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.
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.
Start your year off right and keep it going right by skipping your resolutions and heading straight for self-acceptance. Sometimes, the bigger changes come when we are willing to first accept who we are right now before trying to change it.
If you want more happiness and fulfillment you need to pay attention to where it is in your life. Then deliberately choose more of it.
Self care is essential to you overall well being. Too often, it falls by the wayside. Make a point of regularly taking the time to take care of yourself. Check out #selfcaresunday on social media for great self care ideas from people all over the web.
Find one thing (yes — just one) that you want to challenge yourself to get better at this year. Make consistent efforts to improve in this area. And remember that progress measured in inches is just as valuable as progress measured in yards!
What is not serving you? Whether it is old emotions or clothes that don’t fit free, yourself from what is no longer serving you.
Being a beginner can be scary but it is also where the spark of life resides. Bring in some novelty and expand your horizons.
Is there a habit you have been meaning to change? Maybe there are several. Spend some time thinking about one are you can realistically make a change in right now that will have the most impact on all of your life. Then take action.
Your dreams are meant to be realized! Make sure that at least one item on your bucket list gets folded into your upcoming year.
Are people grouchy or are you frustrated by some aspect of humanity? Well, what can you do about it? Make a point of choosing action instead of apathy.
Years go by so fast. It is easy to have time slip away and not to send some words of love and appreciation to those who matter. Create a regular schedule around showing your appreciation.
Feel free to download this easy reminder to stay on track all year long!
Like many of the personal development terms that have become common in our vernacular, life purpose is something that many people talk about and feel they should have and often times wonder how they would know if they had it.
While some people might think of life purpose in terms of fate or destiny, I prefer to think of it in terms of the expression of your whole self. In other words it is less important that we know it and more important that we are it.
In truth that is a little bit of a stretch, there is no way for us not to be our purpose. However, we can feel more or less connection and pleasure from it. And, that is the reason for us to “find” our life purpose.
In my Make It Happen Guide, I write, “Whatever you want or dream of you can have it. It is in you. You are the one you have been waiting for.” One of the problems with life purpose is that people go looking for it. Then because they are looking for it they feel perpetually disconnected from it. It becomes something beyond themselves that they must find instead of a natural expression of who they are.
So, connecting with your life purpose is really about connecting the deeper and truer aspect of who you are and to do that you can do the following.
I love this topic of life purpose and I look forward to talking with you about it more on my weekly radio show, Real Answers this week.
There was a time when the boundaries between work and home were fairly clear. Today, however, work is likely to invade your personal life — and maintaining work-life balance is no simple task. This might be especially true if you’re concerned about losing your job due to restructuring, layoffs or other factors. Still, work-life balance isn’t out of reach.
Start by evaluating your relationship to work. Then apply specific strategies to help you strike a healthier balance.
Married to your work? Consider the cost
It can be tempting to rack up hours at work, especially if you’re trying to earn a promotion or manage an ever-increasing workload — or simply keep your head above water. Sometimes overtime might even be required. If you’re spending most of your time working, though, your home life will take a hit.
Consider the consequences of poor work-life balance:
Fatigue. When you’re tired, your ability to work productively and think clearly might suffer — which could take a toll on your professional reputation or lead to dangerous or costly mistakes.
Lost time with friends and loved ones. If you’re working too much, you might miss important family events or milestones. This can leave you feeling left out and might harm relationships with your loved ones. It’s also difficult to nurture friendships if you’re always working.
Increased expectations. If you regularly work extra hours, you might be given more responsibility — which could lead to additional concerns and challenges.
How to strike a better work-life balance
As long as you’re working, juggling the demands of career and personal life will probably be an ongoing challenge. Consider these ideas to find the work-life balance that’s best for you:
Track your time. Pay attention to your daily tasks, including work-related and personal activities. Decide what’s necessary and what satisfies you the most. Cut or delegate activities you don’t enjoy or can’t handle — or share your concerns and possible solutions with your employer or others.
Take advantage of your options. Ask your employer about flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. The more control you have over your hours, the less stressed you’re likely to be.
Learn to say no. Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or your child’s teacher asking you to organize a class party, remember that it’s OK to respectfully say no. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll have more time for the activities that are meaningful to you.
Leave work at work. With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there might be no boundary between work and home — unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. When you’re with your family, for instance, keep your laptop in your briefcase.
Manage your time. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off. Put family events on a weekly family calendar and keep a daily to-do list. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go.
Bolster your support system. At work, join forces with co-workers who can cover for you — and vice versa — when family conflicts arise. At home, enlist trusted friends and loved ones to pitch in with child care or household responsibilities when you need to work overtime or travel.
Nurture yourself. Eat a healthy diet, include physical activity in your daily routine and get enough sleep. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as practicing yoga or reading. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your partner, family or friends — such as hiking, dancing or taking cooking classes.
reposted from the Mayo Clinic Online.