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Wellbeing / Health & wellbeing

Happiness is hard work

We know from our Understanding Micro Business surveys that soloists are a sunny bunch with average happiness levels rated around 8 out of 10.

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I, like lots of people, used to assume that happiness was a destination of sorts. That once you’d ‘reached’ it, you’d get to put your feet up and relax as waves of well being wash over you.

I can now appreciate that this is far from the case: happiness is hard work. Still, seeking it remains a universal pursuit.

As I stumble haplessly along the path to happiness, I’ve met my share of Pollyannas and Eeyores, many of whom have taught me a great deal. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far.

Don’t be afraid of the dark

All the happy people I’ve met are far from naïve and have a healthy realisation that life is not always shiny. I reckon accepting this helps you cultivate gratitude for the good things that come your way.

"While happy people don’t ignore the underside of life, they choose to interpret all their experiences in a positive light. "

Be optimistic

While happy people don’t ignore the underside of life, they choose to interpret all their experiences in a positive light. They think “It wasn’t meant to be” rather than “Why me?”

Want more articles like this? Check out the health-and-wellbeing section.

Behave generously

Glass half full folk don’t take remarks personally. They give people the benefit of the doubt and when they encounter negativity, they think “She must have got out of the wrong side of bed” rather than “What have I done?”

Cultivate optimism and generosity, even when you don’t feel like it

Like everyone, happy people encounter less than perfect days when generosity of spirit can be hard to come by, yet they fight to maintain it.

Seek the company of positive people

It makes perfect sense that it’s easier to maintain a good outlook if those around you share it. Mind you, this can work in the negative, too. In fact, research has shown negative thoughts and behaviour are more ‘infectious’ than positive ones. Happiness really is hard work!

So what have happy, or indeed miserable people taught you? Share your learnings below.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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