Find happiness from within with these spiritual tips - Plus how to put material concerns into perspective

How to be happy
 
We'd all like to feel happier. But instead of thinking about happiness as something that may or may not happen to you, consider it as something that you can create.

It's easy to feel envious of other people's material wealth or accomplishments. The glamorous lives of celebrities, the effortless over-achievers at work, or the perfect domestic bliss of friends' lives can leave you feeling inadequate in comparison.

The key is to stop comparing yourself to others and concentrate on making your life the best it can be. The energy you are wasting on lusting after the lives of others could be used to improve your own life.
The secret to being happier is, first, to acknowledge all the good things you already have in your life. Allow yourself to feel content with the positive people you know and talents you possess.

But being content doesn't mean being complacent. So the second step to feeling happier is to change those things that stop you being happy and to strive to achieve your goals. For instance, if your job is making you feel unhappy, don't just sit around complaining about it - start looking for a more a more fulfilling career. If you've always wanted to travel to a certain place, take on extra work so you can begin saving money to fund your dream.
 
Spiritual Contentment Techniques
 
1. Gratitude
Count your blessings. Make a list of all the positive things you have: friends, family, a home, pets, your health, enough food, talents and skills etc. Be specific. You'll likely find more good things already in your life than you expected. Take a moment each day, especially when you are at a low ebb, to reflect on this list of blessings. Show appreciation in the form of kindness to those people and creatures that bring happiness into your world.
 
2. Find Your Purpose
What would make you most happy? Choose a specific and constructive goal. Wishing to win the lottery or suddenly become famous will not fulfil you on a spiritual level! Pick something that is focussed purely on yourself rather than on other people. Perhaps you've always wanted to study a certain subject, to play music or to learn a new skill. Make it happen. Don't allow lack of time or money to put you off. Think about ways you could cut down the costs of fulfilling your dream; there are charities that could help with funding.
 
3. Optimism
A positive attitude is essential if you want to feel happier. You will receive knock-backs and disappointments in life but the important thing is not to let them stop you working towards your goals. You will be much happier if you can put negative events into perspective and move forward instead of dwelling upon them. Never give up.
 
4. Exercise
Getting your body moving releases feel-good endorphins into your bloodstream that will raise your happiness levels. Even if it seems like a big effort, you'll really feel the benefits of even gentle exercise. A moderate paced walk in your local park is enough if done regularly.
 
Change your thinking...
Below are areas of life that cause concern for many people. Happiness is not found in material matters but until you address your thought patterns on these subjects, you may find them a source of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. By approaching material concerns with a fresh perspective, you can learn to see your life in a positive way.
 
Body Image
It's natural to want to look your best but your physical appearance should not be the focus of your life. Obsessing over whether you are good looking enough leads to constant worrying or arrogance - neither of which is attractive! It's important to remember that the images you see in magazines often are very far removed from reality. Only by accepting yourself and being with people who accept you, will you find happiness. Some of the most attractive people are those who are comfortable with themselves and radiate an inner glow of confidence.
 
Fame
We live in a culture that worships celebrity. It's fine to take inspiration from the achievements of somebody you admire. But fame is not the key to happiness. It is often hollow and empty even for those who have achieved seemingly dizzying heights. If you slavishly follow the antics of your favourite celeb, you are missing the chance to think for yourself and see the world from your unique perspective. Concentrate on what you can achieve for yourself.
 
Relationships
Be your own person. The happiest people have their own identity and don't define themselves through their relationship. Equally, to be happy within a relationship, you'll need to accommodate the needs of another person but never compromise on your moral values. Never rush into marriage, take a couple of years to really get to know whether you are suited.
 
Money
Having a bulging bank balance doesn't guarantee you happiness. You have to be content within yourself - and all the cash in the world can't do that for you. But money certainly makes life easier and more pleasant - depending upon how you use it. It's not unspiritual to want to earn money; abundance is a positive energy. It's the 'love of money' or obsession with money that is destructive.

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