Moment Of Clarity

Get Happier in 9 Steps

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When it comes to happiness, people ask me two questions: 1) What does it mean to be happy? and 2) When do you know you’re happy? My answer is pretty simple: You’re happy when you feel good either in that moment or as a whole when you look back at your life.

Then, there is the follow up question: But what if I feel good but don’t feel happy? At first listen, this question seems silly. However, if you think about it, there are a lot of people who feel good about who they are or what they do but report “something’s missing.” It is that “something” that keeps them from feeling truly happy.

To me, it seems easier to explain the concept of happiness in terms of its “essence.” I see the essence of happiness as making a difference in the life of another while doing something you love. Oftentimes, people who are unhappy miss one of these two things.

For example, a parent may feel good about raising healthy children, but if they aren’t doing something that they personally love (e.g. painting) they may like something is missing. The same may be true of a wealthy man. While he may not want for much, he may have a desire to give to causes that are important to him.

If you are looking for something more specific that you can do to become a happier person the following may be helpful:

1)   Find a cause. Helping others validates our sense of self. It tells us that we matter and make a difference in the world. If you don’t believe me, think about the last time someone said “thank you” and meant it. How did you feel?

2)   Create something beautiful. Whether you are at work or at home, make your surroundings as beautiful as you can. This doesn’t require you to spend a lot, if any, money. Just bring in pictures of your family, friends, awards, or drawings. You’ll be surprised at how good you feel when things that make you feel good surround you.

3)   Become curious. The world is much more grey than it is black and white. There is often a backstory and you may be unaware of it. The more curious we are about others, the less judgmental we become.

4)   Forgive yourself. This helps you develop compassion and leads to self-respect. When we are unable to forgive ourselves, we become critical of others.

5)   Smile. Smiling helps us feel a little happier.

6)   Be honest. Telling the truth frees us from the prison of lies. When we tell the truth, we walk taller and breathe a little more deeply because we don’t have to look over our shoulders.

7)   Find friends who are doing things with their lives. There is a saying, “Show me your three best friends and I’ll show you your future.” Surround yourself with people who are striving to learn and grow as individuals and citizens.

8)   Take responsibility for your choices and circumstances. Yes, bad things happen to good people but happy people do not allow their circumstances to define them. They figure out the best way to deal with things that happen in a way that is consistent with helping others and doing something they love.

9)   See the good in everything. While it may seem like a cliché, it works wonders for your disposition and enhances the way people experience you.

Do you have any tips on how to be a happier person? Do share with me!

I hope this was helpful. With love and light, I wish you pleasant journeys!

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!