. Be MORE positive in your relationships and LESS critical. Say positive things, and find the silver lining in every cloud . . . people will want to be around you! Staying positive in creative ways (especially when others have become discouraged and negative) is an integral skill in putting the art of happiness into practice.
7. Avoid blaming others for problems; just get busy solving them, and keep your head up. No one has to take the blame. Everyone can be part of the solution. Staying blame-free is a key piece in the art of happiness puzzle.
Even if you think someone is to blame, no good can come from blaming them. Blame, like criticism, does more harm than good. And it sets the blamer/criticizer up as the superior one . . . which leads to more problems.
8. Have fun doing everything. Bring a playful spirit to your relationships. What a great way to invite a keen sense of excitement into your life!
9. Wield a sense of humor . . . it will make you happier and more successful. Cultivating humor will provide you with a powerful stress tool and keep your spirits up. It will endear others to you. Use a sense of humor lovingly.
10. Grow your gratitude. Recent research has shown gratitude can reduce depression and help overcome negative mental states. People who express gratitude and develop a habit of being more grateful are happier and healthier. Gratitude is one of the world’s greatest healers.
Tweaking or enhancing your stronger relationships can be done by keeping in touch on a regular basis. All you have to do is give a little extra effort to the relationships that are going well. You can deepen, improve or strengthen any good relationship. You probably already know what to do for each one, you just haven’t found time to do it!
You’ll be surprised at how quickly you see improvement in even your most damaged relationships, once you begin to bring some extra attention their way. As you can see, the art of happiness is all about relationships!
Fear can be a monster. Besides the lack of time, the lack of courage keeps people from doing what they know they should do, such as taking steps to make a relationship right that’s gone wrong. Happy people don’t let the fear of rejection or loss of approval keep them from taking action. Say what you want to say. Put your heart out there. Your heart is your secret success weapon. No matter how the other person reacts, once you've spoken from your heart you'll feel good about yourself.
Be there for the people you love. Don't neglect someone who needs you. Go out of your way to cheer someone's spirits. Research shows that giving and serving are pathways to happiness.
When you make a difference, or touch someone's life, you touch your own, too.
Never shy away from expressing gratitude, compassion or love. Research shows how acts of kindness and love make us happy and fulfilled, give meaning to our lives, and enable us to build bridges to the stars.
Increasing your happiness is easy. All you need to do is build good, solid relationships. While it's true that doing work you love and having a pleasant, outgoing personality will lead to happiness, as well, research shows pro-social people are happy people. If you place faith in your relationships and give a little more to each one, you’ll bring greater happiness into your life. Give loads of optimism to your relationships.
Not only does optimism reduce cancer risk, but it leads to happier, more fulfilling relationships.
Invest in your relationships and you’ll soon master the art of happiness . . . and you'll create a great future . . . an exciting future built upon the solid rock of a successful and joyful life.