"This blog is about happiness. This seems particularly relevant in these challenging times that our society and world are facing.
1. They have a strong sense of gratitudeboth felt inwardly and expressed. This is a habitual mindset, one that can be cultivated. A heartfelt sense of gratitude in one"s life seems to be a cornerstone of happiness for nearly every happy individual that I"ve met.
2. They understand that life is precious and should never be wasted. This trait is closely linked to gratitude, but is more specific. The notion that time is valuable and that it"s important to use it wisely is critical to mental and emotional well-being.
3. They live their values and deeply-held beliefs. I would call this integrity. The habit of not just talking about what"s important, but living it in our behaviors, relationships, and life is a cornerstone of happiness.
4. They use humor in a good natured way. Having a sense of humor is important. Being able to laugh at circumstances and ourselves is a good way to "lighten things up a bit". Laughing with others is also healthy and helpful. One caveat: beware of the person that laughs at or puts down others and uses the guise of humor to do so. This isn"t really humor, it"s hurtful sarcasm and/or just plain hurtful. Not cool, and certainly not conducive to happiness.
5. They show excitement about the success of others. Happy people tend to celebrate when others are successful and can feel joy in their accomplishments.
If this is hard for you, I"d encourage you to consider that being happy for others is often a matter of perspective. What I mean is this: if you think about yourself as competing with others, you"ll often be envious or unhappy about their accomplishments. If you think about yourself as striving to do the best you can do in your life or on a certain job or project, then you can celebrate the success of others, especially when it adds value to something. (Note to self: I have a LOT more to say about competition and the notion of doing our best versus "winning and losing" and striving for an outcome. This is a blog in the near future!)
6. They are able to ask for help when they need to do so. They realize that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. Of course, discernment around whom to trust enough to ask is important too. Nonetheless, there is so much we can learn from others, and so many ways in which we can benefit from what they have to offer. We miss out when we don"t ask for help, because we rob ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow.
7. They are honest with themselves and with other people. One thing I"ve learned is that, if we"re not honest with ourselves, then we don"t have a lens from which to be honest with others, even if we"d like to be. Happy people are above all honest and real with themselves.
8. They listen well to others. This one is closely related to #5, but is also connected to nearly all of the other points.
9. They generally live in and focus on the present moment. The past is gone, the future is yet to be, so we really need to focus on the moment we are living in. That is always the present moment.
10. They are fair to themselvesneither overly self-critical nor dismissive of their areas for growth. This is something that I talk with clients about on a regular basis. We don"t have to be pie-in-the-sky about ourselves or life, nor is it helpful to be overly glum or unduly hard on ourselves. Holding ourselves accountable is important. Pushing ourselves to be better people is great, but not to the extent that we beat ourselves up and create unrealistic expectations for ourselves."