How to be happy?

By Bhuwan Sharma

Happiness is a state. I see it as a combination of physiological, mental, and emotional components. A person may feel completely relaxed and happy when listening to their favorite songs, another may appear to be happy when she/he is at a gym involved in a strenuous exercise. For others, happiness could mean meditation and getting in touch with their intuition or simply introspecting. Happiness may be experienced in small packages that last for a moment, last for an hour or two, and in some cases, I feel, could last a lifetime.

Happiness does not necessarily appear due to your achievements nor due to any solid events. Happiness does not have to be a result of your wealth, success, or obvious outside influence or circumstance. NLP says that happiness is in fact dependent on how we process the external information and our experience. The external reality of our experience is not responsible for our happiness but, what story do we tell ourselves about that experience and how we perceive them may have a role to play. Authors of Know-how (Leslie Cameron-Bandler, David Gordon, and Michael Lebeau) state that “the art in having (happiness) is in wanting what you get”, and I feel, I cannot communicate the art of achieving happiness any better than this.

Achieving happiness is an active process. When we go through an experience, we need to examine our options and make our choices out of all the information we feel are available to us. When making these choices, we need to have a solid grasp on what gives us maximum benefit compared to the least benefit outlook.

As professional coaches, we inspect strategies of our clients and help our clients articulate what is actually working and not working for them, and guide them towards what they feel are strategies that could take them towards their desired outcome. We coach them with powerful questions and some of them could be:

  1. How do you respond to situations which are not how you would like them to be?
  2. How in sync are you with yourself and your desired outcome?
  3. What does happiness feel like for you?
  4. What does happiness look like for you?
  5. How autonomous do you feel in achieving or retaining happiness?
  6. What are some of the things you notice on a daily basis?
  7. What is your strategy for creating good or bad memories?
  8. What are some feelings you have about the people around you?
  9. What are some of the things you have in your life that give you meaning, purpose, or pleasure?

If you listen carefully to these questions, you will observe some recurring themes to the whole set: Awareness and choices. When you are aware of what is happening around you, when you spot all the emotions that are driving, and when you witness all concrete choices that are available to you, you obtain the power to create your state of happiness.

Let’s suppose Ram has been working as a sales executive in an organization for many years. Ram feels that he is an important part of the department that he is in and he holds a strong belief that he is really good at what he does. He has chosen to stay exactly where he is comfortable in but he has seen many of his colleagues and many managers come and go. He feels that, he deserves to be moving up, but keep telling himself that he has always been discriminated against or simply unlucky. However, every time he talks about his organization, he seems to only focus on the times he was disappointed, underappreciated or exploited. All of his friends and family feel that they have heard these stories too often. He always felt bitter and neglected: however, he always refrained from taking any action or saying anything directly to the concerned person when he feels used or victimized.

“Happiness may be experienced in small packages that last for a moment, last for an hour or two, and in some cases, I feel, could last a lifetime.”

Now let’s consider another scenario. Rita had a hard life, looking after her two kids as a single mother. She was constantly under pressure and obviously struggled to create a solid saving during the prime of her life. She would sometimes snap at the small kids out of frustrations but she was also quick to apologize to them. She is over 60 years of age now and is supporting herself through a pension. Her granddaughter, one day, asks her about her life, and without the slightest of doubt she tells her, “I feel I have been very lucky”. She tells her, she has two wonderful and supportive children who have been the foundation of her life; she has always had a roof over her head, food on her table and now she has amazing grandkids. She tells her, she has had some unsettling challenges in life, but she feels, she would not change a single thing because she loves where she sees herself today.

As a sales executive, Ram felt used and victimized. Even when he felt exploited, he chose to suppress his resentments and did not see any scope of expressing his frustrations. Over the years, he allowed his resentment to fester and noticed himself developing a limiting belief that he is unlucky or a victim of discrimination.

On the other hand, Rita could have felt bitter about her life too. Life had dealt some harsh challenges her way but she saw no point in only complaining about them. She sometimes felt angry but also mentioned her regrets regarding her snappy response. She had made a very powerful generalization about her life: she felt she was lucky and focused on all the good things in her life. She believed that challenges were part of her life and saw them bringing her to the wonderful state she was in today.


If you observe something bothering you or frustrating you, act to resolve the issue. If you feel you are not capable of doing anything about it, do not overthink it. You can do something to change your undesired situation, do it. Otherwise, do not keep stressing about it. You are imprinting everything you say to yourself in your subconscious as a reality. It is very important that you scrutinize yourself talk and try and imprint positive reality into your subconscious mind.

When you feel that certain things, people, or situations continuously contribute towards your mental state, happiness, or your overall well-being, take concrete steps towards changing it. We have seen plenty of examples of people we know who have left their jobs, relationships, homes, or countries that made them constantly stressed and unhappy. A lot of these people took these concrete steps without a lot of clarity on what they would be doing next. Whether you end up designing a future you really want or a one that limits you in numerous ways depends mostly on the clarity you have about what you want, your self-talk and how that affects you, and your awareness about what is happening around you.

Live in congruence

Living in congruence is being in tune with your complete self. When you feel; what you are doing now is in congruence with your higher purpose, your identity, your beliefs, and values you are witnessing yourself living a life in complete congruence. This requires you to be aware of what you really want from life, how you see yourself contributing to the world around you, how do you identify yourself, how do you want others to perceive you or talk about you, and finally, do you have the capabilities (skills), behaviors and the environment to support what you want. This demands you to be aware of your experiences, how they could reflect on who you really are and/or want to be, and respect them. This awareness will also guide you towards the appropriate actions you should be taking.

Ram did not show any respect towards his experiences, his feelings, or emotions. When he refused to listen to his negative feelings and suppressed them, he lost his congruency. His refusal to acknowledge his negative feelings was a source for his limiting self-talk and pushed him towards complaining about his organizations for a long time. Rita on the other hand faced her challenges and got on with her life. Her focus was always on the present and the future as she realized that these were where she could influence things. Focusing on the past and feel like a victim was not going to get her anywhere and this was loud and clear to her.


NLP analyzes how we construct our personal realities and exposes them to us for our own concrete understanding. It helps us examine how we structure our subjective experiences and tells us what actions should be taken to shift towards the reality that we truly love.

One way of creating your ideal reality is to reframe the current ones. All of us reframe unconsciously or subconsciously and this is an effective tool to deal with the avalanche of situations not going your way. It can be really hard if not impossible, for any of us to live without giving away our sanity with unpredictable lives like ours, without these tools. Rita’s reframing about her life made her feel lucky and Ram’s reframe created, for him, an utter negative perspective around his organization. If we are bound to construct and create our own reality, why not create it in a way, that makes us happy or at least, happier. If you feel your boss is giving you way more responsibilities that you see her give your colleague, it’s not because she hates you but maybe it’s because she has observed that you get things done. If you recently lost some money in the real state, it’s not because you are unlucky but life is giving you a lesson on finances for something bigger is waiting for you in the future. Of course, these reframe work only as long as they are helping you become better or are empowering you in some ways. However, if you are using these to justify injustices happening to you, then you are not looking at these tools for self-empowerment but to limit yourself.

There are many other tools, that NLP offer, for any individual, can use to make her/him happier, more productive, a better communicator, more aware, more empathetic, and a whole lot more. As you obviously realize, it is not possible for me to list them all here. If you would want to see more of these tools custom-designed for business professionals, marketing executives, business leaders, business owners, organizations leaders, or someone who just wants to better himself/herself, please feel free to talk to one of our team members at Coach Me Nepal.

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