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The profile of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has grown more than any other form of therapy in recent years.
Try our 6 tips to help you be happier, more in control, and able to cope better with life's ups and downs. You may also be interested in our selection of mental health apps and tools in the NHS Apps Library. If you want to learn to be happy again, it’s important to stop the comparison game. It will only result in resentment. Instead of focusing on other people, focus on your own life. You can only compare your own progress in life.
The National Health Service (NHS) recently implemented a training programme for health care professionals to become CBT therapists and the National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) has recommended CBT as a treatment of choice for depression and anxiety and many other psychological disorders. The popularity of CBT stems from the fact that it is accessible using terms which are readily understood and unlike many other forms of psychological theories is uses common sense. It is a skilled based therapy using education as a stepping stone which doesn’t encourage clients to be reliant on the therapist to fix them rather it teaches skills for solving problems.
CBT has been the subject of a number of studies and the evidence for the effectiveness of CBT is overwhelming. The major advantage that CBT has over other forms of therapies is the basic principles which can be mastered in a relatively short period of time. At its core, CBT focuses on how we make sense of our life experiences, promoting rationality and mindedness and the ability to deal with the emotional challenges we face in our life.
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Life isn’t always easy. In some situations, you stumble a little bit, but you can quickly move on. In other situations, however, it is not that easy. Sometimes, life simply knocks you down. Life may confront you with challenges that suck all the happiness out of you. It might even feel as if all hope is lost; as if you have to face the difficulties all alone. It is incredibly difficult in these situations to find even the slightest trace of happiness within yourself. No matter if you’re confronted with problems in your professional life, a breakup, family issues, an illness or even depression, it may seem as if there’s no happiness left within you. Whereas life once was a fulfilling and joyful ride, it transformed into quite a difficult, daily struggle. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are effective techniques that can help you to become happy again. Step-by-step, you can feel a little happier with every week. The following will show you 14 simple ways to be happy again.
The problem is that we sometimes get so lost in the stormy rain that we entirely forget how the warmth of the sun feels like. In some cases, the rain blocks our vision so heavily that we don’t even realize that the sun is shining only a view hundred feet in front of us.
“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
But the sun does always come back again. It does always shine again, even if the night before was pitch dark. Suffering, hardship, and struggle are only temporary. Painful things happen to us in life – sometimes in the most horrific ways. Life can be hurting and incredibly painful. However, these times cannot be avoided, which is why we must find effective strategies to deal with these issues. Even more so, we must discover ways to be happy despite the circumstances.Happiness is a choice. Be sure to meet the right decision.
Here’s what you can do to quickly become happier again.
14 Simple Ways to Be Happy Again
Even though it might seem as if all hope is lost, you have everything it takes to overcome the struggle. You can become happy again! However, overcoming misery is a gradual process that requires certain adjustments in the way you think and behave. The following will show you incredibly simple ways to be happy again. Apply them to your life and see how they can transform misery into happiness and bliss.
1. Change how you think about hardship
It’s only too natural that we despise suffering and hardship. We see no good in these times of difficulty, which is why it slowly drains our happiness. Consequently, we do everything we can to quickly overcome the struggle we are confronted with. And once we’ve managed to do so, we give our best to entirely forget what happened.
This, however, is a grave mistake. If we ignore what happens to us, we deprive difficult times of their meaning and value.
Suffering and pain cannot be avoided. But we can change how we think about these experiences. We can change how hardship affects us and how we respond to it.
If you are unable to find meaning and value in the difficulties you’re confronted with, they will break you time and time again. However, if you accept the challenge, you can use the hardship to learn important lessons and grow stronger from it.
“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
As you can see, the way we deal with hardship is greatly influenced by how we think about it. If you understand that times of difficulty serve a purpose, it is easier to remain confident and forward-looking even during great hardship.
Know that everything that happens to you happens for a specific reason. You can ignore this lesson, but you can also learn from it. If you do so, you will eventually rise from the trials and tribulations that have rained down upon you. Even more importantly, you will emerge from difficulties as a stronger and wiser person.
2. Understand that happiness is a choice
Happiness is a choice. It’s as simple as that. Scientific research has shown that we do not only have a happiness “set-point” that we oscillate around but that we are also capable of resetting this set-point. One particular study even highlighted that the long-term happiness levels of both lottery winners and accident victims were not at all influenced by these events. The scientists noted that the happiness levels of participants from both groups quickly returned to their regular state, despite the initial spikes in happiness or sadness.
In short, we are responsible for our own happiness.
We can feel perfectly fine even when life gets sometimes difficult. At the same time, we can feel painfully miserable despite having all our (material) wishes and needs fulfilled. For this reason, it is not so important what we have in life. All that matters is what we make of the situation we find ourselves in.
You have every right to feel miserable about your situation in life. You can feel sorry for yourself and for the difficulties life has thrown at you. But you are also capable of not allowing these events to influence your positive outlook on life.
If you choose to be happy, nothing will ever be able to reduce your level of long-term happiness.
The realization that you are responsible for your own happiness can greatly empower you. It can help you to stop making your happiness dependent on external influences – such as money, tangible assets, people, and how your career progresses.
3. Simply try to be happier – research shows it works
Two experimental studies published in 2013 found that even a small effort can greatly contribute to an increase in happiness. The conducting scientists concluded from their results that the intentional willingness to become happier can increase your subjective happiness. However, it takes the willingness to affect positive change. Those participants in the study who did not try to increase their happiness noticed no changes in their mood.
What can we learn from this? The scientific results show us that we need to take an active approach towards happiness. It’s not enough to simply wish for more happiness. Instead, we need to actively do something to make this change happen.
If you’re confronted with unhappiness, the humble willingness to make a change can go a long way. You can lay the fundament for a better and happier future by simply trying to elevate your happiness levels. If you are willing to do it, you will get results – it’s scientifically proven.
4. No one will come to save you
All too often, we wish someone powerful will come to our rescue. We are confronted with incredible difficulties, but instead of tackling the underlying issues, we hope that others will do it for us. At the same time, we hope that external circumstances – almost always beyond our influence – will eventually make us happy. But here’s the deal: It won’t happen.
As a consequence, many people give away their sovereign power to affect change in their lives. They become dependent on the mercy of other people, things they cannot control and even sheer luck.
Without noticing it, they handcuff themselves and limit their ability to find happiness in life.
For this reason, it’s incredibly important to take an active stance when it comes to happiness. Don’t just wish to be happier, do everything that lies in your power to affect this change. Remove from your life what makes you feel miserable. Learn to deal with difficulties in your life that you cannot get rid of.
5. Rewire your brain
The human brain can be a great obstacle in the pursuit of happiness. If we do not understand how the brain works when it comes to happiness and misery, we can easily fall prey to a phenomenon called “negativity bias.”
The major reason why so many people struggle greatly to be happy can be attributed to the way the brain processes and analyzes what happens to them in life. The great issue we are confronted with here is that our brains are wired to perceive and emphasize everything that is negative or bad in our lives.
Due to the functioning of our brains, we are more likely to notice the negative aspects of our lives. Consequently, it is often incredibly difficult to appreciate the positive aspects of our existence.
There are people who lack nothing but are quite unhappy. In many cases, it’s because they attribute far too much meaning and importance to the difficult aspects of their lives. Doing so prevents them from ever discovering the joy that is already present in their lives.
You can affect beneficial change by making an effort to rewire your brain. Understand that your brain is designed to react more intensely to negative events. By actively focusing and appreciating the positive aspects of your life, no matter how tiny and seemingly insignificant, you can gradually transform perceived misery into gratefulness and happiness.
6. Overcome the obstacle of being too self-centered
Whenever something negative happens, we focus greatly on the miserable and painful aspects of it. We complain about our situation and despise our poor fate. It sometimes even feels as if it’s the worst thing that could have happened to us. To some, it may even feel as if the world is coming to an end.
As you can see, we are inclined to choose a rather self-centered approach when it comes to analyzing what happens to us. However, the problem with this is that it prevents us from putting things into perspective. As a result, things that are absolutely insignificant can make us feel greatly miserable.
For this reason, it is important not to take a too self-centered, narcissistic approach to the problems you’re confronted with. Instead, try to put what happens to you into perspective.
In almost all cases, you will realize that it could be much worse. You will further notice that some of your struggles are absolutely unimportant when compared to the difficulties other people are confronted with.
7. Practice mindfulness – it boosts happiness
Mindfulness exercises can greatly help you to live a happier life. It doesn’t matter so much if you meditate regularly or if you practice similar mindfulness exercises. What matters is the profound impact of mindfulness on your life.
Unfortunately, many people disregard mindfulness exercises as time wasting activities. It is a grave mistake, as it is an excellent and scientifically proven tool to boost happiness.
No matter if you call it meditation or mindfulness, silencing the mind and establishing peace of mind gradually helps you to be happy again.
The reason for this is that practicing mindfulness redirects brain activity from the right to the left area of your brain. This in itself would not be too spectacular if it wasn’t for the fact that the left frontal area of the brain correlates with feelings of joy, happiness but also excitement.
If you want to learn more about meditation, feel free to have a look at: How to Meditate.
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8. Stop comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others can be another source of great misery. The problem with comparisons is that they do not add in any way, shape or form to your life. All they do is to steal happiness, joy and contentment from your life.
The reason for this is simple: Comparisons are almost always unfair. Every one of us is far too individual and unique. Our uniqueness does in most cases not allow fair comparisons. We all have accomplished a great number of different things in life that cannot be easily compared.
An emergency physician who’s saved another person’s life may not be considered as successful as a person that is rich beyond belief. However, when we let go of comparing numbers in our bank statements, we may find that the physician’s contribution may be far more important.
As you can see, we typically compare without having precise metrics that would allow a just comparison. Instead, we tend to compare areas in which we struggle with the respective leaders of these fields. It’s only natural that we are destined to lose these kinds of comparisons.
If you want to learn to be happy again, it’s important to stop the comparison game. It will only result in resentment. Instead of focusing on other people, focus on your own life. You can only compare your own progress in life. Doing so will help you to become more aware of the importance of your own accomplishments in life.
9. Cultivate gratitude
Discontent arises when we are unable to discover the joy and happiness that is already present in our lives. As a result of being discontent, we seek to acquire ever more in the hope that these things will add happiness to our lives.
We delve into materialism without realizing that less is often more. Unfortunately, adding more to our lives does not always add happiness and joy to our existence. If we strive to fulfill all our desires, we will only realize that they are insatiable. As soon as one such desire is fulfilled, another one will show up.
All of this inevitably leads you on a downward spiral, from which it is incredibly difficult to escape.
Cultivating gratitude can help you to break free from the rat race of ever pursuing more. By being grateful for what you have, you will gradually start to be more content with your life. You will notice that gratefulness can slowly help you to be happier in your life.
Being grateful will also help you to overcome selfishness and allows you to seize the opportunities of the day. It will aid you in being content with less and frees you from the comparison game.
Another positive side effect of gratitude is that it helps you to focus on the positive aspects of your life, without becoming too obsessed about the difficulties you’re confronted with.
10. Help other people
Even though it may seem counterintuitive at first, helping others can greatly help you to feel happier again. Helping others, however, may not be the first thing we think of when we try to pursue happiness. At the same time, if you really want to feel happier again, you should definitely consider to give freely and to enrich other people’s lives.
Helping others is not only a fantastic way of putting your life into perspective, but it can also add meaning and purpose to your life.
When it comes to being happier, giving to others can prove to be an important factor. It reduces self-centeredness and allows you to make an important difference in your life.
What most people don’t realize is that helping other people thrive can be greatly fulfilling. Helping others can elevate your happiness and joy to such a high level that it is difficult to find comparable activities that are of a more self-centered nature.
It doesn’t even take much to help other people. You don’t need to be rich to make this world a better place. All it takes is some time and the willingness to help those around you.
11. Root yourself in the present
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Let’s face it, the past cannot be made undone. At the same time, we cannot always influence what happens in the future. All that we have to is the power of the present moment. Unfortunately, many people don’t make use of the moment. Instead, they are haunted by the past or worry about the future.
If you place far too much emphasis on the past or future, you deprive the present moment of its strength. Try to shift your perspective from the past or future to the present. Doing so will help you to seize the power of the moment, which enables you to build the fundament for a better future.
12. Learn to appreciate yourself
Admittedly, we all have our faults and weaknesses. We all are confronted with a couple of problems that we are not proud of. However, self-respect and appreciation for yourself is an integral element of being happy again.
Who else should value you for who you are if you don’t even think highly of yourself? If you want others to appreciate you, you must first learn to fully accept yourself the way you are. With all your faults, weaknesses and imperfections.
Learning to appreciate yourself will help you to stop continuously criticizing or even bullying yourself. It will further enable you to treat yourself with respect and compassion. And by doing so, you lay the foundation that is necessary to build a happier life.
13. Smile sadness away
Smiling is perhaps the simplest way to quickly boost your mood. I wouldn’t have believed in the power of smiling if it wasn’t for various scientific studies that all highlighted that smiling can alter how you feel.
However, when it comes to smiling unhappiness away, it is important not to fake or force a smile. Doing so will only worsen your overall mood. Instead, try to think of something positive that makes you smile.
14. Let go of everything that drags you down.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to give up in order to gain something new.
Letting go of what’s familiar can be quite difficult. Even more so, it’s outright painful. But life shows us time and time again that we often have to give up in order to make room for something new.
No matter if we hold on to how things were in the past or if we cling to unrealistic expectations, there are certain things in life that prevent us from making progress. It is, therefore, important to identify what is holding you back and to let go of it.
Forcibly trying to hold on to the things that sabotage your progress will only make things worse.
Give up excuses that make you feel comfortable about yourself but contribute nothing to your growth. Let go of unrealistic or expired dreams and expectations about life. Say goodbye to manipulative, self-centered and energy draining people that don’t even care about you. Stop holding onto fantasies and start facing things as they are. Avoid blaming others for your own faults.
Doing all these things will certainly not be easy. But in the long run, they can greatly help you to be happy again.
Many people ask themselves the question, “Will I ever be happy again?”
The answer to this question is, “yes.” You will definitely be happy again and the sun will return back to your life. However, affecting change takes time. The tips provided in this article can help you to lay the proper foundation for a happy life. But in order to build a joyful and happy existence upon this fundament, you need to change how you think about the difficulties you’re confronted with in life.
It is important to be able to find meaning in hardship and suffering. At the same time, it is of the greatest importance to be able to put your life into perspective.
You may be surrounded by darkness at the moment, but you will see that the light will shine again. Have confidence and faith in yourself. I know you can make it. All it takes is that you keep moving.
“Fire tests gold, suffering tests brave men.”
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I hope you enjoyed this article about simple strategies to be happy again. What are your tricks that help you to look at things positively?