Lynn and Doug Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

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Do you think you could be happier? If so, what would that look like for you?

Most people say they would like to be happy or even happier. Who wouldn’t want happiness? We’re bombarded with images of things that are supposed to make us happy. Yet most of the things that people think would make them happier, like a fancier car, a bigger home or all the latest possessions aren’t at all what bring lasting happiness.

We got to thinking about what we see brings more lasting happiness to people we know and work with, and what research says about becoming happier.

Here are seven steps to help boost happiness.

1. A full life encourages happiness. Life has ups and downs and there are also achievements and setbacks. If you can find meaning in what is happening in your life, learn from the challenges and move forward with hopeful optimism, life will be more satisfying and happier.

2. Remember that happiness is about authenticity and not comparing yourself to others and how happy they appear in life. What other people show to the world and what you view on social media may not be what’s going on for people. They may be experiencing losses in their life, but they might not share how this affects them. It doesn’t matter where they are on the road to happiness, it matters where you are on your journey.

3. Your happiness doesn’t depend on other people. So often, people will put their happiness under the control of others. This dependence on external praise and validation means you need others to make you happy. While the affirmations from others are nice to have, the most important person to validate you, is you. True happiness comes from within. If you expect someone else to make you happy, you are bound to be disappointed at times and it is too great a responsibility for other people. Learning how to support and encourage yourself will contribute to you being happier.

4. When you build good, trusting relationships, it will help you feel you are not alone. You can feel safer and happier. Besides having people to share activities with you, you will gain some confidantes who will listen and not judge you. These close relationships help you know you are a valued friend, too.

5. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Cultivate seeing the good in life, both in your own life and in the world. When you look for the positives in life, you’re more able to see the good things that are happening. This attitude raises spirits.

6. Work on having a mindset that gets rid of negative thoughts that can drag you down. Maybe it means turning off the television and avoiding the shows that get you down or only turning on shows that lift you up. What you take in with reading, TV, computers and music can affect your mood so you become either less happy or more happy.

7. Taking care of your health adds the benefit of helping you to become happier — and to live longer, too! It seems so simple, but it’s also easy to overlook. Getting enough sleep, eating foods that are good for you and exercising go a long way to improving mood and contributing to happiness. If blood pressure or blood sugar are not in normal range, people don’t feel well and they usually don’t feel as happy.

For us, we recognize that we could take better care of our health in some areas. We’re pretty happy, but when we don’t get enough sleep, we certainly aren’t as cheerful. We eat a healthy diet, but we’re not exercising as we much as we should. We need to do more walking, which also can raise happiness levels. So, we realize that even if we’re generally happy, there are steps we can take to feel even happier.

What about you? What can you do to help boost your happiness level?

Here are some ideas: Note the suggestions we have offered already. Look at what you are doing that works well and, also, what you still need to do. What are you saying to yourself and what are you taking in that influences your thoughts and your mood?

The Dalai Lama said, “Happiness comes from your own actions.” So, identify what is stopping you in areas you feel need improvement. Then, get any support you need to help you move past the challenges so you can boost your happiness.

Chanhassen residents, Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at WeCare@SharingLifesLessons.com.

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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