Are you happy?
It’s such an important question – something we should be asking ourselves daily to make sure we’re taking care of our mental wellbeing. And yet, with our lives being extremely busy, and with our 24/7 availability, we forget to ask it. We find ourselves caught on a treadmill – wake up, eat, work, back home, watch Netflix, go to sleep, repeat.
Is there any way to escape that routine and improve our lives? Sure there is – and what better time to talk about it than on International Day of Happiness!
Without further ado, here are six ways to find happiness in our busy world.
1. Find something that gets you in the state of flow
If you’re not familiar with this term, take a look at one of our previous articles. In short, the state of flow happens when you’re so interested in an activity, so invested in it, that the outside world ceases to exist and you lose track of time completely!
But when was the last time you caught yourself in such a blissful state?
We all flow down here.
As adults, we tend to forget that life shouldn’t just be about work, our next paycheck, and all our to-do lists. If you loved drawing as a kid, take it up again! Maybe you love jogging, or simply listening to music with no other distractions.
The list of possibilities is endless. So find something that makes you forget about the outside world and don’t give it up!
2. Don’t steer away from life’s challenges
We all want to live happy lives, and it may seem counterintuitive to say that life’s challenges and even the pain that comes along are a necessary part of it.
If you’ve never faced any obstacle that you overcame after some serious struggle, how are you going to feel a real sense of accomplishment and self-esteem? Besides, only sticking to what we know we can do, we’re limiting ourselves from ever trying something new, and – who knows! – maybe even finding out it’s the most exciting thing we’ve ever done!
The bottom line is – don’t settle. Set goals for yourself even if they don’t seem easily achievable, and with every step along the way, you’ll be feeling prouder and more fulfilled.
3. Surround yourself with caring people
This should go without saying – even for us introverts who prefer staying indoors to going out, friends and family are an essential part of a full life. And though it’s easier to react to someone’s story or send them a message rather than agree on when you can meet and actually go through with it, the physical presence of others is extremely important for our mental health.
Studies have shown that in extreme instances, loneliness can be just as bad as smoking. Imagine that! And it’s no wonder, really – we live in cities with millions of people, we see hundreds of them daily, and yet, striking a chord with a certain person and becoming close is becoming increasingly difficult.
So don’t settle for social media. Call up your friends, or even those you don’t really know yet but who simply seem like great people, go out with them, and have fun! But keep in mind that your me-time is also very important. If you notice your social battery has been drained, it’s perfectly fine to go back home and recharge it for a while.
4. Don’t compare yourself with others
You know the drill – you go on social media to look at some funny pictures and cute cats. Next thing you know, you’re being bombarded with perfect-looking people dining at a 7-star hotel in the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen! They’re overlooking the beach, enjoying a fabulous meal and being so, so happy!
Does that ring a bell?
What we don’t understand is that we’re comparing ourselves to an illusion.You can’t possibly know what happens behind that photo. Just because someone is sitting at a beautiful beach resort doesn’t necessarily mean they’re happy. That takes a lot more than a great view!
This woman faked an entire trip to Bali by careful posing at an IKEA – so that’s something to think about!
But what about people you know well – say, your sister? She’s married to a great guy, has lovely kids, lives in the most elegant house you’ve ever seen, and she even looks amazing! Not to mention she’s going on trips every two months! How can you not compare yourself to her?
For one, by comparing the two of you, you’re not getting any closer to achieving your own goals. Chances are you’re so stuck being unhappy about yourself that you don’t have the energy to change something. You can be happy for her, but it’s okay to still want something similar. Instead of thinking endlessly of everything she has and is and you aren’t, make a plan for yourself – or even a vision board!
You want to live abroad? Learn to play the piano? Shed some weight? Great, that’s already a goal – all you need now is a plan to stick to! If you’re struggling with doing that, here’s something that might help. Changing our perspective from envy to a motivation to change something is a huge step towards being happier and better about ourselves.
5. Acknowledge the negative feelings
Another consequence of focusing on those picture-perfect lives we see on social media is that we start thinking that, by feeling sad, angry, or even jealous we’re somehow betraying the sanctity of a #grateful life. It takes years of meditation at the top of a mountain to almost eradicate negative feelings – so how can you expect yourself, with all your daily struggles and stresses, to always feel happy and content?
It may sound like I’m defeating the very purpose of this article, but the bottom line is: only by acknowledging our negative feelings and understanding what lies behind them, can we solve the issues we have and move towards being happier.
This is something our Coaches can help you with – and the first consultation is free!
So if you’re sad about your friend moving away, it’s okay to sulk and cry for a bit! If you’re angry at your husband for forgetting your birthday, be angry! As long as you work through it by addressing the issue that caused a certain feeling, you’re on your way to a happier life and better relationships.
6. Live in the present
Not the future or the past! We spend most of our lives thinking about the mistakes we’ve made or the mistakes we might make, but that in itself is a mistake. By spending so much time in our own head, we often forget to enjoy the things we’re experiencing right now.
Just think about all the things you could enjoy far more if you stop overthinking for just a second: beautiful sunsets, that new song you’ve been hearing on the radio, the food you’re eating… Not to mention that the time you spend with those you love will give you a lot more satisfaction if you’re mentally there, rather than at work.
It’s easier said than done, but some simple exercises in mindfulness can help you change the way you’re thinking.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share with our readers about what happiness is and how we can live happier, more fulfilled lives? Share your thoughts in the comments below!