Top Ten Ways to be Happy

By: Lenora Boyle

What is happiness, anyway? We all have our own definitions. It could be feeling joyful, optimistic, content, or even just truly relaxed. Some may say that happiness is freedom from the kind of strain or unhappiness they used to feel.

Some folks are not even sure happiness is something they have time for. They may think, “It’s enough to just get through my to-do list every day. I don’t have time to pursue happiness on top of everything else.”

And yet, would these same folks insist that they must strain and feel tense to accomplish their goals? Or might they think they can feel peace of mind, content, yes, even happy, and still succeed in getting everything done?

I believe that everyone wants to feel happier - sometimes they just don’t know where to begin. So here are ten sure-fire ways to increase your happiness quotient - and achieve your goals more easily than before!

  • Don't expect perfection from yourself or anyone else.

Don't forget this is planet Earth. And don't expect perfection in working these happiness tips, either. Lean into them every day, and your life can change. Progress is good enough.

  • Accept. Stop judging.

When we judge ourselves, our circumstances, or other people, it leaves no opening to settle into and accept "what is". If your circumstances seem too severe to accept, try to resist less. And less. You will give yourself emotional space to move toward acceptance and change at the same time. Sounds like a contradiction, but that's the beauty. It isn't.

  • Stay in the present.

Do not waste time and energy regretting the past or worrying about the future. Worry is a drain. We might think that worry teaches us or motivates us, but calm presence is the best source of happiness, wisdom, and positive action.

  • Be grateful.

When we put our attention on all the good in our lives, the good tends to increase. Remember to be thankful for the small blessings, the everyday things. At the University of California at Davis, psychologist Robert Emmons found that those who wrote in a "gratitude journal" weekly experienced better health, more energy, and for patients with neuromuscular disease, less pain and fatigue. The more they found to be grateful for and the more detail they described in their journals, the greater benefits they experienced.

  • Decide to be happy.

Having the intention to be happy, regardless of current circumstances, attracts conditions that support you. The old saying that "like attracts like" even works with your intentions. They act like a magnet and draw to you more of what you are already resonating. If you want to be happy, make happiness your first desire.

  • Be self-authorized.

Stop making choices based on what others believe you should do, think, or be. Stay true to your own innate knowing of what is best for you. Speak your truth in a kind manner. Let others be responsible for their reactions.

  • Choose how you feel.

We often say that something or someone "made" us feel a certain way. And yet, as we watch people react so differently to the same event, we see with our own eyes that people choose how they feel. Learn to pause. Take a moment to choose how you wish to react and feel. You may be surprised at how much leeway you have!

  • Examine your beliefs.

Often things in our life we accept as facts are really self-defeating beliefs. The Option Method can help you uncover and identify your own (often hidden) self-defeating beliefs. Once you find these beliefs are not true, they will shift and dissolve. Beliefs influence every decision you make.

  • Expand your options.

Allow for more possibilities in the present and future, regardless of past experience. Drop the word "can't" from your self-talk. Allow yourself to dream big. On a weekly basis, write down all your desires, and let the sky be the limit. No one has to see this list but you!

  • Create what you desire.

Rather than putting all your energy into pushing away the things you don't want, direct your energy into creating what you do want. Come up with even just one action step - and then the next - and start building the life you desire.

Happiness is worth your time and attention because feelings affect every choice you make, every action and reaction. They, along with the hidden self-defeating beliefs that underlie them, create your life. They affect your brain chemistry, your immune system, your ability to fight disease, your longevity. They can make the difference between creating a relationship of mutual acceptance and respect or going your separate ways.

So, go ahead, dive in. Don’t feel guilty for wanting more happiness. As Robert Louis Stevenson said, “By being happy, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.” And ourselves.

Lenora Boyle, Director of Option Central, specializes in helping clients dissolve self-defeating beliefs and conflicting emotions to create a life they love. Lenora also teaches Option Method Workshops. Visit to learn more.