Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The recipe for happiness

Helsinki, -15 degrees

As the care takers of our apartment building are chucking down snow from our roof, and therefore I'm stuck inside for a while, I thought I would write down some lines about an interesting article I read yesterday about true happiness.

I found the article in the latest issue of my favorite Finnish women's magazine Trendi. Basically it said that the formula for happiness is difficult to understand, but one can get started by stopping to chase good feelings. One should instead challenge oneself and do things one wouldn't necessarly do spontaneously.

Source: Howtofindhappiness


The article presented the idea that despite what our parents told us (to be happy ever after), we should not try to escape from negative things but embrace them. You might even find out that you are actually already happier than you thought. To find out how happy you truly are, you should follow the next three steps.

1) Question your idea of happiness
When normal women are asked what makes them happy, they often end up mentioning ordinary things like good coffee, days off work, work success, achievements or dear people. Happiness is therefore relative. It resembles your favorite childhood toy; when you first got it, you were in seventh heaven but once you came up with something new to want, you forgot it easily. The same goes for adults who seek one specific thing in order to be happy, e.g. weight loss, promotions or perfect relationships. In other words, what makes you happy today, might seem insignificant tomorrow.

As the Finnish saying goes, time makes memories golden. I don't know if there is a similar saying in English but basically it means that after some time, everything seems better than what it did when it actually happened. People can't follow patterns because the exact same things won't make you happy twice.

The article suggests that you should instead talk to people who have gone through similar situations as you are about to undergo, just to have a better idea about how good of an idea it really is.

I can personally assure you that people change. Many people seem to think that they have a clear understanding about what is important for them. Then, when time passes and they get to know new people, maybe new boyfriends/girlfriends, the importance of things change as well. I have been very surprised to see how easy it is for some people to throw their values and thoughts out of the window when new ideas are presented. I think that's why you need people who know your history around you. Only they can tell you that you are acting out of your character. And sometimes we really need to hear that so that we can understand the situation.

Source: Finest quotes

2) Stop grumbling
Nowadays people talk about their feelings so much that it is difficult to stop analyzing one's life all the time. When one thinks long enough, one surely finds something wrong with one's life. One should instead try to listen to oneself. A bad feeling passes you way faster if you first come to terms with it. Try writing down you bad feeling, and understanding why you are feeling that way. I've notices that sometimes it's enough to just tell somebody else how you're feeling. Don't keep the bad feeling locked inside yourself.

3) Rejoice in misfortunes
Trouble and misfortunes are a part of life because they keep you down to earth and humble. Psychologists even talk about posttraumatic growth which means that you can grow and learn things from setbacks. Try to cure your mental displeasure tolerance by doing every day something outside your comfort zone. Act against your habits, resist a temptation or say what you think to someone even though you are afraid how the other person will react.

I think these three steps can help everybody in understanding their life better. Do you recognize yourself in the text? Good, then you know you did good by reading this insert :)

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