Happiness is not something you can think yourself into. It’s something you have to DO and practise, over and over again. As I have already mentioned, like any muscle in the gym, the more you practise your happiness muscle, the stronger it will become. How do you practise it? I’ve outlined some easy ways to be happy below in line with mental health awareness month too. These are based on personal experience, understanding happy people who I know and my own personal growth learning.
Tip 1: Acknowledge the negativity; don’t run from it
How to become happier with yourself? It’s ok to not feel great all the time. Yes, you have read that correctly. If you are expecting to read the answer to being happy all the time, well you’ve come to the wrong place and in fact there is nowhere online where you will find this. Why? Nobody on this planet is happy all the time, even if it seems it. Happier people are just able to acknowledge their negative feelings better, work through them and feel happy the majority of the time. They do this by starting to face the truth and not running away from it.
A good thing to do is either to talk to friends or family, but an even better practice is to journal. In fact, I’ve started to double my journaling efforts. Journaling is like being your own therapist at times. Make it a daily activity, where you journal a question and then write the answer; getting the words or the clutter out of your head, really does help.
Tip 2: Practise gratitude to be happy with what you have now
Do you find that your mind is constantly rushing into the future? I know mine certainly has. When this happens, we can never be happy; there is always the feeling that something else is to come. Instead of doing this, learn to appreciate what is great in your life right now, no matter how small. I would advise 3 x 1-minute slots a day naming those things that you appreciate. It could be the bed you woke up in, the nice meal you had, a great chat with a friend or anything. This may not be too easy at first, but you will get better and better at this and start to feel great about life and to become happier.
Tip 3 – Get off social media
I constantly say this. It’s not to say get off completely but scrolling on social media, looking at those ‘perfect’ people, who aren’t perfect at all, will not help. Social media is useful and great for networking but can cause negative feelings such as disconnection from reality, unhealthy comparisons and actually ruin relationships if you don’t engage, person to person. All of those are happiness killers.
Instead cut down on your hours on social media, have social media free times and instead, spend those times doing things that you enjoy or which give you satisfaction. Start small in cutting down the hours .
Tip 4- Focus on you and your efforts rather than the outcome
Linked to social media, we live in a highly competitive world today, whereby we want instant results. It’s great to set goals and to have ambitions but at the same time, it’s good to accept that things take time and it’s best to focus on being happy RIGHT NOW.
Learn to appreciate yourself more by giving praise for what you do on a daily basis and find the fun in as many things as possible.
Tip 5- Perfection doesn’t exist and so get rid of it
Perfection can be a killer; someone being perfect does not exist. Nobody in this world is perfect, even if you perceive them to be. I am talking about life and yourself, nothing is perfect. When I started to accept that things do go wrong and that I have my own faults, I felt a lot better about life. Having the expectation that nothing will go wrong, is not realistic and will only do more harm than good.
Keep applying things to yourself and your own life that make you feel happier. Easier said than done? Well yes…. Like anything but nothing will change unless you take action. Rather than just reading tips to be happy, you need to action steps on how to train your brain to be happy. Isn’t it worth spending time taking action to make yourself happy? Make habits for happiness.
Jonny Pardoe © May 2020
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