Happiness matters to us all, doesn’t it? We all desire to live happy and fulfilling lives and to live happily with those we love and for them also to be happy. Happiness, a positive emotional state, has a potent impact on our everyday health. Although our genetic makeup and circumstances influence our happiness, ultimately the differences and variances in our happiness come down to our choices and behaviours. We have the power to change how happy we live. Everyone’s path to happiness is unique and yet we are all so similar. By choosing a few simple, universal, every day practises we can make a big difference to our own happiness, lift our mood, spirits and improve our relationships with others. Take control of your own happiness and well being with these few easy steps.
- Look after your body. Our physical body, mind and spirit are all connected. Looking after our physical well-being positively impacts on our state of mind. Being active releases feel good endorphins, lifts our mood and nourishes our immune system. Simple things like going outside for a walk, taking the stairs, spending time in a garden, or turning off the t.v. and going outside are easy ways to add activity to our day. Notice which physical activities raise your mood and do more of them. Added to this we can make healthy eating choices and eat nutritious, fresh food, drink more water and less caffeinated drinks. Consider how much quality sleep you give your body. Your body will thank you if you get more sleep. Choose to go to bed earlier. As little as half an hour extra sleep each night will increase your well-being. Grab some sun. Spend some time being in the sunshine and connecting with your environment. Sunshine has been found to increase our feel good serotonins. Keeping your body physically health will do much to increase your happiness.
- Give and doing for others. Fundamental to our happiness is helping others. It makes us feel good to do something for someone else. It also takes the focus off our own life and can help to improve our well-being. Simple, everyday acts of politeness, consideration and kindness like saying hello, letting someone go in front of you, giving someone a moment of your time, sharing your skills, support or energy can do a great deal to lift our level of happiness. Reach out today and give someone a smile, a compliment, a call.
- Practise gratitude When we take time to notice all that we can be thankful for, from the smallest to the most amazing, life seems better and quickly we can see a new perspective. Practising gratitude involves taking the time to notice and acknowledge what we have. This doesn’t necessarily need to be material or monetary things but being grateful for the richness in our life and everything that we value and gives us meaning and connection. Practising gratitude enables us to appreciate the contributions which others play in our happiness and to acknowledge the simple pleasures that for most of us are readily available and which add to our positive emotional state. Writing a Gratitude Journal and recording each day, five things that we are grateful for that day can shift the focus from what is missing to rather all that is and that we already have. Saying words of gratitude, appreciation and thanks each day to those we love, friends, colleagues and people we meet in the day, strengthen our relationships and add feelings of abundance.
- Have a positive frame of mind We can empower ourselves by choosing our state of emotion– contentment, joy, peace, inspiration and they feel good when they happen. Positive emotions improve our well-being, health, resilience, outlook relationships and productivity. Whilst being realistic about day to day events we can choose to see the upside or gifts in things. We can choose our focus and perspective and to notice that everything is in flux. Acknowledge the positives in the situation and let go of the negative. See the glass as half full rather than half empty. Smile often. Your brain can not tell the difference between a real and ‘not real’ smile and will create the same happy feeling for both. Do things you know make you feel good—listen to music, watch something funny, read a good book, call a friend. Notice your choice of language and choose to ‘up-speak’.
- Be mindful In these present times have you noticed how busy life is? We seem to need to do more, be more, have more. We are presented with more and more information. Our minds are full with thoughts, chatter, worry and fear about the past or future. Being mindful rather than full of mind, means noticing the now, tuning into our body, how we eat, breath, walk, hold our body. Notice what we can we let go of– within our body and our thoughts. Without judgement, be mindful of your thoughts and let them pass. Try a brain dump on paper and write down everything that is cluttering your mind. Take a few minutes every day to sit quietly and just notice your breathing. Tune into your senses and the environment around you and notice all the good news that there is going on.
- Connect with others Connecting with others and having social connections are the most important contributor to overall happiness. People with strong relationships are healthier, happier and live more fulfilling and meaningful lives. Our immediate circle of friends and family offer support, love, meaning, purpose and self-worth whilst the broader circle, create a sense of contribution and belonging. Being physically alone is not a problem, time on your own can help to re energise and is not unhealthy. You can feel lonely even in a crowd. It is not being alone but feeling lonely and socially isolated that reduces happiness. Take action and connect with new and old friends, family How long has it been since you joined a group or club or talked to your neighbour? Spend time face to face in meaningful communication. Connecting with others is vital for our feelings of happiness.
- Keep Learning Learning enriches our happiness and well-being in many ways. It fulfils our need for variety and provides us with a stretch. It helps us to stay motivated, interested in life and engaged with our inner and outer world. Learning provides necessary challenges, excitement and increases feelings of self-worth, resilience and achievement. All adding to our happiness. Learning something new can be something which taps into your own strengths and interests. It give us something to look forward to. Something to goal set around and provides opportunities to connect with others and contribute socially.
It is unrealistic to expect to be happy ALL the time. Nobody is happy 100% of the time. We all have ups and downs in life which is part of the normal flow of life. It is necessary to experience the whole spectrum of feelings life provides for us. Our range of emotions, from anger, fear, worry, despair, give us reference points which we can refer to and use to assist ourselves to move to a more desired state of emotion.
It is so true that we need to experience the down times so that we can recognise the up times. We need to experience darkness to know the light. We need to have the night to recognise the day, as we do winter and summer, feast and famine.
Life offers us an unending array of examples – the yin and yang.
It is these differences that make the difference. Providing texture and richness to our life.… it is important to know sadness so that in turn you can recognise happiness.
Ultimately happiness and being happy and fulfilled is a far more effective, productive and better place to be.
Knowing that with some very simple choices- you can all be happy, why wouldn’t you learn how to empower yourself to live a happy life? I can help you to live the happy and fulfilled life you deserve. Contact me for a session to build your happiness.