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Don’t Worry – Be Happy

be happy

Are you still waiting for your circumstances to change before you’ll allow yourself to be happy?  Most of us have preconceived ideas of what would make us happy, and we refuse to be satisfied until those things happen.

The problem with this pattern of thinking is that, even if those specific things happen in our lives, we’re rarely satisfied with them!  Instead, we shift our focus to something even bigger and better, believing “it” will make us happy (or happier).  We never allow ourselves to reach a point of contentment.  Have you done the same thing to yourself?

Be happy NOW!

The good news is that you can decide to be happy NOW – even if everything in your life isn’t perfect.  Below you’ll find 3 easy ways to do so:

1) Be grateful. Gratitude is one of the most powerful states of mind that you can adopt.  Not only does it make you feel good, it shifts your focus from what you don’t have to what you DO have, and keeps it there!  As you focus more on what you are grateful to have in your life (even the really small blessings!), you worry less about anything that may be lacking.  The result?  A more pervasive sense of happiness!

2) Take time to smell the roses.  If you spend most of your days feeling rushed and scattered, it’s hard to feel happy and content.  In order to be truly happy now, you need to make time for yourself to relax, dream, and take pleasure in life’s simpler moments.  Beginning today, make sure to spend time doing things you love on a regular basis.  Read a book that stimulates your imagination; listen to music you love; take long walks, and allow yourself to enjoy your life as it is right now.

3) Love the journey. Many of us make the mistake of pinning all of our expectations on some vague, far-off result, like the completion of goals.  We believe that once we “get there” everything will be perfect and we’ll finally be happy.  However, there is much to be gained from enjoying the journey toward your destination!  Make it your mission to revel in every moment that you’re moving toward a higher goal.  Enjoy the sense of growing self-mastery and accomplishment you gain with every goal you achieve.  Make it a worthwhile journey and you’ll savor the end result that much more!

Make a choice to be happy now!

The most important thing to understand about happiness is that it is largely a CHOICE you make from moment to moment.  Though certain serious situations make it difficult to feel happy at times, most often we allow the little things to bother us and block any happiness we would otherwise feel.  Embrace happiness, and it will grow to incredible proportions in your life!

What makes you feel happy right now?
Have you made the decision to be happy?
The lines are open!

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50 Comments

  1. John Rocheleau July 13, 2010 Reply

    Happiness is a simple thing. It is a yellow flower on a sunny day. It is a smile from the heart. Happiness is knowing that the sun shines on your love.

    Happiness just is. Simple. We can choose it if we wish.

    Smiles,
    John

    • So right John. Everybody talks about the pursuit of happiness and thinks of this illusive, had to find emotion. If we think we need to pursue it then chances are we will never find it.

  2. Uzm July 13, 2010 Reply

    Yup, so true. Its all here now. Something I try and find useful is to list the things I am grateful for and the worry lessens. Lovely the simplicity of this post. Thanks for sharing

    • Hi Uzm, indeed, gratitude is a direct link to happiness. If we aren’t grateful for our blessings now, we probably never will be until we decide to change our mindset.

  3. Karen July 13, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    I couldn’t agree more that being happy is a choice and at any time we can change our mindset to one of happiness and gratitude.

    In fact, I just wrote an article called 100 Things That Make Me Happy. I suggest your readers do the same when they want to be happy, too.

    Karen

  4. Excellent suggestion Karen, Making a list shifts our focus toward gratitude. It can be a real wake-up call when we discover all the happy things we may have been taking for granted.

    By the way, your list was great.

  5. Marko July 13, 2010 Reply

    Today I saw a forum post of a guy who dreamed that he betrayed his family because he does not work enough. Then he vowed to work harder. And to find a productivity system. I was thinking about this guy. He did not need a productivity system. He need to find inner peace. He need a CHOICE, as you said…

    Often I find myself in a similar matter. We all do it… And we can come out of that bad mood… But it has to be a choice!

    Nice post Jonathan…

    • Hi Marko, so many thing come down to making a choice. When we choose to focus on blessings we feel happy. When we focus on what we don’t have, we start to believe that that missing thing is the key to our happiness. Which of course, it never is.

  6. Sandra Lee July 13, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, This is exactly what I needed to hear this very moment. The wonders of synchronicity! Thank you.

  7. Hey Jonathan, perfect and timely as always. It’s as easy as identifying that space between stimulus and response then through volition making that decision. Totally precise!

    • Hi Amit, I think we need to work at widening that space sometimes. If we can delay our reaction time a bit, it becomes much easier to respond from the desired space.

  8. Stan Young July 13, 2010 Reply

    Hey Jonathan
    The title hooked me straight in, you have covered this subject beautifully I am guilty of many of the things you discussed always looking for the next thing to gain pleasure from instead of appreciating the journey and the things I already have around me. The key word of having a choice to be happy has really hit the mark. Just reading your artical has really made me feel good Thanks for the great post.

    • Hi Stan, thanks for your kind words. I think these traps that we all slip into on occasion. So we reign ourselves back and think about all that we are grateful for. We’re all a work in progress my friend, so don’t feel like the lone ranger.

  9. Farouk July 14, 2010 Reply

    yes i agree with you that one should break the cycle of work/routine in order to start enjoying his time, so true

    • Hey Farouk, even though we all agree on that point, I think we all struggle with it from time to time. These article remind us all (including me) to continue to seek balance in all things.

  10. Farnoosh July 14, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, you have no doubt heard the song “Don’t worry Be Happy” – I had a tall English teacher from Britain in my first English class in Turkey and he would whistle and sing that song. I can’t help but associate the two. At the time, it got on my nerves (not because of his singing but because my English wasn’t good enough to understand all the lyrics…oh so many ages ago) but now I smile because you are taking me back to those days….:)

    • Hi Farnoosh, I had that song in my head when I wrote this. It’s a happy little tune. Listening to your podcast it is unimaginable that you ever struggled with English. Even your accent sounds English (as in from England).

      • Farnoosh July 14, 2010 Reply

        Best compliment…..And my French sounds like a Parisienne (A French woman), I promise you. I have had French people in Paris admit it :) ! Thank you for making my day! All smiles now…

  11. Nea July 14, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jonathan. I love what you said about enjoying the journey. I think that is really the key to happiness–and to living life to the fullest. Life is about all of those moments in between goals. We just have to keep things in perspective while on the path.

    • Hi Nea, yes, we are mostly in betweeners. We may pause along the way but we spend the vast majority of our time actively moving, growing, learning, discovering. When find joy in all those things we are happy most of the time.

      I really appreciate your comments Nea. Thank you for the kind support.

  12. jackie July 15, 2010 Reply

    being happy is a state of being :)

    To be happy is a decision… If you choose to be that way, despite any circumstances, then who can stop you :)

    • Hi Jackie, that’s exactly right. The only person who can make us happy is us. Once we make that decision we also tend to find greater joy in our relationships with other people as well.

  13. Hey Jonathan, you can choose to be happier no matter what. Changing your thoughts can’t help but change the way you feel. But some people are naturally happier than others, it’s part of your makeup.

    I’m not a naturally happy person, but I’ve found the simplest way to be happy is to do things that provide genuine pleasure. Doing things that make you happy seems so obvious, but it’s something that a lot of people just don’t do. They don’t take they time to reflect on what produces true happiness and joy in their life.

    “Beginning today, make sure to spend time doing things you love on a regular basis.”

    So simple and yet so often overlooked.

    • Hi Stephen, seems that the simple solutions are often the most overlooked. We owe it to ourselves to do things that we enjoy. We are all deserving of such pleasures. It’s a matter of spending some of our precious time on happy stuff.

  14. Robin Easton July 18, 2010 Reply

    Dear Jonathan, this is a beautiful post, and very simply expressed, in a sweet poignant way. It reaches the heart.

    It’s funny my husband and I were just talking about this very thing, early this morning. So this was good confirmation and reminder.

    It’s easy to be happy when things are easeful, but we can, as you say, learn to “choose” happiness even in the hardest most dire times. In fact, I think if we can choose happiness even in dire times, we BECOME happiness, or it becomes the focus of our lives, the thing we always try to keep front and center, at ALL times. Doing this also keeps us more firmly living “the journey” and not just waiting for the out come (and a positive one at that). Not that we can’t set goals and do our best, but there is a bigger picture.

    Hope this makes sense. :)
    Lovely feeling to this post.
    Hugs,
    Robin

    • Hi Robin, it is said that there is one major difference between happy people and unhappy people, and it’s got very little to do with their circumstances.

      Happy people take all of their blessings and hold them close mentally. Right in the front of their minds as it were. At the same time, they push there uncomfortable experiences way into the background.

      Unhappy people do the reverse. They push their blessings into the background (making them insignificant), and keep their pain and suffering front and center.

      In both cases, it’s focus and perspective that determines the level of happiness. And focus is a choice.

      • Robin Easton July 18, 2010 Reply

        Wow!! That is soooo well worded Jonathan, brilliant, because sometimes we are taught by teachers, parents, “the church”, the psych world, etc., that we “should” focus on our pain and suffering or we are being negligent if we choose happiness AND that we “should” suffer because we are not worthy of happiness and joy. OR that we are being flaky and unrealistic or Pollyanna-ish if we hold our blessings front and center. When I was younger I was often called a Pollyanna, but later when I claimed who I am, I took it as a WONDERFUL compliment!! LOL!! I still do today. But interestingly, the world is changing and I rarely am called that anymore. And I’m probably more positive now than then ever.

        SO the point being, that what you wrote here gives to those who “take all of their blessings and hold them close mentally” permission to do so. That is fabulous!!! YES!

        Because we choose happiness does not mean that we are ignorant to what might be. In fact, I think it allows us to better deal with “what might be”.

        Bless you my friend.
        Thank you SO much,
        Robin

        • As I read your reply I got this mental image “Pollyanna meets Crocodile Dundee.” Came up with Crocoanna, AKA Rainforest Robin!

          The full spectrum of life happens to us all. We choose which images to keep in our mental scrapbooks. Why would we want to collect the ugly ones? The images we choose direct our focus. Put the ugly ones in the trash and collect the ones that make you smile. That’s what we do with literal photographs. I’ve never had anyone hand me a photo album and say “here’s a collection of my worst pictures ever.” So why would we do that with our life? Go figure!

      • Sue Alexander May 6, 2011 Reply

        Hi Jonathan,
        I truly enjoyed reading your post first thing this morning. Excellent perspective, and this comment “Happy people take all of their blessings and hold them close mentally. Right in the front of their minds as it were.” … I love that! When I find myself dwelling on negative thoughts, I have to tell myself to Stop and pull my gratitude back up. It also helps if I vocalize my gratitude with someone. Thanks for the inspiration :~)
        Sue

        • Hi Sue and welcome to Advanced Life Skills. Like so many other aspects of life, happiness is a perspective thing. We can influence that perspective by making choices about what we allow ourselves to focus on. And yes, expressing gratitude is a powerful way to reinforce a thankful attitude.

  15. Robin Easton July 18, 2010 Reply

    I am laughing my derriere off!! Oh my word! Wish you could hear me howling. LOLOLOLOL!!!

    I have NEVER in all my life heard such a GREAT example or analogy or whatever it’s called. It is fabulous, and one you HAVE to put in a book!! I’m serious, because NO one will forget it. I wish it was mine! LOL!! There are a few people I am going to have to say, go read what Jonathan wrote.

    It should be a whole post on it’s own. It’s is fabulous. If you don’t want it on your site, I’ll put it as your guest post on mine sometime.

    You made my day! :)

    • I knew you would be able to fully visualize it. Made me laugh and I’m glad you found it entertaining. And now: Your next assignment, should you choose to accept it (music goes here) is to write the movie script for, and star in “Pollyanna meets Crocodile Dundee.” Filmed on location of course. This could be your ticket back to your beloved rainforest.

      • Robin Easton July 19, 2010 Reply

        Of course I laughed out loud reading this!!! Who wouldn’t?!!! :) :) I have such a vivid imagination, at times TOO vivid, that the imagery is taken straight out of my childhood book “Pollyanna”, and the Paul Hogan movies (“This is a KNIFE!” – remember that scene?) LOLOLOL!!!. I’m sitting here laughing my head off just thinking about it. Sometime when I meet you guys in person I’ll have to tell you a story about this. ;)

        And YES, “filmed on location”. OF COURSE!!!! You can be the bush pilot who flies us all in. LOL!!

        Okay, I’m outta here! What a way to start my day! Laughing all the way!!! :)

  16. Frank July 19, 2010 Reply

    It is so refreshing to read this post today. Last week was a bit of a challenging week for myself. It seemed like it was my week to get picked on. Instead of complaining I just chose to keep smiling and not let some situations steal my joy. Thanks for your words of inspiration an insight. My personal story is linked below.

    • Hey Frank, way to rise above the static. Your efforts show that we can own our feelings if we are willing to accept that responsibility.

  17. Syed Arif December 19, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan,you are amazing ,you made my day. After reading your post I started to learn how to be happier. I wish you had been one of my teachers, then I would not have suffered unhappiness.

    • Thank you for the kind words Syed. Since life is an ongoing learning process we can always benefit from new information. Especially the life skills that help us live better lives.

  18. judy Belmont February 8, 2013 Reply

    Nice post Jonathan! Love the sunflower metaphor – That is my website metaphor so had to comment! Lovely post and uplifting!

  19. Mary Wilding February 12, 2013 Reply

    Happiness is very relative it seems. Luckily I grew up with very loving parents who showed me a great example on what it meant for them to be happy in this life. Much like your article, happiness was in the simple things for them…being together around the dinner table or doing small random acts of kindness for each other. Those are the things that I have learned to utilize in my life to this day!

  20. david March 1, 2013 Reply

    Happy, on an empty stomach? It’s tough to be happy when you’ve been jobless for awhile. Most of us in Africa know nothing but poverty, endless poverty. Life is difficult to appreciate when you lack even the basic things.

    • Hi David, yes, adverse circumstances do make it more difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Amazingly, there have been individuals who have gone through unbelievably tough situations (like the Nazi concentration camps) and still kept their sense of inner joy. Difficult? Yes, but not impossible!

  21. Naidoo May 10, 2014 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, very inspirational in every article I am gone through. There is so much commonality in the way I feel and and think to advice you provide. I could not agree with you anymore on the the note that we do tend to take our blessings for granted and focus on the negative aspects of life. Speaking about myself, life has become so challenging, the feeling of being unwanted and unloved was killing me. With all the things I do and still not being unappreciated. Yes, your article has shifted my feelings and given me new direction and hope, Thank you very much.

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