Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “Why can’t I find happiness?”
I had a mental meltdown. As I worked at home, I felt overburdened in balancing my work, chores, and family life – all in the same house. I felt like I was running in circles. Each accomplished task felt like an empty victory. There has to be more to life than to do repetitive chores and work.
I asked myself: how can you achieve happiness in any situation?
So I researched and reflected on how and where to find happiness.
Achieving happiness starts with having a positive attitude. To be truly happy, you need to have a healthy attitude towards five key areas in life: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social. Having this will determine your approach to life, health, relationships, and success.
Let’s discover what a positive attitude is and how you can be truly happy.
What Is An Attitude?
You may be tired of hearing, “Chin up. You need to change your attitude.”
Though it is a cliché, it is still true.
But what is an attitude?
Merriam Webster’s definition says that an attitude is:
- A mental position with regard to a fact or state
- A feeling or emotion toward a fact or state
Google defines it as:
a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.
In John Maxwell’s, The Winning Attitude, it is an inward feeling expressed by behavior.
So what do these definitions have in common?
Attitude: Your Thoughts and Emotions
Your attitude is a combination of your thoughts and emotions. This is why true happiness comes from within yourself, not from someone else.
First, your thoughts about the world around you shapes your identity, your choices, and your actions.
Though your thoughts shape your reality, you can choose to view all your circumstances as half-full or half-empty.
Happiness is a choice.
You are responsible for your own happiness; no one else.
Second, your emotions also shape how you view your world.
Often times when I approach a crossroad in my life, one decision feels right while the other seems right.
Have you experienced this too?
In The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Enotes explains that the heart symbolizes the soul, intuition, or the moral compass. Your heart sees what is important, real, and good. The eye refers to your logic. But your eyes can be deceived by outward appearances, superficial traits, and empty goals.
When your decision does not feel right, this means that your heart is giving you a nudge in a different direction that is away from your eyes.
Your mind and your heart must be positively aligned to experience happiness. Otherwise, you will experience a conflict within yourself.
Attitudes Are Expressed In Your Actions
Can you tell the difference between a forced smile and a real one?
Your instincts can tell them apart. They just subtly look different.
You can force a smile. But you cannot force yourself to be happy.
Your mental and emotional attitudes are expressed through your actions.
You can pretend to be happy but it will not last long.
There is no use in masking your mental and emotional attitude from other people. They will not be deceived for long.
What happens within you will affect how you think and how you act. Since actions speak louder than words, your friends can tell when you are “off character.”
For example, if your friends know you to be very funny. But they notice that you stopped smiling or giving a joke, then they might feel that there is “something happening with you.”
What Is A Positive Attitude?
Having a positive attitude is key to finding true happiness within yourself.
But what is a positive attitude?
A healthy mental and emotional attitude is tricky to define because these have different meanings to every person.
In general, you have a positive attitude when you do any of the following:
- You are optimistic. You envision and expect favorable results, while acknowledging difficulties and challenges along your way to success.
- You focus on the opportunities ahead of you, not difficulties or challenges.
- You are willing to learn and try new ideas and skills.
- You choose to see the good in people, while acknowledging their flaws.
- You focus on the bright side of life of your daily life.
- You focus on the good and the accomplishments in your life, rather than the negative and the failures.
- You use the words “I can,” and “It’s possible.”
Do you have a positive attitude? Which of these resonates with you most?
I enjoy writing, photography, and cooking. I started my hobbies with little to knowledge of them. With my “can do” attitude, I taught myself these skills through watching online videos, reading articles, asking professionals, and trial and error.
These give me joy, especially on bad days.
You just need to do one of these traits to start being happy.
Why Is A Positive Attitude Important To Your Happiness?
Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.”
Ford is correct.
How you view and feel the world around you will grow or destroy your happiness. It is up to you whether you want to be happy or miserable.
With a positive attitude, John Maxwell shares how to find happiness within yourself.
1. Your Attitude Determines Your Approach To Life.
When you wake up in the morning, do you say to yourself, “Today will be a great day!” or do you crawl out of bed to prepare for the daily grind?
You get what you project. If your outlook of the world is excellent, you will achieve wonderful results. Feel badly about the world, and it will beat you down.
2. Your Attitude At The Beginning Of A Task Will Affect Its Outcome
This is how your optimism affects your happiness:
Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek says, “Optimism accepts the truth of reality and looks forward to a brighter future.” Optimism is the foundation of hope. And hope keeps us moving forward.”
Have you ever dragged your feet when you had to do a chore that you do not like?
Twice a week, I need to clean my kitchen floor but I do not like mopping.
There is no way around it. I cannot wish the dirt to go away.
But I can make it a little more pleasant.
I need to start with a positive attitude.
I find mopping floors boring. So I play my favorite music to help keep my mind off the drudgery.
I still do not enjoy mopping floors. But at least I enjoy my music while doing it.
Optimism accepts the truth of reality and looks forward to a brighter future.” Optimism is the foundation of hope. And hope keeps us moving forward. – Simon Sinek
3. Your Attitude Is The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
“It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude,” Zig Ziglar once said.
Having a positive attitude helped me stay happy during my fruitful and dark times.
My failures are not the end of the world. They are just an event. It is never personal, unless I let it be.
Thomas Edison had hundreds of experiments to invent the light bulb.
So dust yourself off, stand up, learn from your mistakes, and try again.
Let’s put these together in the Tale of Two Shoe Salesmen.
Once upon a time, a shoe company sent two salesmen to Africa to determine the market potential for their products. One salesman was sent to the east coast of Africa, while the other salesman was sent to the west coast of Africa.
Both the salesmen completed a basic survey of the target market and called back to the office. The salesman sent to the east coast of Africa reported: “No one here wears any shoes, there is no market for us here!”.
The other salesman sent a message “No one here wears any shoes, there is a huge market for us, send inventory fast!”.
4. Your Attitude Can Turn Your Problems Into Blessings
Adversity and opportunity are two sides of the same coin. It depends on which side you are looking at.
Let’s look at The Farmer Story:
There was once a farmer in ancient China who owned a horse. “You are so lucky!” his neighbours told him, “to have a horse to pull the cart for you.” “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
One day he didn’t latch the gate properly and the horse ran off. “Oh no! This is terrible news!” his neighbours cried. “Such terrible misfortune!” “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
A few days later the horse returned, bringing with it six wild horses. “How fantastic! You are so lucky,” his neighbours told him. “Now you are rich!” “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The following week the farmer’s son was breaking-in one of the wild horses when it kicked out and broke his leg. “Oh no!” the neighbours cried, “such bad luck, all over again!” “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
The next day soldiers came and took away all the young men to fight in the war. The farmer’s son was left behind. “You are so lucky!” his neighbours cried. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.
There is no way of completely predicting outcomes or controlling our circumstances. But we can choose how to respond to them.
When you are sad or distressed about a bad situation, you’ll need to step back and take breaths.
Here is how I saw the blessings in my daily commute, before the pandemic:
I took the jam-packed 2-hour bus ride home from work. I would spend most nights standing up with other commuters, elbow-to-elbow.
I do not look forward to these rides. But this does not mean that I cannot make it a bit more pleasant.
I do not use my phone often because there is not enough room in the bus to move my arms.
I use this time to stare out the window and reflect or pray. Sometimes, I play some music on my phone, while wearing earphones. Other times, I people watch and observe little acts of kindness.
There is at least one blessing in every curse. To regain your happiness, you just need to know where to look.
How To Be Happier? Have A Positive Attitude In 5 Key Areas In Life.
The key to having a happier life is having a positive attitude in five key areas in life.
1. Mental Health
John Maxwell said that a hardened attitude is a dreaded disease. It causes a closed mind and a dark future. When your mind is positive and conducive to growth, your mind expands and progress begins.
Having a truly positive mindset is a result of the thoughts you cultivate.
So if you want to be very happy, you need to focus on positive thoughts.
Developing the right thoughts is not about being happy all the time. You should not abandon anything negative or unpleasant in your life.
Having the right mental attitude is about accepting both the good and bad aspects of your life, while choosing to still be optimistic.
It is okay to have bad moods and days.
You are human.
You may not have complete control of your emotions and circumstances. But you can choose to respond with optimism, resilience, and gratitude in any situation.
Whenever I have a bad day, I just listen to relaxing jazz music, take deep breaths, drink refreshing water, and do my hobbies.
Fredrickosn says that having positive thinking and emotions “broadens and builds” our resources and skills. This will eventually open new doors for you.
Michael Jordan did not become Michael Jordan overnight. It took him many years of failures and practice to reach his peak. He was the hardest worker on his team. When losing a crucial game, he would learn from his mistakes, and practice and workout even more.
2. Emotional Health
Your emotions affect your attitude. And your attitude affects your emotions.
When you are angry, do you steep in it?
Or do you let your anger flow through you?
Positive psychologist Barbara Fredrickson says that negative thinking emotions have their place: they allow you to sharpen your focus on dangers, threats, and vulnerabilities for survival. When a lion is about to attack you, you are supposed to be afraid. Your instincts will tell you to fight or run away.
Do not kick yourself when you feel negative emotions. It is part of being human.
Though you cannot completely control your emotions, you can still process it.
Would you like to have your own happy place when dealing with stress?
You do not have to look far. It is within you.
Being mindful is a powerful way to process your emotions and make you happier. It is your ability to be fully present and aware of where you are and what you are doing. This lets you learn to respond wisely to things that happen to you, rather than blindly reacting.
3. Physical Health
Who loves being sick? No one.
Having a positive attitude improves your body in two ways.
First, having a positive outlook in life shapes how you treat your body. When you value your health, you may prioritize eating healthy food and exercising.
When you experience negative emotions, you may binge eat to cope with stress. Stress eating adds more calories to your total intake, which leads to your weight gain.
Also, having a positive attitude toward your body enables you to value exercising. Not only does it make you happier, it has health benefits too. It strengthens your bones and muscles, decreases your risk of heart disease, and helps manage your weight.
Second, having a positive attitude has some health benefits, such as boosting your immune system, decreases stress, reduces your risk of heart diseases, and increases your lifespan.
Looking at the bright side of life helps improve your quality of life while suffering a disease. In 1990, Dr. Wendy Schlessel Harpham and author of Happiness in a Storm: Facing Illness and Embracing Life as a Healthy Survivor was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system. She had 15 years of treatments and eight relapses. Her cancer has been in remission since 2005.
What pushed her to move forward through her ordeal?
She chose to have peace of mind and happiness.
She surrounded herself with positive people, kept a daily gratitude journal, did acts of kindness for others, and watched funny and uplifting movies.
Fostering positive emotions helped make my life the best it could be. “They made the tough times easier, even though they did not make any difference in my cancer cells. – Dr. Harpham
4. Social Life
Robert Waldinger shared the most important key in having happiness.
In 1938, a group of researchers launched a social study that followed 268 male Harvard undergraduates – for 75 years.
Having healthy relationships with family and friends is one the greatest keys to having happiness.
Having a successful career, wealth and health mean nothing means nothing if you do not have supportive, loving relationships with family and friends.
But how can I start and sustain healthy relationships?
Your healthy social life starts with a positive attitude.
Growing up, my father always taught me:
Having one enemy is one too many.
Having the right attitude on your relationships allows you to share happiness with friends and family.
Here are seven positive attitudes to have happier relationships:
All successful relationships are built on respect. Respect means caring about your spouse’s, family’s, and friends’ wants and needs. As your relationship matures, share each other’s boundaries and respect them. And make sure you do not cross these lines when you speak or do something.
Difficult times are the best ways to test your relationships. Your time of need will expose your fair-weather friends, your real friends, and your best friends. If your “friend” leaves when you are in distress, do not sweat it. He or she is not good for you. Those who stick with you at the finish line are your greatest treasures.
If you want to build a stronger positive relationship, show your loved ones and friends know that they are a priority.
Using your phone while conversing with someone is not “quality time.” This is “me time” in front of your family and friends.
When I eat with my family, I always put my phone away and listen to my family share their stories and ideas.
Scrolling through my phone shows that I have better things to do than to be with the person in front of me.
4. Pick Your Battles
Sometimes, getting along is more important than being right. – Honesto General, Sean General’s grandfather.
You will have fights with your loved ones and friends. How you argue is most important.
Be mindful. Take a deep breath.
How serious is this issue? Will it kill you?
If it is petty, then to swallow your pride. Drink a cold glass of water.
If you always insist on being right, then you will run out of friends – fast.
Actions speak louder than words.
But not all actions are equal.
Everyone has their own Love Language.
Some appreciate kind words.
Others want quality time.
And others want gifts.
Take note: your gestures are for the other person, not you.
So you should do or say things according to what your spouse or friends like.
6. Put In The Work
Relationships are like watering plants.
If you do not communicate or spend enough time with your family and friends, your relationship will wilt and fade away.
One phone call is enough to brighten up your friend’s day.
Even with this pandemic, I always make time to chat with my close friends. We share news, and crack jokes.
7. Focus On The Positives
Everyone has bad days.
During tough times, combat all negativity with positivity.
If your spouse is upset, it is best that you listen and support him or her.
Remind him or her of the blessings that you both enjoy.
5. Spiritual Life
When I had my spiritual crisis, I asked myself, “Is working so hard and cleaning the house all there is to life?”
Have you ever felt a void in your heart and asked yourself any of these questions:
- Is this all there is to life?
- What am I working so hard for?
- What is the meaning of my life?
- Why do I feel so empty?
You are not alone in feeling that happiness is unattainable.
People have been asking these questions for thousands of years.
If you are still asking these questions, congratulations!
You are now pursuing Perfect Happiness, which is more than yourself, your friends, and society.
So how can we achieve Perfect Happiness?
Only the “Supreme Being” has Perfect Happiness, Aristotle taught.
We cannot achieve Perfect Happiness on our own because we ourselves are imperfect.
So, we can only achieve Real Happiness through GOD: the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
GOD is not only the source of life, He is the source of all happiness – because He is perfectly good and happy.
Creation of Adam by Michelangelo. From Eclectic Esoterica
This is why your happiness fleeting:
No amount of food, money, dates, and friendships will answer your existential questions. These cannot fill that hole in your heart because it is GOD-Shaped.
But there is hope.
Despite all your troubles, challenges, and heartaches, GOD wants you to be happy.
Only God can you fill that hole, if you allow Him.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3: 5-6
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? – Jesus, Mathew 16:26
You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. – Jesus, Mathew 22: 37-40
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light. – Jesus, Matthew 11: 28-30
Are you ready to have REAL HAPPINESS with Jesus? I am.
You deserve to be TRULY HAPPY!
So let God fill your heart and life with joy!
Achieving real happiness starts with having a positive attitude.
Your attitude is a combination of your perception of the world around you and how you feel about any issue.
Have a positive outlook in life.
This will determine your approach to five key areas in life: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social.
So with your positive approach to life, turn your challenges into blessings.
And once you have it,
Let’s share Real Happiness!
Featured Image: Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash