10 Things You Should Stop Doing If You Want To Be Happy

Virtually everyone wants to find happiness, but very often negative behaviors and attitudes stand in the way. While there are many positive steps you can take to help you find satisfaction, here are 10 things you can cut out right now that will point you in the right direction.

1. Stop worrying.

Many years ago I saw a Peanuts cartoon in which one of the characters admitted she'd worried all night about a school test – a test for which she came away with an A. The moral of the story was: Don’t waste a good worry!

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles – it empties today of its strength.” - Mary Engelbreit

2. Stop overspending.

I know this is easier said than done, but living within your means is the key to staying out of debt. In particular, avoid impulse purchases – concentrate your resources on what you really need. Work out what you can afford and stick to it. As Mr. Micawber advised Dickens’ eponymous hero, David Copperfield, “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result: happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result: misery.”

3. Don’t indulge in “retail therapy” if you’re feeling miserable.

The “fix” you will get from it, if indeed you get any fix at all, will be very short-lived. It’s far more likely that you will end up spending money you can’t afford on things you don’t need. And to add insult to injury, every time you look at your purchase, you’ll be reminded of how miserable you were feeling when you bought it!

4. Stop trying to be something you’re not.

While ambition can be a good thing, it shouldn't be to the exclusion of everything else. Learn to accept yourself for what you are.

5. Stop criticizing yourself.

You spend a lot of time in your own company, so learn to like yourself. You wouldn’t choose to hang around with someone you hate!

6. Stop carrying emotional baggage.

In particular, don’t harbor grudges. Grudges weigh you down like millstones. Let them go. If it helps, write a letter addressed to the person who has hurt or upset you. Use it to get all the angst out of your system, then burn it.

7. Avoid envy.

It corrodes.

8. Ditch preconceptions.

Accept people and circumstances on their own merits. You may be pleasantly surprised!

9. Stop bottling up your emotions.

In particular, cry if you have to. Tears contain a hormone which is released under conditions of stress. Crying is nature’s safety valve. Don’t suppress it.

10. Stop feeling like you have to say “Yes” to everyone.

Taking on extra tasks – particularly ones you don’t feel capable of tackling – will only result in spreading yourself too thin, wearing yourself out, and not succeeding fully at any of them. Don’t feel guilty about saying “no” from time to time. And if you're struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help or be ashamed to accept it. Recognizing that you can’t do it all is a sign not of weakness, but of strength. Focus on the positive. Congratulate yourself for what you've achieved, rather than beating yourself up over what you still have to do.

In the closing words of the famous Desiderata: Strive to be happy. It can be done!

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