“What Happy People Know…”
I want to be happy! No doubt, you’ve heard these words before. And you have probably have said them yourself more than once.
Happiness = Nirvana. Right? I hear this very phrase from my clients, some of who are at a crossroad and want more from life after years of hard work and sacrifice. Happiness is often at the top of their list.
But what exactly is Happiness? Is it a place, a thing, a relationship, a position, a title, and can you buy it? And why is it so damn elusive at times? Do you have to wait “until X happens” that you be happy, or is it only for some people and not others?
This is a huge topic, I know, one that I have been fascinated with for a long time. Honestly, I’d like a life with as much of “it” as possible. Being happy, after all, is just more fun.
One of my favorite books is by Dr. Dan Baker called “What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better.” Dr. Baker, director of the Life Enhancement Program at Canyon Ranch, has devoted his life to teaching people how to be happy.
From what Dr. Baker reveals, happiness doesn’t come from a life of leisure, status, possessions, financial security, or worldly power. And he says that the most common “happiness traps” are trying to buy it, trying to get it through pleasure, trying to be happy by resolving the past, by overcoming weakness, or by trying to force it. Does this sound familiar to you as it does to me?
What is happiness then? Dr. Baker says start using the tools below and it will give you “a second chance at life.”
Dr. Baker’s Six Happiness Tools*
1. Appreciation. Appreciation is the purest, strongest form of love. Research shows that it’s impossible to be in a state of appreciation and a state of fear at the same time. Thus, appreciation is the antidote to fear.
2. Choice. Choice is the father of freedom and the voice of the heart. Having no choice, or options, feels like being in jail.
3. Personal Power. This is the almost indefinable proactive force, similar to character, that gives you the power over your feelings and power over your fate. Personal power has two components: taking responsibility and taking action.
4. Leading with Your Strengths. Leading with your strengths feels good, and that’s why it works. You’ll never be complete until you learn to lead with your strengths every day.
5. The Power of Language and Stories. We don’t describe the world we see — we see the world we describe. We can tell healthy stories or horror stories, the choice is ours.
6. Multidimensional Living. There are three primary components of life: relationships, health, and purpose (which is usually work). Many people, though, put all their energy into just one area.
My favorite concept within coaching is that there is no perceivable limit to human potential. So, whatever you want starts with you. And once you put your mind to being happy (or anything else you want), step back… because that’s when the “French Doors” of your life fly open and great things begin to happen.
*This list is for those who are mentally healthy and naturally it’s just the tip of the iceberg, but its a good place to start.
(Editors’ Note: Carolyn Paddock writes about products and services that are beneficial for her savvy readers. The products and services mentioned are neither commissioned by nor written in cooperation with the product company or manufacturers.)