Is there a secret to happiness? Can we follow certain principles and practice certain habits to create happiness? The answer, is yes. Happiness is a journey and not a final destination, but we can most assuredly adopt particular habits to make the journey a successful one.
These are 8 simple, yet effective habits and practices that can help all of us lead a happier life:
Work out your life philosophy
We all need a philosophy — a basic set of values and principles that tell us (and the world), who we are.
Who do you want to be in this world? How do you want to spend your time and what do you want to accomplish in life? For some of us, it’s all about family, while for others , their career come first. We each have our own set of values and generally, they’re a statement of what motivates us, gives us purpose in life and makes us feel contented and happy.
To truly love and respect yourself as a human being, it’s vital to have an idea as to who are and who you want to be, so take some time and free-style write what you believe are your core set of principles — it may change as you think on it, which is fine, because the key is to make the effort.
While you develop your personal and outlook-on-life philosophy, identify the following:
- What makes me happy now
- What things in my life now, make me feel unhappy
- What would make me happy in my life
Happiness is personal and no one can tell you how to feel or be happy, so self-identifying is vital.
Limit use of technology and exposure to the media
Let’s be honest — while technology seems to have made life easier, it has also increased our stress levels measurably. Apps, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — are they really making you happier? Probably not. Before all this manic 24x7x365 use of technology, people were happier and less stressed and there’s a reason for that — they actually went out and lived life and they had more time to relax and decompress. Do yourself a favor and make the decision to cut down on use of technology as much as you can.
As for the media, there’s a rising chorus of voices expressing great concern over the dark and dire tone of our media — from TV commercials, to the news, ‘reality’ TV, movies and video games, people are finally saying ‘enough!’
To quote Mahatma Gandhi:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
If you expose yourself to violence, negativity, chaos and darkness, that is what you become.
Make positivity your focus
Some people think they’re positive thinkers — being a positive person takes work and unfortunately, some people give up too easily and just saying “I am/want to be a positive thinker” isn’t enough. If one truly wants to be a positive person who sees the hope and brighter side in life, it’s necessary to make a true commitment to embrace that approach to life. The commitment is well worth the effort however, and the result is feeling more fulfilled, tranquil and happy.
Say “No” more often and reduce multi-tasking
Are you the person who always says yes to every invitation and every demand upon on your time — the one who races around all the time doing this, going here, getting there? Well, how’s that working out for you?
Saying yes to everything is not a sign of a good-hearted person — it’s a sign of a person who hasn’t yet mastered the art of just saying “no.” We shouldn’t be afraid to decline an invitation or tell a friend we’re unable to watch their kids — time is precious and believe it or not, gently saying “no” does not make you a meanie…it makes you perfectly normal.
As for multitasking, it’s a great way to spin wheels and start lots of things, but never really focusing on any one in significant detail.
To create lasting happiness, consider maintaining a diary/calendar to help you focus on doing the things/going to the places that mean the most to you — it’s perfectly fine to say “let me check my calendar and get back to you” before saying yes and it’s fine to reduce your commitments so you can cut down on ineffective multitasking.
Own less “stuff” and get your finances in order
Do you really need __________(fill in the blank)? Will buying ____________(fill in the blank) really make you happier? Does owning the latest ____________(fill in the blank) really make you look more successful? Stuff — our world is choking on it. We live in a hyper-commercialized society that tells us to throw it out and just get a new one! People who embrace minimalism and a simpler life, even if only on a fractional scale, report a significant increase in their level of happiness. Less stuff means less junk…it means less clutter, less stress and less debt.
People who get their finances in order also report being happier; make an effort to get a feel for what you’re spending, when, where and on what, to see where you can cut down to reduce debt and increase savings.
Once you stop relying on “stuff” for your perceived happiness and you have your financial house in better shape, you should start to feel more secure, less stressed and happier pretty quickly.
Fill your life with people and things you love
It’s important that we surround ourselves with things and people that we care about and who care about us. If someone is causing you stress or bringing you down, it may be a good idea to re-examine the relationship. If we expose ourselves to negative influences, it eventually rubs off on us and starts to chip away at our happiness. One helpful step is to make a list of the things, activities and people in our life and determine if they’re positive influences, or negative — this can help focus us in on what is good for us and what may be toxic for us.
Give back to receive
It’s all about paying it forward. People who give their time and effort to help others, report feeling more satisfied and happy with life. Giving, donating, contributing, helping — all generate incredibly powerful positivity; this positivity then motivates others to give and help and the cycle of positive energy grows. Try to find something that you’re passionate about that will enable you to give, donate, help, etc.
Maintain your health
In order to have happiness and feel good about life, it’s important to maintain your health. Eat right, drink plenty of water and get enough sleep and exercise. See your Doctor regularly to ensure you’re getting the proper nutrition and sufficient exercise.
The secret to being happier in life really isn’t a secret at all. In fact, all it really requires is little more than the intention to be happy and the commitment to make it your reality — if you seek it, make the conscious decision to find it… and you will.