How To Be a Happier Person See how setting the right goals and using the right words are the keys to happiness. BY DEBBIE MANDEL
Don't get stuck with your head in the clouds, set goals.
At one point we have all sighed, "Life isn’t fair," to those annoyingly cheerful people in our midst, lucky enough to be genetically hardwired for happiness. No matter what problems land on their doorstep, they resiliently return to their happiness with life’s currents. The joyously surprising revelation I had while cheering up my pessimistic husband—you know what they say, "Stress management begins at home"—is that even if one is born to be sad, characteristics of happy couples can be imitated to change one’s nature. This is a huge emancipation from the leg iron of depression.
What do happy people do? Basically, they are conscientious people working and achieving. They set goals and accomplish them. This is the big secret to happiness: Working towards a goal, achieving it and then moving on to the next goal like a series of small victories—sounds a lot like a well-run marriage.
Many unhappy people commit self-sabotage by setting unrealistic goals or giving up way too soon. Focused on instant mastery, we get discouraged, labeling ourselves as failures with the "I can’t do it mindset," or assuming the victim mentality that other people either stand in our way or will never give us a break.
Feel stuck? Try changing your verbiage. One of my clients used to say, "I’m trying to be more loving to my husband, but it isn’t working." I advised her to change her verbiage from "I’m trying" to "I’m doing." Trying means you are never actually getting there. You’ve got to be more definite. Guess what? Since she changed her words, her marriage has never been better!
Feeling happier in a complicated, stressful world entails returning to basic principles. Here are the seeds that will allow happiness to take root within you and nourish the whole family:
* Know what you bring to the table.
* Set small, manageable goals. Achieve and go on to the next.
* Celebrate each small victory. Instead of focusing on your to-do list, redirect it to your "look-what-I-did" list.
* Connect with your spouse to support your individual goals with leadership and accountability.
* If you are not successful, get a reality check and find out why. Update your skills. Keep growing.
Lastly, get physical. It's no wonder that exercise stands at the core of stress-management and relationships; it is about meeting physical challenges. People who exercise set goals to accomplish. Instead of verbalizing your goals, which invites making excuses, just do it. This is why exercise is a great way to train your brain for ultimate happiness, and it boosts libido too! While you are training your brain through exercise, you are filling a happiness reservoir. Animate your body and you will feel that you have some control over your genetic predisposition—let your legs carry you to happiness you deserve!
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of "Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7Step Program to Reclaim Joy" and "Spontaneity in Life and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul," a stress-reduction specialist and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City which streams live, produces a wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com