We all know there are several things we can do to help us be happier in life such as think positively and smile as often as possible. However, evidence now shows you can literally be TAUGHT how to be happy.
For the Spring semester at Yale University, a professor named Laurie Santos taught a class called Psychology and the Good Life for the first time. She felt that students on campus needed a way to deal with everyday stress that comes with being a student and also just living life in general. Little did she know this class would end up being the most popular class ever offered at Yale.
I came across this class while reading an article about happiness (my favorite topic) and saw that a version of it was available for free (yes, free) on Coursera, so I decided to take it myself. I have not yet completed it, but I can already see that it contains valuable information that will make my life better. Hence, I am sharing it with you. (For more about how to be happy, see How To Write Precise Affirmations For Success.)
So far this class has really appealed to the learner in me as I have a background in both Psychology and Education. The science behind it cannot be disputed and the behavior changes needed to make the change are free – just like the class. There is literally nothing to lose by trying it.
In fact, it would be irresponsible of us to pass up a free resource that will enhance our lives, so please join me in the new journey of (even more) happiness!
Click here to access Psychology and the Good Life for free.
Note: When you finish each module, it will pop up a screen asking if you want to purchase the paid version of the class. Simply, swipe to the right to return to the next module. (Or you can purchase the class if you choose to do so.)
Stop Doubting and Start Living
Stop doubting and start living your life. There….I said it.
This is the best advice I have ever been given in my life, but it is easier said than done, right? Like many people I find myself “waiting” to be happy. You know what I mean…..when I reach this goal I will be happy or when this thing happens I will be happy. Meanwhile, I doubt every single decision I make.
If you are like me, then we are both guilty of a fundamental flaw: wanting to enjoy the outcome, not the journey.
Doubt often makes us think that we must wait for the outcome of everything to be sure we deserve to be happy. Does this sound familiar?
Think about it: if we truly take this way of thinking all the way…..well, we won’t be happy until we are dead because that’s when the journey ends. Very dismal when you think about it that way, right?
News flash: We all deserve to be happy. Every single one of us.
But in this world of fast=-paced stress and responsibilities it is difficult to enjoy everyday life. In fact, it is almost impossible at times. So you are probably asking, “How am I supposed to enjoy this job that I hate?” or “How do I know that I am making the right decisions for my children? ”
I hear you loud and clear. Trust me. I do.
I know this will sound a little weird, but here is my personal list that has helped me.
Learn to Stop and Monitor
This is something meditation gurus will tell you all day long, but for some reason I have finally been able to incorporate it into my daily life. This simply means to stop and pay attention to how you are feeling. I take a deep breath and pay attention as I blow it out. I also take that moment to stand up straight and put my shoulders back. These actions do two things: relax my whole body and give me a boost of confidence.
By doing this I focus my attention on my internal self instead of the things going on around me. That is quite powerful.
In fact, it causes me to realize that even if I make a wrong decision things will still be alright.
And after years of stress and anxiety, I finally decided to stop making life harder than it really is. (I learned this by watching my husband who is disgustingly cool and unstressed about EVERYTHING.)
Get Real Rest
First of all, let me say I am not an advocate for taking sleeping aids. However, with that being said I have found that taking melatonin at night gives me an amazing night of rest and completely makes a difference in the whole next day.
If fact, I usually have less anxiety and stress all day (which is a feat for me) and this causes me to have a more positive outlook and not second guess everything I do.
Melatonin is actually a naturally occurring substance that we all have in our bodies, but some of us don’t make as much as we might need. This is where a good supplement can help. This is not habit forming and is often prescribed to help children sleep by pediatricians.
Check for Deficiencies
This often has to be done by trial and error. If you have particular mental or physical problems or issues, do some research on what might be the root of it all. For example, I have had neck problems for years along with migraines and other headaches. Because these were daily issues for me, it lead to anxiety because I felt so bad for so much of my life. But simply by discovering I had a magnesium deficiency I have been able to dramatically change my daily life.
Many deficiencies (such a magnesium) are difficult to diagnose because they are not detectable by a blood test. You might need to do extensive research to pinpoint a possible issue. I found that digging deep into forums brought the answer I was looking for. From there I simply tried a good supplement and increased magnesium rich foods in my diet.
Get a Pet
Have you ever heard that pet people are happy people? Well, it’s true.
Research has proved time and time again that having a furry friend helps relive stress and makes humans more relaxed. I think it has something to do with the unconditional love our pets give us (assuming you get THAT kind of pet) and their lack of demands on our lives. They are simply there to love and worship us. What’s not to love about that?
We recently got two dogs. We’ve had many other pets over the years, but dogs were off limits because one of our children happened to be very allergic to them. However, he eventually outgrew that allergy and now we could not imagine being without our furry family members.
I believe getting these dogs increased the quality of all our lives. There’s always someone waiting at the door who’s happy to see us when we come home. That would life anyone’s spirits. And I also think it helps humans to realize that big problems often aren’t as big as we think.
Decide the Worst That Can Happen
I think this one has saved my life countless time (figuratively speaking).
When I am worried and doubting the outcome of something I often sit down and think, “What’s the worst that can happen?” I will often discover that the worst case scenario isn’t nearly as bad as I have assumed it would be.
And usually I can’t change the outcome of a situation even if it was potentially bad, so why worry about something you can’t change anyway?
I have a friend who loves to say “suck it up, buttercup”. That is good advice if you can do it, but for the rest of us there are ways to move forward in life without doubt and despair.
I hope these recommendations will help you move forward in life with a positive and determined outlook. You deserve to stop doubting and start living, so why not begin today?