Happiness is a choice. Self love, support and care are essential, not add-ons or afterthoughts.
Socrates said ‘the unexamined life is not worth living.’
When you examine your life, are you happy with what you see…with what you feel?
Do you wake up in the morning ‘knowing’ something is missing? Do you instinctively feel you need to take action but are not sure just where to start?
Recent research on happiness shows that three quarters of people in European countries are not satisfied with their work/life balance with too much work and not enough ‘life.’
If you want to reclaim more ‘life’ and more happiness, try adopting the habits of happy people who have done just that and felt the positive benefit.
Begin by being honest
Be honest with yourself and be honest about your life. This is the starting point. When you take a step back and view your life, what’s working and what needs changing? Perhaps you need to be really honest about the person you want to become and the life you want to lead?
If you don’t have a clear idea about who you want to be, who will? Are you living your own authentic life or somebody else’s? One of the key habits of happy people is authenticity.
Prioritise your own happiness
You matter, and you have needs. Ask yourself this question, ‘if I could have anything in life and had all the time, resources and energy, exactly what would it take to make me happy?’
Remember what the air steward says before the flight takes off, ‘If the oxygen mask should come down during the flight, please place it on yourself before trying to help others.’ Happy people take time for self nurture.
You are unique. Enjoy that uniqueness. What’s the point in trying to be somebody else?
Sometimes we project a ‘false self’ to the world, that part of ourselves we feel is acceptable. But sometimes the inside of the mask can look very different from the outside. The greater the difference, the more the incongruence between the two. If you feel you have to pretend to be somebody else, the less happy you are likely to be.
Living an authentic life often means being brave, connecting your own thoughts and feelings and being more honest and open with those around you.
Notice the Power of now
Right here, right now is the present. The present is a gift that you experience in your own unique way.
You can live your life or relive your life but you can’t do both at the same time. Perhaps it’s time to stop dwelling on the past and the things you did or did not do? Perhaps you need to take more time to appreciate the here and now.
Accept there are no mistakes, only feedback. It’s okay to get it wrong, you learn by your mistakes. Treat them as steppingstones on your journey. It’s okay to take risks, trip up every once in a while and then have to get up and do it all over again.
When you get to the edge of your comfort zone, that is when you are learning and growing. And sometimes we have to get it wrong so many times before we eventually get it right.
Think of when you first started to learn to drive. That first time you tried to negotiate the accelerator,break, clutch and steering wheel. If you’d given up every time you got it wrong, you would never have learnt to drive. We all need to be able to tolerate that kind of anxiety.
It’s absolutely okay to get it wrong, but it’s not okay if you don’t learn something from those mistakes and do it differently next time.
Be your own best friend
Tune into some of the things you’re saying to yourself, some of those negative defeating judgements.
If you had a friend who talked to like that, would you want to be their friend? Treat yourself as you would treat your friends, with love and respect, consideration and kindness.
Try this affirmation ‘Even though I am imperfect, I value and respect myself in every way.
Notice the positives
Many believe the key to happiness is not about having what you want but wanting what you have.
One of the most effective habits of happy people is acknowledging the positives.
When you go to bed at night, do you beat yourself up for all the things that went wrong in the day?
Emotional self-flagellation of this kind is not the key to happiness. Instead choose to focus your mind on what went well, those big and little things that went right or that you appreciate.
Perhaps it’s time to take responsibility for creating your own happiness and well-being.
Nobody can make you miserable without your permission. Blaming your lack of happiness on others is really not the answer.
Choose happiness. Choose to smile simply because you can. If you choose to focus on happy moments, take the time to savour them, you will be storing up positive memories in your memory bank.
You recharge your own batteries. What you focus on is what you get so why not simply focus on and choose happiness and well-being?