Happiness is the brass ring that mankind continues to search for, yet it invariably eludes him. It's one of the hardest tasks in life to harness and to master. When the circumstances are dictating that there is little optimism to go around--our souls sink deeper into desolation and despondency. But ultimately, if we want to find happiness we need to be able to see that there is light in the dark. Many would find this advice stereotyped but the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, the Dalai Lama, wouldn't agree. He is a giant among men who understands happiness said actor Richard Gere, who also wrote: "He reminds us who we really are. He makes us larger. He makes us care. He delights us with his wisdom, his joy, his laughter, and his optimism. He carries us. How impossible it is to be proud and pretentious around someone so utterly simple and kind." Showing more sensitively, kindness, sacrifice and even laughing more can help us attain the happiness that we all seek. Here are ways to be happy according to the Dalai Lama.
There is nothing wrong with pondering life and examining ourselves. Yet, when we become too engrossed, it can make us depressed and feel hopeless. Change your focus by getting out of your head and staying in the present. Reminiscing on what worked and what did not work, will not bring you joy. Everything, though, is relative. You can see the positive side of even the worst of tragedies if you adopt a holistic perspective. "If you take the negative as absolute and definitive, however, you increase your worries and anxiety, whereas by broadening the way you look at a problem, you understand what is bad about it, but you accept it," the Dalai Lama wrote.
Cultivate a sound mind.
"The life of exile is an unfortunate life, but I have always tried to cultivate a happy state of mind, appreciating the opportunities this existence without a settled home, far from all protocol, has offered me. This way I have been able to preserve my inner peace," he said. Reflect on your blessings and what you have accomplished in life. Celebrate that you can attain a happy mental state. If you are being iced out of meetings or being mistreated at work, focus on your strengths, not what other people do or don't do. This is the same in your personal life as well. Learn to change your mindset and recognize the good in your life, not the poison.
Be kind to others.
“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness," the teacher offered. Some researchers are backing this up. Dr. Oliver Scott Curry from the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford concluded: "Humans are social animals. We are happy to help family, friends, colleagues, community members and even strangers under some conditions. Research suggests that people do indeed derive satisfaction from helping others."
“Happiness is not ready made—it comes from our own actions," the Dalai Lama shared and he was right again. We need to be responsible for our own happiness. Many times people go to material things to get their fix, but this action never satisfies. People and things come and go, but you have to live with yourself every day. We need to make the tough decisions and take ownership of our own happiness.
Love yourself more.
When you start loving yourself more and really start getting rid of all the junk from the past, you will able to handle things better when they pop up. Once you master this, you will be more steady. Try to replace negative and self-defeating emotions with love and peace. Negative thoughts and emotions undermine the very causes of peace and happiness he reminded. "In fact, when we think properly, it is totally illogical to seek happiness if we do nothing to restrain angry, spiteful and malicious thoughts and emotions." When you don't love yourself, you will not grow in your career or in your relationships.
The Dalai Lama once shared that when confronted with difficult circumstances, he laughs! "I laugh often, and my laughter is contagious. When people ask me how I find the strength to laugh now, I reply that I am a professional laugher. Laughing is a characteristic of the Tibetans." When you smile, you are using the muscles in your face and these movements trick the brain into releasing those feel-good chemicals and this makes you happier.
Learn from setbacks.
Like the rest of us, the Dalai Lama knows life can be full of heartaches. We will lose sometimes, but the one glaring difference is learning from our mistakes or from our setbacks. “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson," he said.
“Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events," the Dalai Lama wrote in The Art of Happiness. Joy doesn't need to be out of reach if you follow the simple rules of self-love, laughing, accepting failure and being compassionate. We can't change our environment, but we can change ourselves.