7 Ingredients of a Happy Life

What does it take to be happy? We all know healthy, wealthy, beautiful people that are miserable, so it must take something else to be happy. But what? What's the big secret?

While there isn't a recipe that will work for everyone, there are several things that most happy people have in common.

Adding at least a few of these items to your life is sure to make you smile more frequently:

1. Something to look forward to.
Think about how much more you enjoy your life when you have something on the horizon to look forward to.

It could be a vacation, Christmas, a baby on the way, or the pending release of a new book. What can you plan in the near future that would excite you?

2. Someone to love.
It's important to have someone to love and someone that loves you. It doesn't necessarily have to be a romantic relationship.

A child, or even a pet, can fill that role. There are many people alone in the world. All you need to do is reach out to them.

3. Challenge.
It has been shown that humans require a certain amount of stress to thrive. This is referred to as eustress, as opposed to distress.

Eustress is positive because it's uplifting to be able to work through a challenge. It feels awesome to win!

4. A meaningful way to spend your time.
This isn't quite the same as challenge. Volunteering at your church or a charity might not be challenging, but it can be meaningful. It's important to feel that you matter.

5. Fun.
Who doesn't like to have fun? A little fun now and then is crucial. However, it's also important to enjoy it in limited quantities.

For example, riding a roller coaster might be fun. But riding a roller coaster 50 times in one day isn't fun.

6. Other people.
No matter how introverted you might be, it's necessary to spend at least a little time with others each week. That doesn't mean you need to attend two parties every week.

Meeting for lunch with a close friend might be all the human contact you require. It's up to you.

7. Personal growth.
People are happy when they're making progress in life. There are many ways to experience progress. It might be your waistline, health, knowledge, wisdom, golf game, or your piano skills.

Knowing you're better at something today than you were last year is a great feeling.

How happy are you? What can you do to make yourself more happy?

The items in this list are important, but the list isn't exhaustive. Add a few of these items to your life and brainstorm a few more ideas.

Avoid the trap of believing that money and possessions are the key to happiness. Studies have shown they are not.

You can make yourself happier by taking control of your life and focusing on the things that make a difference to you.

Soon, you'll feel greater fulfillment and realize that you've built a life you truly enjoy.

9 Reasons to Give Minimalism a Chance

Who would choose to be a minimalist? You might have visions of living in an empty room with little more than a chair and a bare light bulb.

But that's not what minimalism is all about. It's not about reducing everything to the minimum you can barely tolerate.

It's about getting rid of the extra things and commitments that don't mean much to you.

The extra items and obligations in your life cost more than you realize in terms of dollars and peace of mind.

Adopting a few minimalist principles could go a long way towards bringing you greater fulfillment and life satisfaction.

Discover how minimalism can alter your life for the better:

1. You'll spend a lot less time cleaning.
Half of the time you spend cleaning is actually spent decluttering. It's easier to clean the floors, the counters, and the furniture if you don't have to spend time moving things around and putting things away first.

2. You'll feel better.
Less clutter uplifts your mood and outlook on life. You'll be surprised how much better you feel without all the stuff that's commonly in your way. You'll also be surrounded by the things that mean the most to you.

3. Minimalism is inexpensive.
It only stands to reason that you'll save more money if you buy fewer things. You might even make a few bucks when getting rid of the things that aren't meaningful to you.

4. You can own higher quality items.
With more money to spend, you might be able to buy a nicer car, TV, or clothing.

Or you might want to save the money, but at least you have the choice. What would you buy if you could? Minimalism could make this possible for you.

5. You have more free time.
With fewer things to take care of and less time spent on cleaning and decluttering, you'll have more free time to enjoy the rest of your life.

You also have fewer distractions which makes it easier to enjoy the other parts of your life.

6. Less stress.
A cleaner home, more money, more free time, and more space result in less stress. Just look at a picture of a minimalist home and notice the feeling of serenity that comes over you.

Now imagine coming home to that same feeling after a long, stressful day at work.

7. Clearer sense of purpose and greater motivation.
By limiting your activities and possessions to the most important, you'll find it easier to focus and make decisions. Your commitment to those remaining activities also increases.

8. Relationships are enhanced.
When you and everyone in your home is less distracted, happier, and has more free time, you can enjoy each other more.

A comfortable, stress-free environment benefits everyone in the home.

9. You could live in a smaller home.
You certainly don't have to, but you have the option of moving to a smaller and less expensive home.

A house is the most expensive thing you're likely to ever buy. You'll have the option of reducing this expense if you decide to give minimalism a try.

You probably have a garage, attic, or basement full of things in your way that you never use. Imagine how you would feel with that space cleared out.

Pick one room and pretend you're a minimalist. If you're apprehensive, put all the items you remove from the room in boxes and store them. If you don't miss the items after a month, get rid of them.

Minimalism might sound boring and austere, but it's really just the opposite. Try it for yourself!

Surround yourself with the items and activities that you love and feel the positive difference in your life.

Learn more here in my online self help super-site about how to create and use a self development plan to become happier and more confident in your life.

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