Happiness Habits That Could Change Your Life
When was the last time you did something scary on purpose? I’m talking about driving somewhere unfamiliar at night when you were sure you would get lost kind of scary. Or taking your virgin trip down a ski slope at thirty or getting up the nerve to talk to a total stranger in an elevator.
Most of us avoid doing anything that remotely scares us. That’s a shame because doing something scary every day is one of five surprising happiness habits that could change your life. Actually it’s one of 42 habits I’ve uncovered but in this short article I don’t have space to discuss them all; what I can do is share some of my favorite ones with you.
If you want to be happier, try looking for opportunities to do something scary. In doing so, you won’t just be taking my advice but the advice of former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” You will know when you are scared. Recognize your fear, acknowledge it and then do whatever it is anyway. I once confronted my own fears by plummeting 500 feet in a bungee jump. Talk about scary and exhilarating! What scares you?
Four Other Happy Habits to Try Are:
Take the “im” Out of Impossible at Least Once a Year
Make a list of things that are impossible for you. Put the list on your bulletin board. Choose one thing each year to knock off your list and watch as your realm of possibility grows. If you knew me, you’d understand why I placed running a marathon on my list of “impossible things.” Although I am more of a walker than a runner, I enjoy the physical sensations of running and was quite proud of myself for completing my first-ever marathon in ONLY six hours, nine minutes! That I completed the event at all was a triumph for me. What would you like to conquer?
Make a List of 100 Things You Want to Do Before You Die
Start doing them tomorrow. Check them off as you accomplish them. Try to do one thing on your list every year on your birthday. Review the list at least once a year and add to it as necessary. Record your adventures in a journal and take a picture of yourself doing each thing. Can you think of some activities to put on your list?
Celebrate One Success Every Single Day
Do not let yourself fall asleep without celebrating something you accomplished that day. Even if you could only produce freshly cleaned teeth, give it your best hoot-and-holler. It is important to be enthusiastic when celebrating your successes. You cannot overdo this enthusiasm -- the more, the better. What did you do today that’s worth a cheer?
Carry a List of Everything You Are Grateful For
Write down everything you can think of that makes you feel blessed. Update the list as often as you can, especially when you are feeling down. Read the list every time you need to boost your energy. Record the list in your voice and listen to it while you work out or drive. What do you have to be grateful for?
Tend to Your Own Happiness in Life
Many of us wish for more happiness. We want to lead happier, more fulfilling, lives, but the sad truth is that so many of us that wish for more happiness spend much more time tending the happiness of others than we do tending to our own happiness.
Happiness does not simply happen. A person does not suddenly stumble across happiness. Happiness is the result of careful tending and a person who wishes to be happy must tend to their own happiness.
Tending to your happiness does not need to be difficult, complex, or time-consuming. It can be as simple as this four-step formula:
1. Trash your unhappy thoughts and trends
2. Envision yourself happy
3. Needs fulfilled
4. Desires fulfilled
Making yourself a happier person really can be that simple.
Step one is an important one because unhappiness is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many people are unhappy because they don't believe they deserve to be happy and they lock themselves into patterns of behavior that make them unhappy. You must trash your unhappy thoughts and trends.
Look inside yourself and find out what (and when) you think about things that make you unhappy. Is there a specific time of day that you tend to be unhappier? Is there a specific task or routine that seems to feed your unhappiness? Is there something that you do or think that contributes to your own unhappiness?
Once you identify the areas of your life that cause you unhappiness you can find ways to confront it and combat it. Sometimes you can make a change to avoid the trouble spot altogether, but when that's not possible find ways to make it less difficult on yourself. Adjust your schedule or your expectations if that will make things better. Recruit help when you can. Just easing off one task or freeing up a few hours can make a huge difference in your attitude. When all else fails and you can't change or share something unpleasant than don't hesitate to give yourself a reward for accomplishing it. Knowing you will be rewarded can sometimes make difficult tasks more palatable.
Step two is key. Some people have been unhappy for so long they have forgotten what happiness looks like and feels like. Envisioning yourself happy can help create the happiness habit. Thinking about your own happiness will also help counterbalance times when you are unhappy or working through unpleasant tasks. Think about difficult times as simply stepping stones to happy times.
Step three cannot be overlooked. If your basic needs for food and sleep are not met, then you will not be able to focus on happiness. Obviously it is not impossible for hungry, sleep-deprived people to be happy, but most humans are a lot less likely to be happy in that state. Food and sleep provide fuel for both body and mind and the healthier your body and mind then the better chance you have to achieve happiness.
Step four is the final step to achieving happiness. What do you desire? What do you wish for? What do you dream about? Allow yourself to dream big but don't overlook small wishes and desires. While a two-week cruise might be great just having a weekend at a local resort might really give the rest, relaxation and escape you might need. Or perhaps you'd really like to lose 30 or 50 pounds but finding a way to work in some exercise a few times a week might give you more immediate gratification while eventually accomplishing your long-term goal.
Make a list of your desires, wishes, and dreams -- big and small -- and keep that list some place handy. What can you do this week to achieve a small goal? What can you do this month to take a step toward a big goal? Sometimes you don't even need to accomplish your goals to achieve happiness. Sometimes it is simply enough to know that you are working toward your dreams. Often happiness is found on the path to our dreams. Often happiness is created while we strive to make our wishes come true.
You can make yourself a happier person but you must tend to your happiness. So often we spend more time tending to our outer possessions than we do tending to our inner ones. You can make a few changes to your life to find a better balance and that will help create more personal happiness for you.
How to Smile Full Blast All Day
Did you notice how some people are just so insanely happy? Sling all the insulting barbs you want or hurl impossible tasks their way and yet they keep on ticking. Blissfully. Happily.
And that makes you drip with envy all the more.
A small segment of the population come factory-built with a natural propensity for positive outlook. They’re hardwired with copious amounts of zest. This zest easily shields them from the buffets of life that normally faze the rest of us.
Recently scientists discovered how the naturally occuring-drug serotonin flows more generously in such individuals. Serotonin is magic. It’s a chemical produced in the amygdala and can give far more pleasure signals than cocaine or marijuana can. No wonder happy people are unstoppable! They’re simply cocooned in bliss that rose-tints the blight of the world!
Wouldn’t you love to experience their reality?
Try these three tips now!
1) Discover what you REALLY want and enjoy your passions. Is it drawing? Painting? Designing web pages or collecting toys? The more you do what you want, the faster you pump out serotonin and create an inner zest. Take time out and hobnob with folks passionate about what they do. Did you notice how the air about them literally crackles with energy? And it's infectious! Everyone about them feels simply great!
2) Give unconditional love and respect. Face it, connection with others creates that warm fuzzy feeling inside. That fuzzy feeling expands into unmitigated, explosive joy when done regularly. Imagine how unstoppable you’ll be when you feel loved- and are loved! Spread the warmth and you'll float on cloud 9.
3) Take an inventory of your thoughts. The next time a depressing, critical or evil thought swims into view, ask yourself ‘Does this Serve Me Well?’ If it doesn’t, chuck it! There's no point entertaining darkness- no matter how logical it may be.
Simple Ways to Have Happy Experiences
It’s the dream of many to live happy and contented lives. The truth is that life happens and with the good comes the not so good. Some become skilled at getting into the zone and ride the wave of life learning from each wave that washes over them. Others live life with a ‘que sera sera’ (whatever will be, will be) accepting kind of attitude. Then there are those who find themselves in the dark place and need a little guidance to again see the light.
Happiness is a ‘now you feel it, now you don’t’ emotion. I know this from personal experience and from hearing of the experiences of others. Sometimes I’m very happy, other times, sad, joyful, contented, frustrated, and sometimes very neutral. Several years ago I had no reference point for the word happy. I knew technically the meaning of the word, however the experience eluded me. Joy I could do, happy for some reason, no.
One day during a workshop the word happy was demonstrated to me with much laughter from the audience. Now I not only get ‘happy’ but remember it also as a fun experience. There are many small things that can make me happy as well as give me endless joy. I’ve listed seven simple ways toward experiencing a happy moment, but first check you have a reference point to the word happy. Find out what happy really means to you?
1. Remember or create a ‘happy’ moment. When you live the experience of ‘happy’ your mind and body will remember. Feel the happiness in all parts of you, expand this feeling if need be. Practise this daily.
2. Access the Present moment. Notice what happens to you when you’re totally focussed on a comedy show on television, when you listen to light hearted music or when you dance - even if it’s on your own. I sometimes groove to a tune in my office when no-one’s looking – it makes me feel good, cool, gives me a break from what I’m doing and I laugh at myself!
3. Invite friends over for some play time. Organise paper, crayons, paint, and coloured pencils, whatever you can think of and do some drawings or paintings. You could also ask each person to bring along a plate of food.
4. Spend time with nature, go for a walk down the beach or park; observe wildlife in your area or visit a plant nursery. Notice your mood when amongst the spirit of nature.
5. Take something with you that gives you great pleasure such as a book, journal for writing or your MP3 player and sit and ‘Be’ under the canopies of trees for a few hours.
6. Learn something totally new such as another language; pottery or painting or start your meditation, personal or spiritual development program. You’re only ever limited by your own imagination.
7. Join a club or group that you have an interest in. You can then expand your friendship base with other like-minded souls.
With any of the above activities assess what and how you’re feeling as well as where you feel the emotion and how much are you laughing, grinning, or smiling? Remember them totally by living the experience and you will then be able to recall this memory when you want to.
Include to memory your experience colours, smells, sounds and tastes – all the better for remembering your happy time with.
Quiet time spent alone can open the door to the possibility of connection to that most amazing and magical part of you that is your true self, the spirit within. From my experience the key to a happy life begins with remembering who you are, know what gives you enjoyment, be present, and know that regardless of your circumstances no–one can take away your thoughts or dreams, they are yours to keep for as long as you wish.