Ahhh, the pursuit of happiness. Everyone wants to live a happy life, right? But if you take a look around, it’s clear that not everyone is as happy as they would like to be.
Why is that?
Some say that happiness is a choice. Sure, there are always going to be events that happen in your life that make you feel sad or depressed or angry – we all have those FML moments. But on an average day-to-day basis, you can choose to be happy or not be happy.
It’s all about how you react to the world around you.
You can choose to get angry with that idiot that cut you up at the lights. Or you can ignore it and choose to be happy and get on with your day.
You can choose to get pissed off with that ignorant a-hole walking in front of you that let the door swing back in your face. Or you can let it go and choose to be happy.
You can choose to get depressed after failing your driving test for the third time. Or you can laugh it off as another step closer to passing and you can choose to be happy.
You can choose how you react.
It’s a state of mind that for the most part, is within your control.
I believe that. But to make it easier, it helps if you can create the right environment.
There have been various studies done on happiness and so the information below is based on actual science! Go, you guys and girls in white coats!
There’s an old saying that money can’t buy you happiness and, while it can bring obvious benefits in terms of security and less stress in life, actually being happy is a conscious decision.
Billionaires can be profoundly unhappy and people with nothing can be extremely happy.
If you’re in a rut and you’re not feeling particularly happy about your life, here are some tips we found that may help.
These are all habits that happy people have – and you, too, can practise.
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1. Giving yourself permission to be happy
At first, this sounds like a load of old school, fluffy self-help bullsh*t, but it is true that many people don’t feel they have the right to be happy, so they end up sabotaging their own happiness.
They continuously beat themselves up over all kinds of things, both incidental and profound. But if you’re a relatively decent human being, who doesn’t harm or deceive others, there is no reason why you don’t deserve some happiness in your life.
Before you do anything else, give yourself permission to feel happy. It’s okay – you’re allowed!
2. Ending negative thinking
This is related to giving yourself permission. It is easy to fall into a negative mindset.
Despite what you may think, the glass is not always half-empty.
Not everybody is an a-hole. Well, some people are (see #6), but most people aren’t. Even if they act like an a-hole, maybe you just caught them having a bad day. Maybe it was you that was being that a-hole yesterday?
Stop comparing, gossiping, nagging and judging.
Try to keep positivity as your default setting. Sure, there will be times when negative things happen, but the positive stuff is everywhere.
Bad stuff happens, but don’t sweat the small stuff.
3. Paying attention to the good stuff
Yes, you can always find the positive stuff. It’s there. It’s everywhere. You just have to block out the noise. I know that the noise is everywhere too, so maybe try to cut out the principal culprits – the (fake) news media. Pick any day and count the number of positive news items compared with the negative ones. You NEVER get a day with more than a couple of good-news stories. And we wonder why everyone is cynical and negative all the time!
Cut out your daily dose of doom and gloom and I guarantee you’ll become a whole lot more positive as a person.
4. Practising Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a state of mind where you pay full attention to whatever you are experiencing in the present, without being distracted or overwhelmed by whatever else is going on around you.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things that happened yesterday or become so anxious about things that may or may not happen tomorrow, that we forget to live in the present and experience what is happening now – and I mean beyond the black mirror of your mobile phone.
Developing the practice of mindfulness can help you to be more happy.
Smiling can help you feel better even if it is not backed up with genuinely positive thoughts.
Sometimes the simple act of smiling can turn around the negative feelings, tricking your mind to be positive again. It’s a kind of fake-it-’til-you-make-it approach. Try it!
I love walking around grinning like a fool just to see how people around me react and that in itself can make me feel happy when I’m feeling down. Yes, if they see me in time, some people immediately cross the road to avoid having to walk past me, but others will reciprocate with a big smile. Such a nice feeling!
6. Eliminating sources of irritation
As mentioned above, most people are decent, but you’re going to cross paths with a-holes in your life at some point. Not just a-holes, but toxic, negative a-holes.
These are the people who drain your energy and creativity.
Nay-sayers, doom-and-gloom merchants, Eeyores, bullies, sociopaths, psychopaths, cynics – however you want to label them.
Ignore these people and remove the sources of irritation from your life whenever you can. Instead, surround yourself with positive, supportive and loving people who actually get you.
It is scientifically proven that exercise improves your mood. The physiological and psychological benefits of exercise are undeniable, so get off the couch and get yourself and endorphin-boost!
Especially getting outdoors more. Being closer to nature is a great way to improve your mood and feel happy – particularly if you working in a grey, office environment all day.
Related ~ Ultimate Fat-Burning Workouts: Tabata
8. Sleeping more
I can be a pretty grumpy b*stard when I’m tired and I find that I become more sensitive to negativity as a result of a bad night’s sleep. Getting a night of good quality sleep is crucial if you want to start the day in a positive mood, which is a great platform for a happy day!
9. Building meaningful relationships
Meaningful relationships with others is an important factor in living a long and happy life. Some would go as far to say that the only thing that really matters in life is building meaningful relationships with others.
Cherishing and nurturing the relationships with both family and friends is something that can quickly get buried by all the seemingly more important stuff that society throws at us.
Without wanting to get too morbid, staying in touch with friends is one of the most common regrets of the dying, which highlights how important your relationships are.
Recommended reading ~ The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing
10. Helping others
Helping others should be a selfless act, but if it you do it to makes yourself feel good, why not do more of it? We all know the joy we feel when someone loves a gift we have just given them and we can get the same kick from giving our help.
Just think, if everybody helped everyone else, what a fantastic world we would live in!
As the man, Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
11. Being grateful
You don’t need to go full on Pollyanna all the time, but studies have shown that the effect of “counting your blessings” can be positive on both psychological and physical well-being.
These days, it seems too easy to take everything for granted, so take some time to stop and think about all the great things you have going on in your life and allow yourself to be happy about it. You could even employ a bit of mindfulness here.
12. Not holding a grudge
Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
Yep, you owe it to yourself. ‘Nuff said.
13. Engaging in meaningful activities
If the things you do every day have meaning, then it stands to reason that you’re going to be happier. Find activities that you enjoy and that are meaningful, ideally in a way that helps the world and other people, but if it is just for yourself, that is ok too.
I hope that some of these tips will help you to be more happy.
If you are feeling depressed and have negative thoughts all the time, you should consult with a qualified physician as there may be a deeper issue.