12 Prescriptions for Happiness That Will Change Your Life

Prescriptions for Happiness Change Life

Being happy is sometimes easier said than done. But, there are a few prescriptions for happiness, that can fill your life with contentment, and cheer.

The ups and downs of life can detour you from a happy life. There are days when unhappiness can take up residence in your head and cast a large shadow, darkening your happiness. You can watch it with a dispassionate eye, much as you would observe a blemish on your hand. You step out of the water you’ve been swimming in, hold your life at arm’s length, and get a clearer vision from the riverbank on how happiness has eluded you.

This allows you to take stock in 15 essential prescriptions that, though difficult to put into practice, comprise the prescription for the happy life you seek:

1. Cultivate Self-Compassion.

Studies show you’re happier if you give yourself a healthy dose of self-compassion after you fail, miss a deadline, or make a mistake. Coming down hard on yourself after a fumble reduces your chances of rebounding.

Conversely, empathy for yourself after a setback motivates you to get back in the saddle. It’s generally accepted that the more you fill your tank with self-compassion, the more empathy you have for others.

So be kind to yourself, talk yourself off the ledge, give yourself a pep talk, or positive affirmation. Throw yourself a thumbs-up every time you finish a project, reach a successful milestone, or accomplish a goal.

Related: 6 Life Changing Steps To Practice Mindful Self Compassion

2. Celebrate Highs and Lows Equally.

Celebrate the accomplishments and accolades in your life. But don’t take the highs any more seriously than the lows. And don’t take the lows any more seriously than the highs.

When you stay off the roller coaster, which you will surely experience, and welcome ups and downs equally, you don’t suffer the unpleasant effects of the lows as much. And you’re able to steer the course of your life in the direction you want to go and find the happiness and success you seek—regardless of how dire the circumstances.

Prescriptions for Happiness
Prescriptions for Happiness

3. Grow Tough Hide.

Character consists of the emotional ruggedness to persevere after 99 failures so you can succeed on the 100th try. Developing a thick skin is just as important as completing a task, finishing a project, or reaching your goal.

In fact, building your resilience might be a stronger character trait than any actions you take in life. You haven’t failed until you quit. So take the towel you want to throw in, wipe the sweat off your face, and get back into the game.

4. Stack Cans Instead Of Cannots.

Check your negative attitude. Complaining when things go south doesn’t fix anything and only exacerbates unhappiness.

Learn to bounce back from setbacks and bad news by stacking your cans. Avoid blowing things out of proportion; look for gains in losses and the upside of a downside situation; focus on the solution, not the problem; pinpoint opportunity in the challenge, step back from roadblocks, and brainstorm how to turn them into stepping stones.

5. Stick Your Neck Out.

Instead of fleeing from the unknown, stretch into the unfamiliar and unexpected. It’s one of life’s paradoxes. Stepping outside your comfort zone, risking your neck, and embracing novelty actually interject more excitement and happiness. Pinpoint the place in your life where you’ve been hiding, and stick your neck out.

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Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D

Bryan E. Robinson, Ph.D., is a journalist, author, psychotherapist, and Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has authored 42 books including his latest, #Chill: Turn Off Your Job And Turn On Your Life (William Morrow, 2019) and Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians who Treat Them (New York University Press, 2014), and Daily Writing Resilience (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). He is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a licensed mental health clinician. He maintains a private clinical practice in Asheville, NC, and writes for Forbes, Psychology Today, and Thrive Global. You can reach him at bryanrobinsononline.com.View Author posts