Reach For The Skies

Be in charge of your future

What is happiness?

So is it possible to be happy?

First of all you have to recognise you need to tear up your self-created obstacles to personal happiness.

You are an individual and no one can tell you what you can enjoy and how to achieve pleasure but sometimes your best satisfactions are those things you have avoided.

For example, a friend asked me two years ago to come and see his new motorised boat and take a trip – my mind went through various options, the boat might sink, I might be sea-sick, I don’t like getting wet, I might fall overboard, I would need to drive to the marina and its miles away, I can’t afford the time off work, there might be a storm, you can’t rely on the weather, do I trust my friend to keep me safe – the list was endless, so I said no, making my excuses.

Two years later, I get a phone call saying the weather is fine tomorrow but it won’t stay that way, so would you like to come and I said yes and then spent a sleepless night, worrying about the same things I had worried about before but this time, thought to myself, I might enjoy it and I DID.

My friend plotted our course, keeping a log, kept to the right channels in the estuary, the weather was perfect and the only things I continued to worry about was sea-sickness but had taken advice, which I followed about keeping the horizon in sight. And sun burn, as I forgot to take any sun block, however, my friend was at hand with the sun cream, the weather was perfect and I surprisingly, really enjoyed the trip and want to go again – who would have guessed.

So, what should I be asking myself in the future – be honest discover my likes and dislikes

Keep asking myself – what else do I prefer?

4810Things_titleDecide whether some of the things I enjoy are wrong for me, self-defeating, harmful, antisocial, isolating.

Recognise I am a deserving human being, working toward self-actualisation that I choose and embrace. Live in the moment, be aware of everything around me and like everyone else, strive to be happy by understanding my wants, needs, desires and sense of belonging.

Don’t take my word for it, here are 10 things science says will make you happy –

Savour Everyday Moments

Pause now and then to smell a rose or watch children at play. Study participants who took time to “savor” ordinary events that they normally hurried through, or to think back on pleasant moments from their day, “showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression,” says psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky.

Avoid Comparisons

While keeping up with the Joneses is part of American culture, comparing ourselves with others can be damaging to happiness and self-esteem. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, focusing on our own personal achievement leads to greater satisfaction, according to Lyubomirsky.

Put Money Low on the List

People who put money high on their priority list are more at risk for depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, according to researchers Tim Kasser and Richard Ryan. Their findings hold true across nations and cultures. “The more we seek satisfactions in material goods, the less we find them there,” Ryan says. “The satisfaction has a short half-life—it’s very fleeting.” Money-seekers also score lower on tests of vitality and self-actualization.

Have Meaningful Goals

“People who strive for something significant, whether it’s learning a new craft or raising moral children, are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations,” say Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener. “As humans, we actually require a sense of meaning to thrive.” Harvard’s resident happiness professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, agrees, “Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable.”

Take Initiative at Work

How happy you are at work depends in part on how much initiative you take. Researcher Amy Wrzesniewski says that when we express creativity, help others, suggest improvements, or do additional tasks on the job, we make our work more rewarding and feel more in control.

Make Friends, Treasure Family

Happier people tend to have good families, friends, and supportive relationships, say Diener and Biswas-Diener. But it’s not enough to be the life of the party if you’re surrounded by shallow acquaintances. “We don’t just need relationships, we need close ones” that involve understanding and caring.

Smile Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

It sounds simple, but it works. “Happy people…see possibilities, opportunities, and success. When they think of the future, they are optimistic, and when they review the past, they tend to savor the high points,” say Diener and Biswas-Diener. Even if you weren’t born looking at the glass as half-full, with practice, a positive outlook can become a habit.

Say Thank You Like You Mean It

People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis are healthier, more optimistic, and more likely to make progress toward achieving personal goals, according to author Robert Emmons. Research by Martin Seligman, founder of positive psychology, revealed that people who write “gratitude letters” to someone who made a difference in their lives score higher on happiness, and lower on depression—and the effect lasts for weeks.

Get Out and Exercise

A Duke University study shows that exercise may be just as effective as drugs in treating depression, without all the side effects and expense. Other research shows that in addition to health benefits, regular exercise offers a sense of accomplishment and opportunity for social interaction, releases feel-good endorphins, and boosts self-esteem.

Give It Away, Give It Away Now!

Make altruism and giving part of your life, and be purposeful about it. Researcher Stephen Post says helping a neighbor, volunteering, or donating goods and services results in a “helper’s high,” and you get more health benefits than you would from exercise or quitting smoking. Listening to a friend, passing on your skills, celebrating others’ successes, and forgiveness also contribute to happiness, he says. Researcher Elizabeth Dunn found that those who spend money on others reported much greater happiness than those who spend it on themselves.