There’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world. If you let it, it can totally get you down and keep you there. But allowing the bad stuff in the world to rob you of your happiness doesn’t do anything to prevent the bad things from happening, it only prevents you from living a happy life. Sure, external factors contribute to your overall happiness or lack thereof, and if your neighbors and community are happy there’s a good chance you will be happier as well. But there are a few things you can do to maximize your happiness, and you can learn these things from the habits of the world’s happiest people.
Matthieu Ricard is known as the happiest man in the world. He was born in France in 1946 but now lives as a Buddhist monk in the Himalayan region, where he is a noted author and speaker. The secret to his happiness includes meditating on compassion and thinking happy thoughts for at least 15 minutes a day.
In fact, one of the keys to happiness is feeling compassion for others. Recognizing that we all have a difficult journey is the first step toward achieving true happiness. Living in the moment and practicing gratitude can also help – being mindful of and thankful for what you have prevents you from feeling like you are lacking.
That’s not to say that you have to ignore all negative feelings in order to be happy. In fact, embracing negative feelings and allowing yourself to feel them can lead to a happier life overall. Bad things happen and it’s important to recognize that and deal with those emotions when they come along. Just don’t let them take over your life.
Americans might be feeling less happy than the rest of the world, though. There’s a decrease in community support, Americans are working longer hours, there’s a growing inequality in life expectancy between the very rich and the very poor, and income inequality is growing instead of shrinking. There’s more distrust in the government and more distrust of the people by the government. It’s more important now than ever to fortify yourself against the negative thoughts – you only live once.
Happiness is within your reach if you start practicing it regularly. Don’t let the negative feelings and emotions keep you down. Learn more about the habits of the world’s happiest people from this infographic!