In a world that is bombarded with messages and the relatively new phenomena of social media, where we share our highs and lows with the world, how we perceive ourselves, is subject to comparison like never before. The media fills our world with negative stories, our lives are lived faster and in all the noise we can lose our sense of self. Before we know it our lives are filled with negativity – negative thoughts, nasty reactions to others, stress and mind-less living.
Here are my top 10 tips to living a more happy life:
1. Decide you want to be happy
Sometimes our sense of self or identity has become so in tune with our sadness that the idea that we could be happy is completely scary. Who would we be without our sadness? Make the decision to be a happy person. It’s a choice. Every day make that choice.
2. Take responsibility
All too often we blame others for what is happening in our lives. We can’t change anyone else, we can only change ourselves. Make the changes necessary for you to be happy. Do it fearlessly. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Be the creator of your life. Stop making excuses. Face what is deep down inside of you.
3. Make your dreams come true
Do you know what your dreams are? As crazy as it sounds, many people don’t. They’re on a treadmill just going through the motions to get through each day. Take the time to touch base with what you truly want in life. If you don’t know what you want, try this exercise:
Imagine your life in 5 years’ time. Write it down. When you wake up in the morning what can you hear, how do you feel? What activities make up your day? What does your environment look like? Who is with you? Be as detailed as you can be. Now create a vision board that illustrates this perfect day. Cut out pictures and words from magazines and stick them on a sheet of cardboard. Make it truly appealing to you. Frame this picture and keep it where you can see it every day.
If you don’t know what your dreams are, this exercise will identify them for you. After all, unless you actually know what it is you want, you can’t make it happen.
4. Clean up your life
If you have a messy environment, clean it up. De-clutter your home and your office. Make sure your living spaces are clean and healthy. Have your carpets, mattresses and upholstery professionally cleaned once a year to get rid of dust mites and bacteria. Grow some living green things. Give stuff you don’t need to charity. Then clean up your body. Eat well and exercise regularly. Give up bad habits like excessive drinking or smoking. And finally, clean up your mind.
Clear your negative thoughts and learn how to meditate – even if it’s just sitting quietly for 5 minutes every day. Set the timer. Sit still and quiet. Let your thoughts come and go without engaging with them. If that’s too hard, concentrate on your breathing and slow it down. Breathe deeply and slowly.
A clean home, a clean body and a clean mind will help you move forward positively without toxic stuff to weigh you down.
5. Share the happiness
Be kind. Be positive. Share your happiness with others. Do a good deed. Smile. And it’s ok to tell people that you’re happy. It can be inspirational. It’s kind of contagious. Let yourself feel it. Give to charity or a good cause. Be patient with others who might not be as happy as you.
6. Avoid the negative
Avoid negative thoughts and negative people. Maybe you don’t watch the evening news every night and maybe the movie you watch might be a comedy for a change. If someone in your life causes you to feel unhappy no matter what you do, then minimise your interaction with them. Of course we can’t avoid all negativity, but you can minimise your engagement with it no matter what form it takes.
7. Be Grateful
Every single day of your life, write down at least 3 things that you are thankful for. Be very specific - don’t say “I’m grateful for my kids”, say “I’m grateful for the hug my son gave me today” or “I’m grateful for playing in the pool with my daughter today”. And really think about them. Feel the gratitude.
8. Set Goals
Keep a journal and set goals each month. At the end of each month, assess how you went and reset goals for the next month. This will keep you moving forward in a mindful way. Think about each area of your life, for example: career; relationships; community; family; home; wealth; health; you and set goals for each or any area you think you need to.
Do less. Slow down. Stop and smell the roses. Just BE.
10. Commit to yourself
Only you can make this happen. Only you can make yourself happy. It takes work. You need to commit to yourself. Stop waiting for someone else to do it for you. If you want to be happy – just do it.