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How to be Happy: A Complete Guide to Rational Living

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11. How to Control Your Emotions

Emotions reflect your inner state at any particular moment. If you

are angry or unhappy about something, you find expression through

your words or your mood displays your emotions. Similarly, if you

are ecstatic or overly happy about something, your exuberance

displays your innermost feeling of happiness. Therefore, your outer

self or your face is the mirror of your emotions.

In all, you hold the key to control your emotions. You can choose to

become angry or happy over a situation. It could be to your liking or

not. However, controlling your emotions changes the face of the

situation and your mirror like face depicts your inner self.

Factors helpful in controlling your Emotions

You need to have a commitment towards your inner self to remain

happy in any situation. Rather, you have to try to locate sources of

happiness even in your dreariest and anguishing moments. If you

start developing negative feelings, dissuade them and instead,

concentrate on identifying anything positive. This makes not only

you a happy person, it also bring happiness to others.

Emotions are a reflection of your inner mind. Therefore, your inner-

self decides the outcome of any event. The event is no doubt an

external occurrence but your perception of that event comes from

within you. Hence, your thoughts and feelings govern your


To control your emotions, you need to control your feelings. You can

do this by instilling positive thoughts, creating a positive

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atmosphere around you, and overcoming negativities everywhere.

You cannot disown or refuse to accept the presence of negativity. It

is only your self-power to overcome negativity and recognize the

presence and effects of optimism.

Your speech displays your inner emotions. Hence, modulate your

speech to express confidence in large measures. Avoid excuses, as

they are a direct reflection of your stress and inabilities. It also

shows your helplessness in a situation.

Convert your beliefs in to your speech pattern and use them to deal

with any eventualities. A self-confident person can take over all

obstacles and progress on the path to achieving happiness for

yourself and others.

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12. The External and Internal

Routes to Happiness

Every person wants to be happy in life. However, happiness is

something that may prove to be difficult to attain. A person may be

highly successful, yet he or she may be living with deep sadness.

Though happiness eludes many of us, there are things that we can

do to achieve it. Some routes to happiness are external, while some

are internal. The external routes may include any action or

association in relation to our external environment. Our external

activities like eating, sleeping, talking, playing, working, etc. have

their bearing on our inner being. When we are feeling low, some of

these activities may prove to be effective in lifting our spirits. For

instance, taking up a new hobby such as playing golf or joining a

music band or just learning to cook some new dish may have

magical effect on your state of mind.

In our external activities, we can set different kinds of goals to

ourselves and pursue those with passion. These goals may include

earning money, making friends, getting a particular job or attaining

a goal or a material possession. We attain happiness when we set

some goal and achieve it through our efforts.

With the external elements, our inner being also plays an important

role in deciding whether we are happy or not. The internal route to

happiness revolves around our entire thought process and mental

makeup. A person needs to have a strong internal world to remain

happy, because we are what we think we are.

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To be happy, it is important to develop a higher self-esteem. It

allows one to love self and others. Another important requirement is

to develop a positive worldview. Rather than being upset over the

things that we have not attained, we should learn to appreciate the

things that we have gained. Being positive towards life and

overcoming the negative thought process is necessary for

happiness. You should have good role models and take inspiration

from their stories of struggle and triumph.

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13. Using Self-Exploration and Problem-Solving

Skills to Achieve Happiness

Being happy may prove to be too difficult a task. It may take our

greatest efforts to attain happiness. Even though there is no magic

formula for happiness, we can try some external and internal routes

to happiness. The external routes may vary from taking up a yoga

class or making new friends. The internal routes, on the other hand,

revolve around our entire thought process and mental makeup.

These external and internal routes increase the possibilities of our

being happy.

There is hardly an end to problems and challenges. We keep

confronting them all the time. We may be feeling mentally down

due to health problems, broken relationships or serious losses of

money. Even negative thoughts, inner conflicts and other

unpleasant events could rob us off our happiness. Happiness lies in

exploring and applying our capabilities to tackle these problems and


However, we need to accept the fact that adding a few positive

activities into a very unhappy life could not be the ultimate solution.

We can use several "stress reduction techniques" and positive activities to tackle the problems in hand. These could include

physical exercise, relaxation training, and visualization techniques.

These activities help us effectively deal with our negative emotions.

However, permanent happiness may not come even after taking up

these activities. For lasting happiness, it is important to address the Copyright © 2006 Joseph Miller


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root of the problems that we face. These positive activities could

supplement our efforts to find actual solutions to our problems.

If a person is depressed due to loss of job, simple relaxation or

watching a movie could not be of much use. These activities could

provide temporary relief to the person. However, for regaining

happiness, the person has to do something to get a job. In such a

situation, it is advisable to explore his potential and the existing

avenues for finding a better job. Happiness would return once the

person gets a job using his or her problem solving skills.

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14. Six Steps to Find the Underlying,

Internal Causes of Unhappiness

When we feel low, we may feel better using some external routes

like playing cards or listening to music. However, for lasting

happiness, it is important to find out the underlying, internal causes

of happiness.

The following are six steps for finding out these causes:

1. Developing a positive frame of mind

Positive mindset and rational outlook are important for tackling any

problem or challenge. Fearing a problem means losing half the

battle. Therefore, you should approach the problem with courage.

However, you should also be realistic while handling it. You should

always be ready to face the truth.

2. Analyzing problem situations

A thorough analysis of a problem situation could help you find out

the solution. Have a close look at the sequences and patterns of the

events. It will allow you find out how the problem occurred and how

best you can handle it.

3. Listening to the inner voice

Emotions are the directing forces for us. They tell us what things are

important for us. In a conscious level, we may sometime fail to

identify some threats to our expectations, goals, beliefs or inner

values. However, some inner part would be aware of such threats

and they would direct us through the emotions.

4. Identifying connections with emotions

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Many times, we fail to identify different connections with emotions

that may lead us to happiness. While some associated thoughts

have the potential of bringing us happiness, we remain unmindful to


5. Identifying values and beliefs

As you search the roots of your unhappiness, you will start

uncovering the underlying issues and subparts, which are

responsible for the problems. Identification of these issues and

subparts would help you find out a reasonable solution.

6. Setting boundaries of responsibility and control

For solving the emotional issues, it is important to clarify the

boundaries of control and responsibility. We need to remember that

we cannot control the behavior and action of other people around

us. It is our responsibility to control our own behavior in a

reasonable way and find happiness. Getting rid of expectations from

others would help find the underlying, internal causes of happiness.

Many times you have expectations of others and they fail you.

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15. How to Make Radical or Lifestyle

Changes to Attain Greater Happiness

A person may need some radical changes in personality and

lifestyle to cope with some undesirable circumstances. When the

chips are down and things are not going the way we want, some

change can help us cope with the situation and attain happiness.

However, people usually believe that radical lifestyle changes are

either impossible or extremely difficult to make. Even many

psychologists believe that way. They believe that it takes some time

to assess a person’s personality and it takes years to bring radical

changes to his or her personality.

However, we keep encountering incidents where people suddenly

put a stop to certain behaviors in a radical way. It could leave them

happier. For instance, you could see somebody taking drugs for

years and one fine day you would find him or her suddenly stopping

to take drugs. After quitting drugs, many people lead a normal life

leaving the past behind and concentrating on some productive work.

You will find many such cases of radical changes in identity, values,

goals and their behavior.

People making such radical changes in their lifestyle and behavior

pattern usually refer to this whole phenomenon as conversion

experience. You would find many people describing their changes as

results of achieving some basic insight or finding a new direction in


It may not be easy to make some radical changes to attain

happiness. However, it is not impossible either. People making such

changes usually do it in a very brief period - often in a day. A

sudden commitment to change allows them to wipe off their past

and start life afresh. However, it is important to consider this

commitment to change as the most important value in life. It would

enable to move on with the changed behavior pattern. Positive

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radical lifestyle changes bring us new sets of values, priorities and

view of life. All these enable us to work towards the well-being of

self and others.

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16. How to Know What Will Make You Happy

The road to happiness often proves to be too difficult for many.

The reason we fail to attain happiness is the fact that we fail to

identify things that make us happy.

We can consider the reasons of happiness in relation to three

different types of mind systems. These are - pleasure and pain

(related to lower brain centers), reason and emotion (related to the

cognitive system), and empathy and love (related to the Higher


Usually we use pleasure and pain as decision guides in our regular

affairs. However, though pleasure indicates fulfillment of the bodily

needs, it has certain limitations as a decision guide. Our lower brain

centers send out messages about out bodily needs through pleasure

and pain. They tell us when we need food, sleep, heat, cold and so

on. We need to respond to these messages with appropriate actions

to feel pleasure and avoid pain. Even though pleasure makes us

content, it can hardly give us long-term happiness. We may buy

bodily pleasure using our resources, yet we may remain unhappy.

Reason and emotion are other important elements as decision

guides. They relate to our cognitive domain and are above the

principle of pleasure and pain. The cognitive system allows us to

view our external and internal environments from a broader

perspective. We feel happy if our cognitive system finds that we

have been able to fulfill our needs. It is important to have harmony

within the cognitive system to be happy.

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Our higher self is the supreme factor in deciding whether we are

happy or not. The higher self is our inner hero that defines the

concepts of anxiety and happiness for us. It allows us to have the

feelings of empathy and love. The higher self allows us to think and

work towards attaining happiness for self and others. To be happy

in life, it is important to follow the higher self that often expresses as a positive inner voice. For instance, you may feel a pang while

going to do something that is wrong. That pang itself is the inner

voice and your higher self.

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17. How to Resolve Your

Conflicts to Bring Happiness

Your physical body and inner self work in perfect coordination and

harmony to conduct your life. Self-actualizing people lead the lives

with the greatest satisfaction and contentment. Such people have

the most productive and happiest lives. Hence, you need to

understand the foundation of their lives to understand the source of

their contentment.

Many associate coordinated functioning to be the root cause for a

conflict-free existence. Such functioning stems from the self relating

to the Higher Self. Religion and associated beliefs help you connect

to the Higher Self. You then find the answers to most of your

conflicts through such connection with the Higher Self.

Another set of people try to simplify religious beliefs and code them

as essential rules of living. They instill such codes for your daily life.

Many accept these codes and follow them blindly. You cannot follow

specific rules and find harmony in your relationships. Rules are only

a means to attain harmony and locate a peaceful end to your

conflicts. Following rules as if it is the voice of God is being

irrational. You need to believe in the rules and then follow them to

resolve your conflicts of mind and heart.

Rules of the highest level insist on giving happiness to self and

others. If your religious rules at any time collide with the basic rule of humanity to love all and spread happiness amongst all, then it is

not a rule at all. You cannot follow such rules or gain any

harmonious end to your conflicts.

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Following rules blindly robs your life of any surprises, enjoyment,

and enthusiasm. Instead, it gives you depression. This erases all

your chances of being happy. Being honest to yourself is an

essential element to attain your happiness.

You need to make a conscious decision to be honest about yourself.

You should never hide the truth from yourself. Analyze yourself

honestly to understand your true self. Your dishonesty creates a

conflict within yourself and leads to depression. Hence, you need to

choose your belief to be truthful to your inner self and resolve all

your conflicts emerging a happier person.

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18. Self-Actualization –

Learn to Attain Higher Self Power

There are times in our life when we wonder who we really are and

we keep searching for the purpose of our life. There are times when

you say things that you do not mean, and do things, which you wish

you had not done. At times, we feel there are some ideas that lie

deep down, in our minds but are left unexpressed. One can be most

aware of these areas of our own mind if we talk with ourselves.

Attaining Higher Self means maximum realization of your own self-

including your own strengths and weaknesses. As your higher self

continues to grow stronger, it will bring you inner peace and

contentment. It makes you more confident and a better human

being as a whole.

The process involves changing a certain habits. The Higher Self is

however, selective about the habits it changes. The habits that are

not in tone with the set ideal principles of Higher Self need to be

changed, whereas those, which strengthen one’s inner self, are to

be maintained. For some people, this might bring a huge change in

their lifestyle, which is very difficult to adjust within a short period.

People who face extremely difficult circumstances reach deep inside

and find inner strength that they were unaware they owned. There

have been instances of patients who were on their deathbed, but

recovered completely from their diseases due to outstanding

willpower and tremendous strength of character. These are nothing

but instances where the Higher Self has demonstrated its great


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Dr. Abraham Maslow, is an expert who has described characteristics

of ‘O ur essential inner nature’, which is synonymous to definition of Higher Self. He has discussed how its initially fragile character could be repressed, but not lost entirely.

Maslow says that one cannot love others until he or she learns to

love their own self. He came up with some self-actualization

metavalues like wholeness, perfection, completion, justice,

aliveness, richness, simplicity, beauty, goodness, uniqueness,

effortlessness, playfulness, truth, and self-sufficiency.

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19. How to Imagine and Create an

Internal Model of Happiness in Your Mind

There is an old saying, which says that, ‘ a man becomes what he

believes he can.’ Similarly, the world around every one of us is the same. The difference lies in our perception. Little do we realize that

this perception is what makes all the difference in shaping up of our

entire lives.

Consider how unhappy some people are despite having all the

materialistic pleasures and how happy some people are in spite of

having nothing. There are examples of famous people who have

been miserable or even committed suicide despite having great

amounts of money, love, fame, friends, attention, and success in

their fields.

No one else can give you happiness. Happiness comes from inside.

You can be given material possessions and someone can give you

unconditional love, which is wonderful, but to find happiness you

need to set goals, and reach goals. You need to find a basic

contentment inside yourself and know that you are worthy of giving

and receiving love.

At the end of the day, the truth remains that in this fast life, we

tend to lose ourselves in the external world and tend to forget the

entire world that lies inside us. The world that focuses on the purity

of your soul is always being overshadowed by the external world.

If we try to analyze the situation, it will be seen that we never

experience the external world directly. Our focus on the external

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world actually consists of pre-conceived internal perceptions and

thoughts. It does not consist of the external world events

themselves, but our views associated with those events.

Throughout our life, our mind is always filled with various thoughts.

It is almost impossible that our mind goes completely blank and

becomes devoid of all the thoughts. Thoughts directly establish our

emotions. Our positive emotions like love, joy, and happiness and

negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and depression play an

instrumental role in deciding how we react to our external

conditions and hence shape up our external world.

Right from the day we are born, we are being exposed to various

emotions and thoughts. The lifelong experiences and the kind of

environment that we are subjected to determine the person that we

become. However, after a certain extent it is entirely our

perceptional choice while building our image of our environment.

If we decide to create a world full of beauty, harmony, love, truth,

and happiness in our mind, then we will actually start to live in that

world! Similarly, if our perception of the world consists of ugliness,

conflict, hate, falsehood, and unhappiness, then that will hold true

for us. In short, your world will be built based on your own

imagination and hence one must learn to think positive and create a

world of happiness, which will be pleasurable for everyone.

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20. Two Worldviews -

Negative versus Positive Thinking

So how do you see your glass? Is it half-full or half-empty? Two

descriptions of the same event can be so different in nature! The

age-old debate of positive thinking versus negative thinking

continues even today. It might be just a matter of perception, but in

fact, this little difference can change your life. The ultimate choice

you make changes you forever. So, what do you choose to become,

an optimist or a pessimist?

Recently, Dr. Roger Sperry, a Nobel-prize winning psycho-biologist

wrote about how science is taking this new level of consciousness as

a powerful force shaping the present as well as the future of living

beings. Connection of psychology and biology is very ancient and

holds ground even today.

Groups, societies, and the entire human race can cooperatively

develop states of higher consciousness. Reaching that critical mass

level can open new doors to opportunities, which were previously

beyond our imagination.

Thousands of years ago, humans could live together peacefully only

in small groups however, with time our abilities to organize and live

together peacefully have evolved. The size of groups that are able

to function in harmony has grown from families to tribes, to nations,

and eventually to a new world order, that ultimately includes all

nations and all people on the face of this earth.

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It is a known fact that, powerful creative forces are built into every

cell of every living creature. These growth forces are providing the

momentum to make this better world a better place to live.

If you have a pessimistic view of the future, you will be inclined to

have negative thoughts and depression. However, if you have an

optimistic view of the future, you will feel happy and look forward to

live and enjoy every single day of your life. If you want to get rid of the roots of your negativism or depression, you must examine and

replace negative thoughts with positive reasoning and


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21. How Can You Be Happy

in an Imperfect World?

It is very simple to believe and becomes imperative to think of only

good things and that life is paradise. However, this is not true.

There is nothing like paradise on earth. There are many

imperfections, irregularities, negativities, fears, and disillusions.

Your ability to cope with these negativities and bounce back

emitting positive vibes shows your capability to be happy in an

imperfect world.

Life is nothing short of a permanent struggle. You have to abide by

the rules of nature. You have to accept both positive and negative

sides of existence. Death is as much a reality as life itself.

Happiness and unhappiness, pain and relief, predictable and

whimsical go hand in hand. If one exists, the other also exists. You

cannot dispute those facts.

All these facts stem from your perceptions. You cultivate and

inoculate right from wrong, good from evil, and so on. Therefore,

you create a picture of an ideal world and then view and compare

your circumstances from your world. You try to change everything

to suit your preferences.

How to be happy amid such imperfections

The only way to combat this perception is to accept things as they

are. What you receive from life and nature is the ultimate. Think,

perceive, experience, and accept the world as it is. Do not look at it

from behind colored glasses. Once you understand this fact, you can

find happiness everywhere and anywhere in this imperfect world.

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However, human nature has both optimism and pessimism within.

You as an individual can conquer pessimism with your optimism.

You err, as you are human. However, if you learn from your

mistakes, you evolve into a better individual. You are able to give

more to this world. You can spread positive feelings around you and


Some of you try to avoid the darker facts of life by allaying their

existence. Although it does give you a short reprieve, you fear it in

some corner of your heart. Hence, instead of avoiding or dispelling

your fears, tackle them by accepting these grim realities of life as

coexistent with your basic existence itself. This puts you on a

sublime situation and you can locate happiness in facing reality.

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22. Deficit Motivation vs. Abundance Motivation

Deficit motivation, as the name suggests, is your belief that

whatever you have received or are receiving is much lower than you

should receive. Deficit motivation indicates yourself being in scarcity and hence, would appreciate any increases.

This creates a feeling of depression and you seem to harbor ill

feelings against others as they have more than you do. You try to

take away from others what you feel should rightfully belong to you.

Sometimes, you go into a cocoon due to your grievance and apathy.

Abundance motivation indicates loads of everything. You feel that

you have much more than your expectations. You dispel extreme

satisfaction over your bounty. You possess a feeling of extreme


Whatever you receive beyond is a bonus and you do not harbor any

ill feelings. It is a feeling of contentment. Anything else you receive is for your desire and it is not anything that you feel accrues to you.

You are happy with what you have and try to share it with others.

However, the glitch here is that your feeling of abundance and

deficit does not match with your actual bearings. It is your

individual perception. If you set very high goals for yourself, you

remain in a state of deficit motivation constantly. You think that you

should deserve it. This triggers a set of emotions, which harbor

negative feelings like anger, resentment, depression, jealousy, and


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Rather, if you view whatever you have in terms of abundance

motivation, you feel overwhelmed. You feel grateful and experience

a deep sense of satisfaction, peace, and happiness. You are able to

appreciate the subtleness in everything. You find abundance in

nature, your feelings, belongings, and in everyone. Therefore, it

leads to assertive or positive thinking and aiming for similar goals.

Hence, abundance motivation leads you to further positiveness and

optimism in life.

Abundance motivation denotes the powerful motivation from within

while deficit motivation points towards victimization. You feel that

you lack in everything, as you do not receive it from others.

Modifying this concept can help you think that you could give much

more to others. This is lodging you on abundance motivation.

Stop and appreciate what you have. Stop and look at what you have

achieved in life. If you are reading this, you have achieved learning

how to read. Each step as you go on in life, will bring you to small

goals and large goals. But, take a moment to relax and appreciate

where you have been.

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23. How to Develop Positive Thinking

and Feel Happier in Everyday Life

You are the sole deciding authority to chart the course of your

happiness. You have to decide on how to develop positive vibes

within you to make you increasingly happier. Work and develop

your feelings towards attainment of happiness. Your measure of

happiness is your ultimate concern. Hence, an analysis of your

happiness in your everyday life can help you sort out a way to

gauge your daily happiness. This instigates a way to maintain

continuing happiness in your life.

Although there is both positive and negative all around, you need to

put in positive feelings and vibes in negative situations. Your brain

is but human and hence, gives rise to all types of feelings and

thoughts. Tackle your brain and locate positiveness within


Every living being has both positiveness and negativity within.

Pushing negativity to oblivion and accommodating positiveness

within is the essence of life and existence. This creates a

harmonious situation in every stage of life. The hardest of criminals

has a positive corner within his heart, which needs proper guidance

to evolve and crush evil thoughts.

Whenever you face an unpleasant situation, your first reaction is of

abhorrence. Nevertheless, do not allow this feeling to grow. Instead,

look for something positive amongst or rather within a bad

situation. This lightens the situation and makes you progress

towards something positive.

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It is common to say that evil thoughts stem and roam in an idle

brain. Hence, canalize your thoughts positively in your idle or laid-

back moments. A constant and regular positive vibe spreads

positiveness within you and in others around you.

Analyze the sequence of feelings within you and identify if you have

more of positive or negative thoughts in a situation. At the same

time, list out the thoughts associated with positive or negative

emotions. Normally, your higher self-values like truth, kindness,

simplicity, and similar others constitute positive thoughts. Negative