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Six Tools for Happiness

Six Tools for Happiness

We all want to be happy, but most of us are trapped by ways of thinking and behaving that seem to keep us perpetually dissatisfied.

But there are six simple tools that will help us to be truly, deeply happy. Find out what they are:

1. Appreciation.
This is the first and most fundamental happiness tool. Appreciation is the purest, strongest form of love. It is the outward-bound kind of love that asks for nothing and gives everything. Research now shows that it is physiologically 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 root of freedom and the voice of the heart. Having no choices, or options, feels like being in jail. It leads to depression, anxiety, and the condition called learned helplessness. Choice can even govern perception. Anyone can choose the course of their lives, but only happy people do it.

3. Personal power
This is the almost indefinable proactive force, similar to character, that gives you power over your feelings and power over your fate. Personal power has two components: taking responsibility and taking action. It means realizing that your life belongs to you and you alone, and then doing something about it. Personal power keeps you from being a victim.

4. Leading with your strengths.
When you give in to the automatic fear reaction, it makes you focus on your weaknesses, which only reinforces your fear. But when you take the path of the intellect and spirit, you naturally begin to focus on your strengths–and start to solve your situation. People often think that fixing their weaknesses will save them, but it rarely works. Itís just too painful. Leading with your strengths feels good, and thatís why it works. Simple but true.

5. The power of language and stories.
We donít describe the world we see–we see the world we describe. Language, as the single most fundamental force of the human intellect, has the power to alter perception. We think in words, and these words have the power to limit us or to set us free; they can frighten us or evoke our courage. Similarly, the stories we tell ourselves about our own lives eventually become our lives. 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. The most common choice is work, because work best assuages our survival fears of not having enough and not being enough. Other people become obsessed with relationships (because relationship is another word for love), and some people limit their lives in the name of longevity. None of this works. Happiness comes from a full life.

Read more: Spirit, Inspiration, Self-Help

Adapted from What Happy People Know, by Dan Baker, Ph.D. and Cameron Stauth (Rodale Press, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Dan Baker, Ph.D. and Cameron Stauth. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from What Happy People Know, by Dan Baker, Ph.D. and Cameron Stauth (Rodale Press, 2003).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

49 comments

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7:19AM PDT on Apr 26, 2013

great plan

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

To continue with my previous comment below:

However, most of us can find something, somewhere to continue onwards and hopefully upwards to a fulfilling life where we find contentment much of the time.

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Living a balanced life certainly does help bring out the positive. When one is feeling down and even if not a daily Gratitude Journal can help keep one going, even if only one thing can be written down ~ at least it is a start to help appreciate some of the richness of one's daily existence.

I do have a problem with the "Anyone can choose the course of their lives, but only happy people do it." Assuming this article applies only to adults where children who live with sexual or physical abuse have no choice in the matter...there are many circumstances where poverty or living with an abusive partner until one is able to make an escape...where choice is not always yours to make.

Obviously happy people have far more choice options available in the course of their lives. Often it takes years before some can aspire to change the course of their abusive lives as not all can escape a violent partner immediately as it can take months or years of planning. In a less desperate situation finding a job where for instance one can truly grow, love and appreciate. All of these make the combinations of three to six more attainable.

The sixth tool what we all desire most to have in life, where 1-5 have combined act to nourish us in a life which is balanced and content for the most part. It may take a long struggle to get there and sadly there are some who cannot for whatever reason reach this stage. However, most of us can find something, somewhere to continue onwards and hopef

12:16PM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Thank you. Wonderful ideas.

12:30PM PDT on Mar 22, 2012

thank u

3:54PM PST on Feb 13, 2012

thank you for sharing!

8:24AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

# 5 really resonated with me.

9:49AM PST on Dec 19, 2011

Thanks !

5:30AM PDT on Aug 18, 2011

thanks all good points

11:39PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

thanks for sharing.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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