Ok, being a bit tongue in cheek here BUT…
1. One key to happiness is pushing your comfort zone. Pushing your comfort zone is (by definition) often uncomfortable. Yet some of our greatest achievements, our fondest memories, our finest hours will come when we push ourselves, when we move beyond our often self-imposed limits to find the joys of new strengths, new abilities. The theme song of Tom Cruise’s “Top Gun” is “Danger Zone” not “Couch Potato Zone”…
2. Intensely pleasurable emotional experiences can make other positive experiences seem more dull by comparison. Plus we quickly get used to (“habituated” in psychology speak) new, higher levels of luxury, experience, status, whatever, and they quickly become the norm, fading into the background, no longer providing the same level of stimulation that they originally did. So we need to frequently recalibrate our emotions. You can do this by going broke or spending a night out sleeping on the pavement or you can deliberately take moments throughout the day to reflect upon the many good things in your life and quietly appreciate them, e.g. count your blessings daily, journal frequently on all the wonders in your life, your friends, your loved ones, the connections and community that give meaning and purpose to your existence.
Consciously cultivate an “attitude of gratitude” and you are a long way to a life of happiness. Don’t think you have much to be grateful for? Make a list of all the things you would miss if they suddenly were taken away: your job, your car, your home, your clothes, the level of health you currently have, just to start with the physical. You can do the same friends and family. Sure they can be a pain at times but what if the phone were to ring and it was the ER on the line? Visualize that and the heart skips a few beats.
Just as music is the space between the notes and mountains only exist because there are valleys, so happiness is really appreciation and gratitude, the willingness to gracefully accept the inevitable ebbs and flows of life.
“People confuse pleasure and happiness. Pleasure is a physical experience and by its very nature has an end. Happiness is a state of mind and lasts as long as you choose.”