Numerous gurus and therapists have attempted to solve the illusive challenge of contentment. Preston Ni, M.S.B.A., writing for Psychology Today, is among the latest to take on the subject by exposing the typical habits of unhappy people.
Ni starts by discussing negative assumptions about situations and people, neither of which are inherently good or bad.
“This choice [of viewpoint] can instantly make you stronger or weaker, happier or gloomier, empowered or victimized,” Ni believes. For example, a long driving commute, while potentially inconvenient, can be a good excuse to listen to new music or an audiobook.
A person practicing negative self-talk on a regular basis hinders the pursuit of happiness, “diminishing our performance, lowering our potential, and ultimately sabotaging our success.” This practice also prevents individuals from taking responsibility for their experiences and actions. While a bad home life, economic challenges, health problems and other life roadblocks can create detours, it doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a way to move forward, Ni says. He also advises people to not use circumstances as an excuse for consistently embracing unhappiness. Bitterness, resentment and powerlessness hurts the thinker as much as those around him or her.
Positive thinking has a basis in a more happy and productive life, not to mention better physical health. Numerous studies, such as one from the Institute of Behavioral Sciences in Siena, Italy, confirm the benefits as including “adaptive behaviors, cognitive responses, greater flexibility and efficient elaboration of negative information.”
Jonathon Alpert, a licensed psychotherapist and author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days,” provides an additional perspective to the issue of obtaining happy habits.
Support positive and warm people and expect the same from them, Alpert suggests. This behavior will create a self-sustaining cycle that facilitates happiness. Include an attitude of giving can also support this system in the form of compliments or small gifts when appropriate.
Alpert advises individuals to focus on what is in their control rather than what is not. While the advice is well-worn and easier said than done, Alpert warns doing otherwise can lead to constant anxiety overwhelming the concrete, positive elements in life. Holding on to grudges also hurts the present and dealing with them should be a priority.