The Secret to Lasting Happiness

The Secret to Lasting HappinessI had the good fortune of meeting a lovely elderly woman who was celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary. Of course I had to ask:

“What’s the secret to staying happily married as long as you two?”

“Secret?” She laughed. “There’s no secret. A happy marriage is made up of two happy people. We’re just happy people, I guess.”

From the sparkle in her eyes and the laugh lines etched into her skin, I could see the truth of her statement.

As I excused myself to let the lineup of well-wishers behind me have their turn, I smiled to myself at what she’d said. Just be happy. How easy it sounded!

But then the face of a client I’d spoken to earlier in the week flashed before me.

This woman’s face was young and smooth, but her eyes were red from crying. She was desperate to know how to create happiness in her relationship.

“I don’t know what to do to make him happy. I’ve tried and I’ve tried. It would be so different if he made an effort, too. If he tried to make me happy, just a little bit. But I do everything, and he does nothing.”

She believed what most people believe:

That the point of relationships is to make each other happy.

But is it?

What if we’ve got it all wrong?

Research shows the boost in happiness provided by falling in love and getting married doesn’t last. About two years after the wedding, the couple adapts to their new circumstances. They go back to feeling just about as happy as they used to feel.

We’ve all got a baseline level of happiness. That friend of yours who’s always happy will probably wear that smile until the end of her life, even should some misfortune befall her. That friend of yours who’s never happy will probably always be a bit of a grump, even if she wins the lottery.

You can’t shift your baseline level of happiness by winning a fortune or marrying your dream man. It’s a function of your outlook, not your external circumstances.

Or, as I explain it:

Happiness isn’t what you have. Happiness is how you see the world.

So, when a client comes to my office expecting her partner to make her happy—or expecting to be able to make him happy—I have my doubts.

I explain that there’s a better goal than making your partner happy. In fact, if you pursue this goal, you’ll have a happier relationship than if you spent all your time trying to make your partner happy.

Want to know what it is?

Continue reading

You’re Two Minutes Away from Being Happier Right Now

how to be happyYou’ve probably noticed that happiness is a buzz word lately. There are all kinds of happiness studies going on. It’s suddenly the ‘it thing’ to talk about.

Which kind of makes sense. Who doesn’t want to be happier?

Here’s some of what we’ve figured out so far. Happiness isn’t getting everything you want all the time. It’s not even having all your needs met, or never feeling sad.

Instead, happiness has more to do with peace of mind. [i]

Which also makes sense. It’s not possible to be giddy every second of every day. (Besides, how annoying are the people who act like they are?)

Happiness can’t be THAT.

Peace of mind, on the other hand, is possible. Even on a rough day, peace of mind will keep you calm, anchored, and feeling secure.

Think about how epic that would be in your relationship. If you’re happy in your relationship, it means you are at peace in the relationship and you feel content.

You can have a fight…and relax afterward because you know it doesn’t mean he stopped loving you. You don’t have to get everything right all the time to keep him committed. It takes a ton of pressure off, and that makes it easier to actually connect.

And in just 120 seconds, you can be happier.

So, what is this two-minute trick that boosts happiness, and how can you use it to make your relationship better?

Continue reading

A Simple Way to Boost Your Energy and Happiness

boosting energy and happinessI like simple ideas. Especially ones that unlock feelings of joy. Or thoughts that energize you.

Like this thought from Ashley Smith, for example:

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”

This quote is about looking for what’s good. When you look for beauty, you find beauty.

The problem is that it is more common for the human mind to dwell on problems.

Your mind is an excellent problem solver. Your mind tends to obsess about any problem that gets in the way. This can be quite useful unless there is no easy solution, in which case we experience a building feeling of stress as one unsolved problem builds on another.

The solution for boosting energy and happiness is simple.

Our minds can only focus on a very small number of things at once. The more often you purposefully focus your mind on the good things in life, the less mental space is left for your mind to dwell on problems.

The result? You feel happier and your energy level rises.

Happy and energetic women are attractive to men. But even if every man on earth disappeared tomorrow, you would benefit tremendously from the happiness and the higher energy regardless of how it may benefit your dating life.

Let me recap. Living life full of passion is fun. Guys dig it too. You get there by changing the focus of your thoughts. Which brings us to my final, and most important point…

The easiest way to control the focus of your thoughts for boosting energy and happiness is by asking yourself the right questions.

Continue reading