5 Ways to Happiness: Tweaking the Way you Think

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, November 19 2013 at 6:26 PM, Updated: Fri, November 22 2013 at 6:21 PM

Today is day two in our special week-long series on 5 ways you can be a happier person.

Today we're focusing on tweaking the way you think, just a little, that could result in a happier you.

Life coach and author Dr. Rick Kirschner knows a thing or two about living a happier life.

"I've written I think nine books to date, authored or co-authored. 11 audio and video programs, pretty much everything I do has to do with positive change and communication," said Kirschner.

We've already isolated step one to happiness: where you choose to be happy, and identify things you love or are good at and do them more often. Now comes step two, slightly tweaking the way you thinka bout life and its curveballs.

"It's a mindset that says whatever is happening in life, you can deal with it," Kirschner.

"Instead of fighting or withdrawing when things don't go the way you want, you face it and move through it."

According to Dr. Kirschner there are ways people can approach life by making what he calls useful assumptions. They're thoughts like "I can get through this."

You can also give others the benefit of the doubt.

"That's a useful assumption that people are doing the best they can with what they know and if you assume that about people, you don't have to take their behavior personally," he said.

Our happiness expert over at SOU, Professor Doug Smith agrees.   

"Some people choose to think in a certain way that the world is complex, complicated place and I feel helpless in my ability to negotiate through some of that. Other people can recognize...I have many good options versus many not so good options," said Smith.

"I think we can change the way we think," he concluded.

However this whole idea of changing the way you think doesn't mean that you can't acknowledge the bad things in life.

"Sometimes negativity is a positive response to what's going on in life."

Fact is, we're all human and bad things happen to good people. But in the end it's about taking your current situation, recognizing it for what it is and also recognizing what you can do to better yourself.   An important factor is making a decision to move through it.

In short, the healthy and happy option involves taking into account both sides of the coin and choosing to focus on what you can change for the better despite tough circumstances

"I realize it's not easy to wake up and feel great about your life if you're trying to take care of a relative or provide for your family [...] but waking up and saying look, this is my life, this is where I'm at, What can I do to make my life better today, that's far more likely to lead to positive outcomes," said Kirschner.

Coming up tomorrow in this week's special series: 5 Ways to Happiness, we'll tell you about the role meaningful relationships play in your own happiness.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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