The Formula to Happiness

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You're three days into your new job, and you're already discouraged. Everyone else is getting the hang of it much faster than you are. They're having success, and you're being left in the dust. Who knew making sales could be so difficult? You thought you knew what you were doing, but seeing everyone else's progress causes you to doubt the skills that got you the job, and now you dread having to clock in to start your workday.

Maybe you haven't had this experience, but surely at some point your confidence has taken a blow as you've seen how well others are doing at work, school, in your family, or in your community at large. As you scroll through Facebook and see that all the people you graduated high school with are getting white-collar jobs, starting families, and fulfilling their dreams, you might wonder if you will ever get your life together. Or maybe you're thinking, My grades are not as good as my friends', and my roommate is adjusting to college so much better than I am. Do I really belong here?

Inevitably, we compare ourselves to others, and it makes us question our self-worth and capabilities. Here are a few simple tips to making you a happier person:

#1: Don't compare yourself to others
As mentioned above, comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to make you unhappy. Life is not a competition. You don't have to be the smartest, richest, prettiest, or most interesting person you know to be happy. Live life at your own pace instead of trying to catch up or be ahead of others.

#2: Learn to love yourself
In a study called "Mirror, Mirror on my Facebook Wall: Effects of Exposure to Facebook on Self-Esteem," researchers found that Facebook users who looked at their own profiles had a boost in self-confidence compared to those who viewed others' profiles (Gonzales & Hancock, 2011). This goes hand in hand with the first point; instead of comparing yourself with others, evaluate yourself as an individual separate from others. Note and appreciate your strengths and positive qualities. Cultivate them. Love your body the way it is, for its ability to let you experience the world you live in and enrich the lives of others. God made you in His image. He would never create his dear child imperfectly. When you love yourself and realize your self-worth, you will be a happier person.

#3: Think positively
Life has its ups and downs- you can't change that. What you can control, however, is your attitude. I cannot stress enough the impact positive thinking can have on helping you cope with your problems. Instead of feeling upset that you're not transitioning into your job as smoothly as you expected, be happy that you have one that helps you pay the bills, and pinpoint what might be holding you back so you can fix those issues and reach your full potential. When you feel like everyone but you has their life together, remember that the journey can be more important than the end result. By switching majors you are getting one step closer to being where you want to be, and you're learning so much about yourself in the process. I have a challenge for you: for one day, every time you have a negative thought, turn it around and make it positive. You will see how much happier you are when you focus on good things.

Above all, remember that happiness is a choice. Whether you decide to follow these steps or your own formula, strive to enjoy your life, however you may choose to live it.

Citation

Amy L. Gonzales and Jeffrey T. Hancock. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
February 2011, 14(1-2): 79-83. doi:10.1089/cyber.2009.0411.