Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Power of POSITIVE Thinking - 4 steps to HAPPIER YOU

Four steps to a happier you no matter what the challenge.

Positive thinking can be tricky when times are tough. But if you can find a way to be happy, experts say you can cope with even life’s biggest challenges. Whether you’re facing a financial crisis or recovering from a rocky relationship, here’s how to help happiness prevail.

1. The power of positive thinking

Letting go of negativity is the first step to overcoming difficult situations. “Your brain’s ability to come up with creative solutions is reduced when you’re in a depressive mood,” says Martha Finney, author of Rebound: A Proven Plan for Starting Over After a Job Loss. Finney says each of us has a “mental muscle,” or emotional resilience we can rely on for strength. Just recall the last tough time in your life and remember that you made it through. “You know what it means to prevail because you’ve already done it,” says Finney.

2. Tap in to Happy

No matter how bleak the outlook may be, it is possible to stay positive when times are tough, says Carmel McConnell, author of The Happiness Plan: Simple Steps to a Happier Life. “Ask yourself ‘when and where am I happiest?’ and simply make more room for that in your life,” she says. For instance, if what you love most is listening to music while relaxing in the bath, making time to do that is more important than ever.

3. Money can’t buy happiness

If you’re having a hard time because you’re strapped for cash, McConnell says it’s important to realize that more stuff is not going to make you happy. “Many people worry that, without the ability to flash cash, they’re going to be miserable, she says. “But research shows that we’re never satisfied after purchases and always want more.” So instead of lamenting the fact you can’t afford an iPhone, think about how you don’t actually need money to do the things that make you most happy, like enjoying a potluck dinner with your girlfriends.

4. Spread the joy

One key to happiness is to focus on making other people happy, says McConnell. The best investment for a happier life is building trust and intimacy with your friends and family, she adds. A recent study from Harvard University discovered that happiness spreads through groups of friends quickly and for each joyful friend you have, your level of happiness increases by nine percent.