I'd say my secret to happiness has been driven by a positive attitude, keeping my life very simple, and learning to manage time. I'd say the last one has been key to what I've been able to accomplish, but at least for me, all three of these things have to be in balance to work. For instance, when I allow my life to get too complicated, my attitude goes to hell in short order, and my productivity goes right out the window. It's a delicate balance, and a lesson I occasionally forget and have to teach myself again--in fact, I took a year off from writing, and now that I've returned to it I realized just recently that I'd let my life get way too complicated again and had to make some painful decisions in order to keep life in balance.
I'll tell you two small things you can start training yourself to do right now that I think you'll find make a huge impact on your attitude and the stress in your life with minimal effort:
Start Changing The Way You Think And React To Irritants
You wake up on Monday morning and you think "Damn, I got to go to work today." Maybe you ought to be thinking "I get to go to work today." You know there are millions in this country that would love to go to work today. Every time you have a negative thought, start trying to think of a different way of seeing it. If you're an angry driver, find some nice music to listen to, or listen to a book on the way to work. Leave earlier so you aren't so stressed out while driving about the possibility to being late. If there's something ticking you off on a regular basis, think of a way to fix it--then fix it. It's that simple. Why suffer the same frustration day in and day out? A good example: I used to get annoyed at the number of spam emails I'd get every day--some days I'd get fifty or a hundred. I'd have to sort through a ton of trash to find the emails that I needed to see, and very often I'd miss things that were buried in there. I began taking ten minutes each morning to unsubscribe from email lists, and within a few days, the problem was virtually eliminated along with the source of irritation. These days, the second I get an unsolicited email, I unsubscribe. Problem solved.
We're often stressed out about how far behind we are. We'll never get caught up. There's too much to do at work, and then I get home and there's a million things to do there, too. Try a little exercise--instead of seeing the immovable mountain, start focusing on the small rocks you can handle. Over your morning coffee, write down three small, easily attainable things you've been putting off for a long time that you want to get done before you go to bed that night. It's those things that when you're laying in bed at night you think "damn, I keep forgetting to . . . 1.) take my jacket to dry cleaner, 2.) order that part for the vacuum cleaner 3.) call and make an appointment for the dog's rabies shot. When you go to bed that night, think how good it feels to have accomplished those three little things. The next day, do the same thing, and the day after, and the day after. You're going to be surprised at just how soon you run out of items for your little list of three items a day and have to really think hard to come up with even one--and just how effortlessly you cleared that mountain of unfinished work. You may be tempted to start writing down one larger item a day to knock off your list, or maybe one huge item to knock off your list for the week . . . that's exactly the right way to look at it. The less you've got hanging over your head, the less stress you're going to feel, and the happier you're going to be.
Work these two simple things for a couple weeks--I guarantee you'll feel better. The problem we have as human beings, is these giant brains of ours. We have a tendency to make things way harder than they actually are. To make things more complicated than they need to be. The real secret to happiness is thinking less rather than more, and how to simplify life rather than complicate it.
Things are only as complicated and stressful as you make them.
Here's a few good books I recommend:
The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss
Todd E. Creason, 33° is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning historical series Famous American Freemasons. In 2011, he published his first novel One Last Shot which was followed in 2012 with a sequel A Shot After Midnight. He's currently working on the third novel in the Twin Rivers series. All of Todd E. Creason's books are sold at major online booksellers like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and are available for both Nook and Kindle.