How to be happy: 5 tips to turn things around

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on August 1, 2011 at 11:50 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 1 at 11:56 AM

PHOENIX – When times are tough, it can be difficult to be happy. There are so many things we as individuals cannot control. The trick is to focus on what is actually in our power to change.

Life coach, mentor and author Mike Lindstrom sat down with Kaley O’Kelley to share his best tips for being happy and the best part is they are things you can do immediately.

“Anything you can do during these tough times to reinvigorate yourself and try to come up with some mental strategies to focus your mind and quit worrying about the things you can’t control [is good],” he said.

The first step, according to Lindstrom, is to stop being so hard on yourself. For many people, that’s easier said than done. In our “keeping up with the Jones” culture, we are so prone to worrying about what others have and what they do that sometimes we forget to focus on ourselves. Comparisons are not necessary and can, in fact, be harmful.

“Focus on yourself. Focus on everything you can control,” Lindstrom said. “Focus on your own mental state and make that’s going in the direction you want it to go for yourself rather than worry about someone else is or what you don’t have in your life.” Hand in hand with that is learning not to worry about what other people think. That is completely out of your control. Again, it’s easier said than done.

“We’re surrounding ourselves every day with people who are going to influence us in some way,” Lindstrom said. “We have to learn to control what part of the conversation we’re going to contribute to.”

One of those things in your control is gossip. Bottom line, Lindstrom says, it don’t do it. While gossiping might make you feel better, it creates a negative energy in the long run. The key, once again, is to focus on yourself.

One of Lindstrom’s favorite tips is often one the most difficult things to accomplish – forgive somebody in your life.

“We all have somebody in our lives,” he said.

Lindstrom said he’s had clients do this and while they were extremely resistant at first, they felt so gratified once they had picked up the phone or mailed a letter.

“When you let go of that anger and that negative emotion, you’re freeing yourself and you’re freeing the other individual,” he explained.

The last thing you can do is surround yourself with positive people. Positivity and negativity are contagious. Like it or not, we’re influenced by the people we spend time with. That means it’s essential to make the best choices possible.

None of these strategies are easy, but Lindstrom says if you do just one and do it well, you should see positive results. He suggests writing down your goal for the week to help you focus on achieving it.

“It’ll make you so much happier in the long run,” he said.

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