A Gentleman has good habits that enhance their lives.  They do things differently.  Ask any happy gentleman, and they will tell you that they …

1. Let Everything and Anything Go.  Don’t Hold Grudges.

A Gentleman understands that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let his negative feelings cloud their positive feelings.  Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your well-being, including increased depression, anxiety, and unnecessary stress.  Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you?  Never allow this to happen.  Believe it or not, once you realize you can disallow others to make you feel any particular way, life changes.  If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear path for yourself and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat Everyone With Kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier?  Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.  And besides, if you want to be treated in a genuinely kind way, it’s best to treat others the way you want to be treated.

3. See Problems As Challenges.

I love a challenge, don’t you?  The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary.  Problems are meant to be solved.  A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare.  Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.  This is your opportunity to prove you can overcome anything.  

4. Be Thankful For What You Have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.”  You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of obsessing for what you don’t have.

5. Dream Big.  Then Dream Bigger.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t.  If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.  And, don’t forget to write down your goals.  When you put pen to paper, your goals become real and not just a thought.

6. Don’t Get Worked Up Over Small Things.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations.  Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.  Dear Buddha, I ask myself what does and doesn’t matter almost daily.

7. Speak Well Of Others.

Being nice feels better than being mean.  As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling empty and resentful.  Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.  Are you really one to judge another person?  I’m not.

8. Never Ever Make Excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”  Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life.  Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.  If you can do this, “you’ll be a man, my son.”  Let me add – don’t accept excuses either.

9. Live Right Now, Right Here.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future.  They savour the present.  They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment.  Stop and smell the roses.  Once you learn today is the only time that matters, you’ll not worry about what came before or what lies ahead ever again.

10. Wake Up.

Be aware of everything and everyone around you.  Take notice.  We live in a self-absorbed society.  Be different.

11. Don’t Ever Compare Yourself To Others.

Everyone works at his own abilities, so why compare yourself to others?  If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority.  If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself.  You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.  I tell this to my photography students all the time.

12. Choose Friends Wisely.  And, Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away From Unhealthy Friendships.

Misery loves company.  That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with good, optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals, even if you have wild ideas.  The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.   Also keep in mind, if a friendship is negative or your gut tells you to walk away, then listen to your gut feelings.

13. Never Seek Approval From Others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them.  It’s possible I lead the pack with this trait.  Follow your own heart without letting naysayers discourage you. Understand that it’s impossible to please everyone.  Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take The Time To Listen.

Talk less; listen more. Genuinely listen.  Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdom and outlooks on the world.  The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.  You might learn something, too.

15. Nurture Social Relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to the people most important to you.  The truth is, if you like yourself, you’re never really alone being alone.

16. Be Quiet.

Simply being quiet silences your mind and helps you find inner peace.  Can you turn off your thoughts?  You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off.  Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat Well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state.  Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus.  Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.  So difficult in today’s busy world.  Let me tell you this, give up fast food for a few weeks and you’ll never be able to eat it again.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels.  Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.   I need a workout partner to motivate me.  Any takers?

19. Live Minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out.  It’s true I’m happier and at ease when everything is tidy.  You should see my closet.

20. Tell the truth.

The truth indeed will set you free.  Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you.  Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.  And remember this – people may not like what the truth is, but it is the truth they want to hear.

21. Establish Personal Control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies.  They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. I’m such a free spirit, when someone suggests how I should live, the words fall on deaf ears.  Being in complete control of your own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept What Cannot Be Changed.

When you can look at a bad situation or event in your life and say – “this was completely out of my control and there was nothing I could do to change it,” you’ll be at more peace in this world.  You’ll also be happier.  This is difficult lesson to learn, but one of the most gratifying.

23. Don’t Believe You Need Social Media In Your Life.

During the early days of Twitter and Facebook, someone told me they had over 4000 friends.  My reply was “tell me their names and their favourite colour.”  There is no substitute for looking someone in the eye, holding their hand, or laughing with them.   I could write an entire dissertation on the negative effects of social media.  Perhaps one day I’ll write a post about it.

And, if you’re seeking genuine happiness, perhaps you should consider a visit to Bhutan where they measure Gross National Happiness and cherish quiet moments.

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