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How You Can Be Happier Now In 5 Easy Steps

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How You Can Be Happier Now In 5 Easy Steps

Life Lessons From Bhutan
Linda  Leaming
Linda Leaming More by this author
Mar 02, 2015 at 11:45 AM

Bhutan, the isolated, mountainous kingdom in the Himalayas between Tibet and India, is my home. It’s less prosperous, and there aren’t as many creature comforts as we have in the U.S. Nonetheless, it’s an easy-going, grounded kind of place, an ecological hotspot, with lots of yak, tigers, children, and organic vegetables. It’s got quality of life and it’s a very happy place. As I explain in my book, A Field Guide to Happiness, living in Bhutan has taught me some good habits.
When I leave and travel to other places, I use a lot of what I learned here. If you put yourself in the right place, metaphorically and emotionally, it doesn’t really matter where you are. You can cultivate happiness and peace of mind. With skills you can aim yourself toward a state of happiness, and figure out how to get happy when you’re not. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Calm down. A lot of times we don’t realize how stressed and agitated we are. Life can get pretty manic. We can’t be happy if we’re wound up and preoccupied with worries. Learn to notice your moods and spend more time meditating, exercising, and working with your hands. Yes! Work with your hands! But not on a phone or tablet. Try knitting. Add things to your life that get you on an even path and help you stay calm and grounded. Take out things (or people) that get you agitated. Sit down and have a cup of tea.

2. Get rid of stuff you don't need, emotional baggage as well as physical. We are all overwhelmed with stuff in our lives. It takes a lot of energy to turn the torrent into a trickle. But it’s so worth it. To start, take an inventory of the physical stuff you have and be fearless in paring it down. Throw out things if they don’t make you happy. If you’re living with less physical stuff, then it’s easier to take a look at emotional baggage and pare it down, too.

3. Look outside yourself. If you want to be happy you have to avoid navel gazing. So much in our culture encourages us to focus on ourselves, but resist the urge. Looking outside of yourself will make you happy. See the world. Read history. Look at how other people live. It will make you feel better about your own life.

4. Cultivate compassion and kindness. This is a great way to get out of yourself and it will improve not only your life but others’ lives as well. Commit at least one random act of kindness every day. Walk in someone else’s shoes: think about someone whose political views or religion or socio-economic status is different from yours. Try to figure out why he or she thinks that way, acts that way. That’s the first step to manifesting compassion.

5. Seek out community. In Bhutan it seems like people know who they are. They are part of this or that extended family, this community, that group of people. It’s a small country with only 750,000 people, so having a sense of yourself in the community is a lot easier. Elsewhere, our sense of community is breaking down. But we can get it back. We can join others in like-minded pursuits like walking groups, community outreach organizations, reading groups, soup kitchens—you get the idea. There are so many possibilities. And happiness is just around the corner. For more happiness tips from Bhutan, see my book, A Field Guide To Happiness

About Author
Linda  Leaming
Linda Leaming is a writer whose work has appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, Mandala, Guardian UK, A Woman’s Asia (Travelers’ Tales), and many other publications. Eric Weiner included her in his bestseller, The Geography of Bliss. Originally from Nashv Continue reading