This bit of friendly advice is more or less excerpted from my new book, How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide to Happiness in This World and Beyond, from Conari Press. I call it:
1. Radical Kindness
My first tip for happiness is also the easiest, and the most fun. I call it "Radical Kindness," and it's just what it sounds like. I'll present it to you as a challenge – give it a try for one, or even better, two days, and see if it doesn't completely transform your life in very real ways: the amount of joy you experience, the "magical" connections you make, and the ease and comfort that you feel as you go about your day to day. It's also really exciting!
Here's the challenge: To every person that you encounter, in any and every circumstance you find yourself in during an entire day (or two), be as absolutely kind and loving to that person as you can possibly muster, without acting like a boob. You can't be sarcastic or patronizing- that's thinly veiled aggression, not loving kindness. You must be sincere. Everyone knows how to be sincerely kind, or can make a good effort. Negativity of any kind is resisting kindness, so don't go there at all. Just look people in the eye (smile first with your eyes), smile sincerely (like you have a special secret to share), and be really friendly to them... and watch what happens! Your world will come to life in a way you may never have experienced before. Allies, compatriots, new friends that seem like they're very old friends will appear everywhere. You'll get helped with special care, with insider's knowledge, with joy and camaraderie everywhere you go- sometimes when you'd least expect it.
All you have to do is simply return the favor. Be pleasant and polite, be magnanimous and generous, be tolerant and interested, be honest and real, and the world will activate effervescently in the most wonderful ways. It's the single most effective way to completely transform your life for the better. It will make your life much more fun, and much easier. Open your heart, relax your will, and try this simple happiness challenge!
"None of the means employed to acquire religious merit...has a sixteenth part of the value of loving-kindness. Loving-kindness, which is freedom of the heart, absorbs them all; it glows, it shines, it blazes forth."