Who was it that said, “If you’re looking for happiness, look within”? I agree. We live in such a fast-paced, volatile world that it’s difficult sometimes to stop and just be in touch with your feelings.
But much as it takes deliberate effort, being happy and keeping it that way is not so hard. Ready to take the journey to happiness?
Follow these 10 simple steps:
1. Make the choice
Believe it or not, you must be intentional about being happy. It is a choice we must make.
Make the choice not to engage in that argument that leaves you seething with anger and reeling with hurt.
Make the choice to walk away from that person who constantly seeks to put you down.
Make the choice to smile at your surly-faced neighbour and to say hi to a stranger on the street. This last suggestion works very well, by the way.
2. Take 5
I live by the slogan, “if nobody’s going to die, it’s nobody’s emergency”. Not to say we should be irresponsible and live with reckless abandon – that’s not what I’m saying (though I secretly wonder what that would be like…).
What I am saying is take five – a few minutes off every so often. Especially when things get thick. Take a walk before resuming that task your boss has been stressing about.
Interestingly, a study in the UK shows people are happier outdoors, so walk more often. Breathe. Decompress.
Take five minutes off that computer and go stare out the window. Talk to someone you love or haven’t seen in a while.
Watch your favourite YouTube channel. Say a prayer. Have a cup of tea. Anything.
By the time you get back to your whatever-it-was, you’ll have a lighter heart, clearer mind and fresher perspective. Truth is, it’s never that serious.
Take a walk
3. Give more
Giving is actually very therapeutic. It gives you a chance to declutter, hence make room and build expectation to receive new stuff.
People who give are highly empathetic. Come to think of it, being able to come through for someone else in their time of need is pretty neat.
And it doesn’t have to be money. Give of your time, your service, your humour. Pat someone on the back. Volunteer to babysit for someone in your circles. Carry lunch for two and share with a colleague. Give a compliment. Give. Give. Give.
4. Live your purpose
Before we talk about finding and living in your purpose, let’s look into its definition.
Generally, purpose refers to something that brings fulfilment and wholeness to the person. You know how time flies when you do what you love to do? It’s because no one struggles to do the things they like.
Instead, it becomes a fulfilling experience and you look forward to expending your efforts on the same thing the next day.
On that note, if you’re in a job to pays the bills, it’s time to reconsider. Identify what you enjoy doing and discover how to monetise that. In this way, you’ll make money from your hobby.
Turn your passion into cash
Keeping grudges is bad for your health. For real. Doctors actually agree that harbouring negative emotions such as resentment and bitterness – which stem from unforgiveness – is one of the leading causes of physical illness.
It’s not easy to forgive, but think of it like this; you’d want to be forgiven too (and chances are you’ve been forgiven in situations you probably didn’t deserve forgiveness).
How do you start? Find a quiet and private place. Make a list of everyone who has offended you, going as far back as you can remember.
Go through the list, making mention of each person’s name and their wrongdoing, saying you choose to forgive them.
For instance, if you’ve had biff with your dad for being absent, you could say, “I choose to forgive Dad for not being there for me when I needed him.” Do this for every individual listed.
Once done, shred that page. Literally. Burn it if you can. Cut off the links with that bitter past and walk into the new bright future.
If a name comes up later, use the same process. As you get into the rhythm, choose to do every evening.
Reflect about your day, forgive the offenders, forgive yourself and disconnect from the things that did not go well that day. Empty yourself of the day’s garbage and look forward to a better day tomorrow.
Leave the ugly behind
6. Sleep more
People who rest better are less irritable. Sleep deprived humans are cranky (babies can confirm this), have poor memory and suffer heightened stress levels.
Ensure you catch your full eight hours or more of sleep every day. Not only will you perform better in your tasks, but you will also be a more pleasant person to work with and be around.
Sleep eight or more hours every night
7. Choose your friends (wisely)
Surround yourself with happy people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood.
Truth is, two cannot walk together unless in agreement. Meaning no two people are heading in the same direction unless they agree – their views match, they share like values, they are going to the same destination.
Be very deliberate, therefore, about who you allow into your inner circle. Do they celebrate your achievements? Are they well-meaning? Are they happy? As long as they are happy, you’ll be happy.
If they’re bitter, they will poison your environment. Besides, by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you.
Surround yourself with happy, like-minded people.
It is interesting to note that people who hold some form of spiritual belief are more content in life.
According to research findings published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the happiest people are optimistic, have high self-esteem, are likely married and religious.
Apparently, religious beliefs give adherents a sense of comfort and meaning, hence people who are religious also happen to be happier.
Come to think of it, the knowledge that I’m not handling every major or stressful thing on my own because there is a Greater Being who has my back does help me feel better.
Be involved in religious practice
9. Check your heartitude
Heartitude. The condition or attitude of your heart (heartitude) plays a big role in how things pan out.
A good attitude more often than not results in positive outcomes.
A professor of psychology was quoted in a health publication asserting that being grateful is good for you because it helps you heal and re-energise.
A simple test to grow in gratitude; think about something you own and how you would feel if it was taken away. If you would be sad, then begin to appreciate it today. Realise the true worth of things by being grateful, appreciate people, enjoying simple niceties, laughing more. Be thankful.
Maintain a grateful attitude
10. Learn a new skill
Learning something new means increasing mastery and control over things. This, in turn, eases stress levels and makes us more confident. Another additional benefit of acquiring a new skill is we become a better version of ourselves, which earns us more respect.
Again, babies make a good case in point: think of the baby who suddenly begins to walk after several tries.
The baby’s world significantly widens because of this new-found mobility. As babies increase in mastery, they become less frustrated, hence less agitated.
The same applies to adults. Acquiring a new skill will give you an increased sense of achievement; a victory.
Learn a new skill
Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today. Begin cultivating these ‘happiness habits’ and see your life change. Thank me later.