40 Questions We’re Afraid to Ask — #35
We hear it all the time . . . “How ya doin’?” . . . “Fine!” . . . “Great! How are you?”
I may even say this to myself. But am I really “fine . . . great . . .”, or am I just telling myself this because this is how I’d like to be? Am I actually happy with my life?
It always gets me when I read stuff like “studies show” or “research indicates” and what these studies are showing are simply reminders of what we already know deep inside.
For example, I came across a USAToday article from 2002 entitled, “Psychologists now know what makes people happy”. I have to admit I’m usually leery of what psychologist have to say, but this article hit the nail right on that ol’ proverbial head. Here are some excerpts:
“The happiest people surround themselves with family and friends, don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses next door, lose themselves in daily activities and, most important, forgive easily.”
“The happiest people spend the least time alone. They pursue personal growth and intimacy; they judge themselves by their own yardsticks, never against what others do or have.”
“Life satisfaction occurs most often when people are engaged in absorbing activities that cause them to forget themselves, lose track of time and stop worrying.”
The article also talks about “living in the flow” and using our “signature strengths”
Endless articles list certain habits and traits of happy people, such as . . .
nice . . . honest . . . cooperative . . . good listeners . . . smiling . . . spontaneous . . . expect less . . . give more . . . surround themselves with other happy people . . . love deep conversation . . . non-judgmental . . . appreciate life . . . don’t sweat the small stuff . . . considerate . . . creative . . . do what they love . . . laugh . . . forgive . . . express gratitude . . . meditate . . . optimistic . . . love unconditionally . . . proactive . . . self care . . . responsible . . . confident . . .
Notice . . . not one of these descriptions has anything to do with professional or material success. In fact, too much material success can actually have a negative effect on one’s happiness if not kept in balance with other aspects of one’s life.
How happy are you? Are you actually happy with your life?
Dr. Robert Holden, author of numerous books, including Happiness Now!, Be Happy and Shift Happens, has created the “Be Happy Index” (or BHI), a test that he uses in his eight-week Be Happy program, which was famously tested by independent scientists for the BBC documentary How to Be Happy. Scientists described the program as “a genuine fast track to happiness that not only changes the way you feel, but also changes the way your brain functions.” The simple test is a way to check your own “Be Happy Index” and give you some ideas on where to increase your personal level of happiness.
Don’t worry . . . there aren’t any catches here, nothing being sold, nobody but you gets the results, you’re not putting yourself on some mailing list . . . just take the test and have and see where you are on the “happy with my life” scale.
Here’s to a life of happiness and endless passion!