20% Happier (Idea #49)

For me to be [20% happier], what would have to happen now?

This quote comes from page 137 in “Be Happy” by Robert Holden where he is trying to show people what happy changes they have control of.

There are many things in this world which we do not have control over. If we think really think hard, we can acknowledge this possibility.

The types of changes we can make right now are the things that are the most important. This doesn’t mean anything external, as those things are not instantaneous. Buying new clothes, losing weight, and earning more money are just external changes that won’t permanently improve our happiness. The important and last changes are internal. Changing our outlooks, attitudes, and thoughts in general can make us much happier right now.

Noticing and accepting the miracles and wonder around us is the way to go.


Last Week (Idea #48)

I encourage you to review the last week of your life and write down a list of blessings.

Robert Holden is getting people to be more conscious of their lives on page 125 of his book, “Be Happy”.

How often has time seemed to blur passed and we not really take notice of what is happening? Weeks go by, weekends finish, we see our friends less and less, our children grow up and move out. All of these things happen so fast that we all wonder where the time went.

This exercise asks us to review our past seven days and write down the 10 positive things that happened to you. Some people will say nothing good happened. They will say it was a boring week. But if you really think hard, and don’t forget the little things, you’ll be able to find hundreds of blessings.

Doing this can open your eyes to the beauty and wonder that ordinary days can provide.


Feeling Gratitude (Idea #47)

One hundred gratitudes is a journal exercise that invites you to reflect on your life, from past to present, and to record 100 entries of pure appreciation and thanksgiving.

This exercise is described on page 116 of “Be Happy” by Robert Holden.

We are often told to count our blessings when something bad happens. Somebody says that it could have been worse. These things are, of course, true, but we don’t usually literally do them.

The above idea is actually instructing us to literally take the time and write down 100 things that you are very thankful for. By doing this we must explore our lives and delve deep into what has made us and makes us happy.

These positive thoughts and memories can have great effects on us. They can help us see that bad situations are only temporary. We can also recall great times in our lives and maybe rekindle old feelings or relationships that we have let lag.

Writing this list can help us be happy.

In The Zone (Idea #46)

You have probably already noticed that the happiest times in your life are when you are not thinking. It’s a wonderful thing to stand outside your ego, to surrender to the flow, and to participate fully in a hobby, in nature, in meditation, in prayer, in art, in chance, in sport, and in the moment.

This quote comes from Robert Holden’s book, “Be Happy” from page 92.

This idea certainly has to be true. When we are so immersed in something that we totally lose track of time, that is when we are certainly our happiest. As the old saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun”.

Imagine a teenage boy who thinks Barbie dolls are stupid and only for girls. It is his judgement and ego that are making those decisions. Now imagine a five-year old boy playing with his sister and some Barbie dolls. He doesn’t restrict his happiness with foolish rules and judgements. He just loses himself in the enjoyment.

If we totally engage in things we have much more fun and happiness.


Happiness Range (Idea #45)

The theory is that you have a set point or set range that you return to (for example, between 6.5 and 7.5 out of 10) regardless of what your life circumstances are like.

Robert Holden is talking about a happiness set point which can explain “hedonistic adaptation” on page 87 of “Be Happy”.

I think this idea is really fascinating. The author talks about how people’s happiness level will return to their normal set point no matter what happens. He went on to prove it by showing the before and after happiness points for both people who had won the lottery and people who had been paralyzed in accidents. In some cases, the accident victims were even happier than some of the lottery winners.

So, the way I can use this in my own life is to stop putting too much weight or importance on things and events because true lasting happiness only comes from inside, not outside.


Most Important (Idea #44)

I want to hear about what is most important to them in their lives right now.

This Robert Holden quote is talking about people’s Spiritual Headlines and comes from page 75 in his book, “Be Happy”.

A lot of time is wasted between people with small talk and chit chat about unimportant topics. The author believes that asking people what matters most to them cuts right through the garbage about the weather and trivial complaints, to get to the core of the people’s lives he is communicating with.

The author also called this idea “Spiritual Headlines” and he also uses it on himself. When he wakes up in the morning he thinks about what major endeavor he is going to put most of his time and energy into today. He wants to consciously engage in something important to him and that matches his values.

Focusing this way can help people concentrate on important things and avoid less important matters.


Basic Mistakes (Idea #43)

There are basic mistakes that make unhappiness more painful and more frightening than need be. The three mistakes are misidentification, judging, and resistance.

This Robert Holden idea is a paraphrase which comes from pages 65-66 of his book, “Be Happy”.

Misidentification refers to the idea that some people identify themselves with problems or mistakes. They might say, “I’m an addict” or, “I’m sad”. Really, we should say “I feel angry” or “I am experiencing anger” instead of saying, “I’m angry”. These are things you have experienced, but they are not who you are.

When you judge something you create shame. Even if you like what you are doing, but you believe others won’t, then your judgement affects you. Unhappiness is not wrong, it is just a message sent to you, telling you to change.

Don’t resist unhappiness, because that will make it more painful. You must face unhappiness. You don’t have to like it, but it is important to learn from it.

Changing your thinking towards unhappiness is a big step towards being truly happy.