When we get hit with a challenging life event, it pushes us, boldly and forcefully, to change. But what about the rest of the time, when nothing is horribly or chaotically wrong? Without the big signposts of high-impact life events, how do you know when its time to change your life, and how do you start to actually take action? It might be a change in a daily activity or it might be a change in a big part of our life. Here are some clues that you are ready for a life change.
I help women take action when its time for a life change, so that they can start living the life they have always dreamed of. Click here to learn more about how to find happiness for yourself, with Dr. Kate’s help.
Happiness can be a surprisingly fickle thing. Sometimes, a new routine or a new perspective can revitalize your life and sense of well-being. Other times, change presents a challenge to our happiness. Learning how to make your joy and energy resilient to the drain that life’s changes sometimes leave us feeling is a key to safeguarding your happiness.
All too often, we forget that happiness is a skill, and that being skillful takes practice. Here are 5 small things you can do every day to practice your happiness skill-set and safeguard your joy.
The first few moments of your day can set the tone for the rest of it. So, start each morning with a quiet moment, an affirmation, a journal entry, or any other activity that helps you tune into your feelings and intentions for your day.
Your focus channels your power. Unfortunately, we often focus on what makes us unhappy rather than what brings us joy. Make an effort to recognize what’s going well in your day and be present to the things you enjoy.
This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s actually something we often overlook. What brings you the most pleasure and happiness? Time alone or time with others? A home-cooked meal or take-out and a movie? Becoming conscious of the things you most enjoy means that you will choose them more often.
To yourself, your partner, your child or co-worker. Make a point to express your gratitude for what’s working in your life. Showing your appreciation will immediately make you and the person you’re thanking feel more positive. And, by expressing gratitude for the things the people around you do, you reinforce the positive behavior as well as the positive feeling.
Slow down and savor the good parts of your life. Pay attention when you’re eating something delicious. Choose to really listen to your friend while they’re talking. Take the time to notice what’s around you on your daily walk or drive. The more you can use your five senses to be present to what you’re experiencing, the better.
Life is always a mix of things. No matter how bad a day seems, there’s always something in it that’s positive. Use the list above to help you focus in on the good that’s present in life’s simple, daily events. These simple things can add up quickly and drastically increase your happiness.
It is unlikely that you, or anyone you know, actually live in a constant mood of extreme bliss (I mean, really, can you imagine? You wouldn’t even know you were happy anymore!). On a less dramatic point — it is unlikely that you are constantly satisfied with all aspects of your life. Life is continual change, so while we might finally achieve satisfaction with the state of one part of our life, another part might be shifting and slipping.
Being attuned to the parts of your life that are shifting outside your satisfaction, and making sure to take care of those parts, is what prevents you from an emotional shutdown and unhappiness. Here are 3 quick tricks to bring your focus to problem areas and up your mood.
It may seem like this is a recipe for misery, but it is a crucial component in avoiding the pitfall of blaming your unhappiness on other things or other people. Own your life fully and you’ll be happier in every moment.
Ignoring when the engine light comes on in your car might make your today easier, but it’s a promise of trouble for tomorrow, or worse the next day. Your life is the same.
Love begets love. This is the reminder that I get when I’m at the supermarket, the airport, or just walking down the street. You know it too, it’s the difference between someone cutting you off in line, or waving you in front of them. Do your best to find it in yourself to be authentically nice to all the people you encounter.
These three steps alone will help you feel more energetic, joyful, and alive as you go through your life.
Establishing a true practice of happiness is an elusive but powerful skill. In its own right, it is a hard goal to achieve. Harder still, however, is chasing the commodified and distorted versions of happiness that we have been taught to seek and think we can achieve.
Happiness has become a myth that has been both downplayed and exalted, made to seem both commonplace and unattainable. Busting the myths of happiness can be an important step toward truly being happy. See which ones might have caught you in their snare and be happier now.
I have to start the list with this because it is such a common myth that gets in the way of people being happy. We think that we are supposed to know how to be happy, but I find that most people do not have the skills they need to make themselves truly happy. The good news is that you can learn how to truly be happy and, with a little work, you can get yourself feeling great.
You can’t be anything all the time and if you were you would likely lose the capacity to recognize it. But you can benefit from moving in the direction of being happier as often as possible. In fact, find time each day to do one thing that makes you happy and you will be feeling the difference in no time.
It does not matter how much money you have or where you are from. True happiness is not about circumstances or possessions, it is our relationship with ourself.
While being around toxic people will affect your happiness, there is no one who can really make you happy but you. It is important to pay attention to who you feel happy around and who you don’t, but recognize that learning how to make yourself happier can only come from you.
This one sounds like, “If I just do enough work on myself I will be happy with my crappy job and my unfulfilling relationships.” This has to be on the list because, while happiness is an inside job, losing sight of the impact that outside circumstances have on our happiness is equally problematic. Unload the toxic parts of your life and open up to more happiness.
If you are one of those people who keeps looking around the corner or over the horizon for your happiness, I have to tell you, you are not going to find it there. When we chase happiness we don’t find it. We find whatever else we put in its place. The keys to happiness lie within us, not in the next city we plan to move to.
This sounds like, “Happiness is my birthright and I should have it even if I make little effort at my own personal development.” Happiness entitlement gets in our way. It also denies the reality that some of us battle biological predispositions that make attaining happiness even harder. Approach happiness with gratitude, and you invite more of it.