chief happiness officer

How to be the chief happiness officer of your life?

Your attitude in life, how you deal with adversities, and the relationship you have with yourself can help determine your happiness quotient.
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Imagine this scenario. You have just found out that your final exams have been postponed and you don’t know what to do next. A part of you is wondering, ‘Why is this happening?’ But another part of you is taking this postponement as a challenge and thinking, ‘I have got some extra time. I am going to make sure that I prepare well and give this exam the best that I can.’ In every situation, the glass can be either half-full or half-empty. How you react to setbacks or problems can help you determine whether or not you can find happiness in life. Just like a Chief Happiness Officer is responsible for improving the level of happiness in an organisation, you are responsible for creating your happiness in life.

You need to find that spark of joy within yourself, and not depend on external factors such as your social status, job, or friends. In his book, The Art of Happiness, the 14th Dalai Lama says, “Happiness is determined more by one’s state of mind than by external events.” This starts with changing your attitude towards life, how you deal with adversities, and the relationship you have with yourself. All these can help raise your happiness quotient. Here are a few important tips that can help you become the chief happiness officer of your life.

Embrace yourself for who you are

In a corporate setup, a Chief Happiness Officer is responsible for making employees feel valued and trusted. But outside of work, you are responsible for your happiness. Start by accepting yourself for who you are. Self-acceptance can help you overcome self-esteem and body image issues. Accepting things about yourself that you cannot change, such as your personality or character, is extremely important as a starting point on your path to self-improvement. This will provide you with an opportunity to find happiness within yourself.

Nip negative thoughts in the bud

Your mental attitude plays a huge role in how you see the world. If your attitude is mostly negative, it can impact your health, career and family. Although you may find it hard to stop negative thoughts such as ‘I am not good enough’ or ‘I am so unfit’ from popping into your head, there are simple techniques that can help you nip those in the bud. You can start by acknowledging your negative thought patterns and then replacing them with positive ones. While controlling your thoughts is a cumbersome process, you can at least be in control of your actions and behaviour.  When you direct your attention to things you are passionate about, you feel more positive and motivated. And when you have positivity in your life, happiness isn’t far away.

Create a ‘happiness strategy’

If you want to be the chief happiness officer of your life, you need to create a strategy that can help cultivate this feeling within you. For example, on your day off, try to involve yourself in activities that can bring a smile to your face. Whether it is something you do alone such as reading, listening to your favourite music or meditating, or something you do with others, such as watching a movie or drinking coffee, or social activities like volunteering, helping out a neighbour or a friend, all these pursuits can take you closer to happiness.

Practice the act of giving to others

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Researchers have even found a connection between happiness and the performance of selfless acts. Other studies have suggested that generosity activates an area of the brain that is linked with contentment and the reward cycle. It allows you to make connections with the people you are helping. So, choose an activity where you can spend more time with the recipients of your generosity. It could be helping a friend move or volunteering at a soup kitchen. However, make sure you are doing this because you want to, not because you feel pressured or obligated to. In doing so, you will unlock the reservoir of happiness and joy.

Be more forgiving

Your ability to forgive can have a massive impact on increasing your happiness quotient. But those who do are usually happier, healthier and more empathetic. As per Psychology Today, research shows that “forgiveness training raises self-esteem and hope of people who’ve been hurt and lowers their anxiety.” Start with smaller steps. For example, recall a time you hurt someone else, intentionally or otherwise, then think about whether or not you can forgive yourself for the offence. Ask yourself how did you feel after you were forgiven? What is your relationship with that person now and what did you learn from the incident? Once you find the answers to these questions, you will be able to find forgiveness in your heart.

Take charge of your actions and thoughts

Your life is the manifestation of your thoughts and actions. Look in the mirror. The person looking back at you is either your best friend or your worst enemy. You are what you think about yourself. When you know how your thoughts and beliefs drive your thinking, influence your actions and affect your judgment, you will be able to navigate through challenges with greater confidence and take a step towards becoming the chief happiness officer of your life. For example, the next time, you feel angry or sad about something, do not accept the emotions automatically. Instead, pause and reflect on it. Ask yourself, ‘Why I am feeling this way?’ Slow down and try to let go of the tensions building up in your muscles. In doing so, you will feel more relaxed and become more self-aware and be able to take charge of what you feel and think.

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