Happiness is attainable for everyone – just a few small changes to your thinking and attitude can help encourage a more positive life. Dr Raj Persaud shares five tips to living a happier life below – and come and meet him at the FunZing ThinkTap event on Tuesday in London – scroll to the end for details.
1 Be serious about happiness. Aristotle makes the point that happiness has to be the ultimate purpose of life – how he defines happiness, however, is something beyond an unnatural high – it is not just enjoying life, but living well and taking your wellbeing seriously – happy people are nicer to be with and achieve more.
2 There is more than one kind of happiness – the right balance of the different types is essential. There is the kind of pleasure you get from a nice glass of wine and good company, and there is the kind of contentment you get from overcoming difficulty and achievements and satisfaction from the general direction your life is taking – beware the pursuit of just one kind of happiness.
3 Happy people are grateful people. Focusing on what is missing in your life and what you don’t have is going to make you miserable – be grateful for all that you have – you’re alive and you are blessed with many opportunities and advantages that many don’t have.
4 Don't get intense about happiness. The evidence is that those who are intensely happy, or who are pursuing intense happiness, tend to have fragile moods and plunge from high to low while those who pursue ‘mild contentment’ tend to have more stable dispositions. Go for stablility rather than intensity.
5 Take responsibility for your own happiness. It’s easy to blame the world and adversity if we are feeling miserable, but we can’t control the world. We can however, control our reactions to events. Controlling what you can and abandoning trying to control what you can’t is a key secret to happiness.
Dr Raj Persaud is a psychistrist practising in London's Harley Street and is author of the bestselling books The Mind: A User's Guide (Bantam Press, £14.99) and Staying Sane (Bantam Press) among many others.