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Popular Articles

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Happiness is An Attitude

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

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Choosing Happiness

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

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Choosing Happiness
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This audio teaches you about the obstacles to happiness. The more you learn about what gets in the way of creating the conditions for happiness in your life, you can begin to make changes.

Although this audio can be used for educational purposes, it is meant to be listened to repeatedly to help change some of the thinking that creates obstacles to happiness. The more you listen to it, the more likely you are to begin incorporating the methods into your daily life. As you listen to it you will begin to make plans about what you need to do to change your life.

This audio is best when listening to it in a relaxed state. However, it is not deep relaxation and can be listened to while doing other things.

Transcript: Choosing Happiness
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This audio is to help you address obstacles to your happiness. Many of the obstacles to happiness that people experience are due to how people think about happiness and what creates happiness. By understanding happiness and your thinking about it, you will be better able to create the conditions for happiness.

It is important first to recognize what happiness is NOT. Many people equate happiness with having what they want in life whether that is money, a love relationship, a satisfying career, many friends, removal of suffering or whatever else people can desire. But happiness doesn't come from having what you want. If it did there would probably be few happy people because life doesn't conform to expectations. Demanding life be what you want is likely to make you less happy.

This includes demanding that you should have a happy life. Such a demand will lead to unhappiness because nothing can ever measure up to the demand. However, when you let go of demands you can develop the conditions for happiness. The first step to developing the conditions for happiness is to let go of the NEED to be happy. In other words, you can desire to be happy and you can strive for happiness, but to find happiness, you must not seek it!

I know that may not make sense to some, but it is the truth. The harder you try to find happiness, the more elusive it becomes. As Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

So the key to happiness is to learn how to develop the conditions so that happiness can find you instead of pursuing it.

It may be difficult to believe that you don't NEED to be happy. But the more that you believe that you can be okay even if you aren't happy, the less demand you are placing on life. Now, this doesn't mean you don't care about anything. You can still strive towards meaningful goals but you don't pursue those goals with the purpose of achieving happiness. Instead, you are developing a mindful attitude of living.

Developing a mindful approach towards life allows you to fully experience and appreciate all that life offers, not just what YOU want it to be. A mindful approach means focusing on the present instead of waiting for a future that may never come or dwelling on the past. With a mindful approach to life, you are less likely to miss the opportunities that life has in store for you. Sometimes people become so focused on their demands for life, that they don't see what life can be. Don't let this happen to you! Let yourself be present to experience life rather than try to force life into some image you have created. You may be surprised at what life can show you.

Happiness IS a choice. It is a choice that you make every day. But it is a choice about how you will LIVE your life. It is NOT just about being in a positive mood. It is about choosing your attitude towards life so that you focus on what truly creates contentment and satisfaction. Demand does not create these feelings. Some people are afraid to let go of demand because they believe these demands drive them to achieve and without them they will do nothing. However, the reality is that truly happy people achieve much. But what they achieve may not always be tangible to others. What people do to create the conditions of happiness and what they achieve is unique to each person.

Happy people usually have a sense of purpose. They focus on something that provides meaning to them. Often, although not always, the sense of purpose provides service to others as well. The more you focus your life on creating meaning for yourself, on pursuing your passion, on YOUR sense of purpose, the more you create the conditions for happiness.

Recognize, too, that even painful experiences of life can present you with opportunities if you can allow yourself to fully experience and learn from them. Happiness means that you have the full range of your emotions, not just positive ones. Emotions are part of the information we obtain from the world around us. If we don't experience and listen to our emotions, we are approaching life with limited information. Our intellect is important, too, but we need all the information we can obtain.

Therefore, don't avoid or diminish your emotions just because they might not feel good. This doesn't mean that you should act based on emotions but USE the information from the emotions to help with an intellectual assessment. If you learn to fully pay attention to this information from your emotions, you will make better decisions and create the conditions for happiness in your life. Because happy people use emotions with a purpose. They don't avoid them because they are uncomfortable. But they also don't dwell on them needlessly.

So, learn to use your emotions purposefully. If you are angry, recognizing your anger and the cause helps you to develop a solution to the problem. If you are sad, allowing yourself to grieve helps you find resolution. If you are anxious, knowing the cause helps you assess the situation and develop a plan.

Happy people are problem-solvers. They believe that their efforts will make a difference. And because they believe that they are more likely to make an effort, they try and find a solution. And because they try, they have a higher likelihood of finding a solution. So although they have the same life circumstances and random negative events as others, they create more positive experiences in their lives because of this attitude.

The more you believe in possibilities in your life, the more likely you will find those possibilities. Don't listen to discouragement from others. Believe in yourself and pursue opportunities. The more you actively problem-solve and develop goals and believe in your ability to attain these goals, the more likely you will. But more than that, you create the conditions for happiness.

Happy people tend to affiliate with others. Generally, they are trusting of others but because they have access to their emotions they can evaluate when to give trust. They don't focus on what others can do for them but they focus on what they can do for others. A happy person wants others to be happy, too. They have compassion for others and are able to recognize that people don't have to be perfect to have value—that each person, no matter the flaws, has value.

Focus on developing an attitude of loving kindness and compassion towards others. Such an attitude reaps immense rewards. The more you focus on creating happiness for others, the more you receive in return. However, you can't give to others to get the rewards. Giving needs to be without any expectation in return. As I said earlier, any demand, expectation, is only likely to lead to disappointment.

Happiness is not competitive although a happy person may compete. When a happy person competes, they want their competitors to be at their best. They see competition as a way for everyone to become better, not as a way of feeling superior to someone else. In fact, they take failure in stride as a way to learn, not as something to feel bad about. They enjoy competing against people who are better than them because of this opportunity to learn.

Focus on being your best at whatever you do, but don't focus on outcome. Evaluate yourself based on how you strive, not on what you achieve. Outcome is momentary. It may be nice to experience that joy of success, but it will not provide happiness. Focusing on the PROCESS of striving, of trying, leads to longer-lasting contentment and satisfaction.

Happy people don't focus on seeking the approval of others. Since they can be content with themselves as they are, they don't NEED others to tell them they are okay. And because they can accept themselves, they are more accepting of others, even their flaws. So, recognize that you can be content with yourself. You can still strive to improve yourself. But THAT is best achieved by focusing on the desire to improve rather than a demand. Demands are discouraging, not motivating.

Another important condition for happiness is your health. The more you strive to take care of yourself physically, the more likely happiness will find you. Your body is like a machine. If you don't take care of it, it will break down and won't work efficiently. Learn to appreciate and love your body for what it is instead of what you think it should be. When you do so, you are more likely to take care of it. So much of health is related to controllable conditions. Focus on small changes to help you improve your health. Although your health may not be completely controllable, you can try to control what you are able. As you do, you will recognize that it feels good to take care of yourself.

Whether you focus on your health or any other condition for happiness we've discussed, recognize that you don't need to change everything at once. In fact, attempting to change too much usually means that it is based on a demand, not a desire. Recognize that you can love yourself flaws and all. However, when you truly care about yourself, you are more likely to WANT to make changes to improve your life. You will WANT to make changes, but you can recognize that you don't NEED to. When you do make changes you can focus on small changes. A Chinese proverb states “The man who moves a mountain begins by carry away small stones.” A happy person focuses on those stones, not on the mountain.

This audio is to help you change your thinking about happiness. You may understand what I just explained to you. However, true change comes from more than understanding it. Change comes from making it a constant part of your way of thinking. So, if this is new to you, it is best to listen to this audio repeatedly, even daily, until you begin to think this way routinely and incorporate it into your daily life.

For now just take a slow breath deep into your lungs. As you exhale allow yourself to be aware of your present. Focus mindfully on today. Choose what you will do today to create the conditions for your happiness. You don't need to worry about tomorrow or whether you will be successful at this. Persistence, continuing to try, to strive, allows for success. Your happiness is dependent upon your attitude.

Remember, to find happiness, you must not seek it! Be okay about not being happy. But allow yourself to pursue the conditions that contribute to happiness. Recognize that all your experiences in life and all your emotions, the pleasant and the uncomfortable ones are important. Be mindful and present rather than focused on the past or the future. Find a passion, something that gives your life meaning and pursue it. Give to others without expectation of return. Take care of your health. Love yourself as you are. Make small changes to create the conditions for happiness in your life. Doing these things, without demanding that happiness must be your reward, will likely increase your contentment and satisfaction in life.

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