Surprising Ways To Be Happy- by Karen Banes
Stay healthy, spend time with friends, find a job you love. These are all
great ways to feel happy. Here are some more you may not have

Don't get too rich. We all look at all those super rich movie stars and
heiresses, who seem to be so desperately unhappy, and vow that if we
were that rich we wouldn't have a care in the world, yet studies show
that the only time that increased income really makes you happier is
when it raises you out of abject poverty. Dan Baker, author of What
Happy People Know, suggests that one of the things that makes us
happy (a sense of purpose) can disappear when we no longer have an
incentive to work.

Don't finish what you start. I recently read a book, Mental Traps,
which addressed the issue of persistence. It's human nature to want to
finish what we start, no matter how little we're enjoying it. Finishing
something JUST because you started is a pretty dumb strategy. If we
bite into a rotten apple, we tend not to eat the rest of it, but if we start a
personal project that turns out to be really boring we often think, "If I
don't see it through, I'll have wasted the time I already invested in it".
Technically, if you see it through you'll have wasted a lot more time (This
also applies to relationships and career paths, but that is way beyond
the scope of this article).

Give some stuff away. Being disorganised and having too much
clutter around can really bring your mood down. Helping others in need
makes us feel better. Giving some of your clutter away to a good cause
is the ultimate "two birds with one stone' mood lifter.

Scare yourself silly. You may have heard the advice "Do something
that scares you every day", and thought "Why?" (I know I did). Turns out
it's good advice. We need to feel a little bit challenged every day. It's
good for our mental health. Too little stress is as detrimental to our
happiness as too much. That's one reason why unemployed people can
feel just as stressed as overly busy people. (Another is lack of money of
course, but see above - all things in moderation!)

Read a really depressing book. This is my own personal tip and (as
far as I know) has no scientific basis. I was recently reading "My
Sister's Keeper". I don't think it's too much of a spoiler for those who
haven't read it to disclose that it's about a child with a serious, life
threatening illness. Someone asked me why I was reading such a sad
story and, although it had never occurred to me before, the first thought
that came to mind was 'to make me appreciate how much I have to be
happy about". I realized I read a lot of books (and watch a lot of movies)
that deal with some pretty dark subject matter. It also occurred to me,
for the first time, that this could be closely linked to how grateful and
blessed I feel every day.

Make sure you spend some time being miserable. This may be
counter-intuitive, but think about it. Happiness is relative. There is no
happiness without unhappiness. Just as there is no satisfaction without
hunger, and no 'bursting with energy' without 'tired and drained'. I'm not
suggesting that you purposely make yourself unhappy. Just that you
recognize unhappiness for what it is. A contrast to happiness. You
really can't have one without the other.

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