10 Habits You Can Adopt to Lead a Happier Life
Before you can lead a happier life you must first understand what it means to be happy. Since we became aware of our own consciousness, humans have pondered over the question of what it means to be truly happy. Perhaps the answer is not as straight forward as you might assume. Perhaps the only way to answer this question is to define what happiness isn’t.
In my own experiences, I have come to the realization that happiness isn’t being in an elated mood at all times. Certain activities can give you an elated feeling for a small period of time but if you weren’t truly happy without performing the activity then what happens when the activity ends? Don’t you revert to your misery? Don’t get me wrong, being elated is a good thing but I think we can conclude that happiness is something much more than being in a jovial mood.
We focus a lot of our energy to maintain an elated mood and when we are unable to achieve this every single time (because realistically, it’s impossible), we automatically consider ourselves unhappy and we are unable to feel good at all. I have found that a calm and collected mentality is much more likely to give you a lasting and sustainable feeling of happiness as opposed to chasing a high that is impossible to maintain.
In another one of my experiences, I found that happiness cannot be defined solely by material possessions. They always say “Money can’t buy you happiness” and while worrying about your next meal or your child’s college education doesn’t make it easier to be happy, having all the money in the world definitely doesn’t mean you are free of worry; your concerns will eventually grow to fit your newfound fortune. It’s a “More Money, More Problems” situation so you can’t base your happiness solely on material possessions.
I have also found that, happiness is the present and not the future; happiness is not the destination, it is the journey. Unless you are extremely lucky, you will find that it may be a little difficult to maintain happiness. “The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the nicest of things.”
The happiest people decide to be happy regardless of what is going on around them, they understand that life will always have ups and downs, but there’s always something to be grateful for. It’s always the simple things; it could be something as simple as nice weather, a healthy family, a good relationship, great friends, a peaceful country…
So, how can we really define happiness?
I personally think that happiness is the satisfaction you have with the structure of your life and the direction that it is taking. However, some research has suggested that general happiness even with the ups and downs of life is genetically predetermined; some people are just generally happier than others. This could explain why some families have been found to have a greater propensity towards experiencing depression while other families simply demonstrate happier traits.
Scary, isn’t it?
Don’t worry, with the adoption of certain practices, it is possible for anyone to maintain happiness. The good news is that you are the captain of your own feelings and you have the capacity to control how you feel.
This is the purpose of this article; to teach you how to consistently practice certain habits in order to take charge and lead a more satisfying life every day.
BENEFITS OF CULTIVATING A HAPPIER LIFE
There are those who will argue and say that life is for surviving and that you don’t need to be happy to handle your business. This may be true in extreme situations, for example, if you are in a war torn environment or when you lose a loved one.
Apart from these unfortunate situations, life is for living, and when do you feel more alive than when you are happy? Don’t you feel like you could conquer the world? Handle any kind of challenge? Don’t you feel energetic and hopeful for the future? Aren’t you kinder to the world and to yourself?
You may be wondering… Why should you bother cultivating a happier life? Isn’t it too late for you to build a happier life? Why can’t you just wait for happiness to find you if it does at all?
I don’t know about you, but I truly believe that we have one life to live and it’s worth living happy. In my opinion, a life cannot be full if it lacks happiness. I also believe making an effort towards creating a happier life is worth it. What are some of the perks of cultivating a happier life?
I love classic films and in the words of Marlon Brando in the Godfather, “Spend time with your family, because a man who does not spend time with his family can never be a real man”. This was an emphasis on the importance of family and it applies equally to men and women.
When you are happy you are able to reciprocate the love you get from your family, your spouse, and your children. When you receive them with a smile every morning and evening they become happier and their happiness rubs off on you creating a generally happy environment.
When you’re happy, even without knowing it you are creating a happy home and forming strong bonds amongst yourselves. I really think there are very few things that are as important as a happy family and that happiness starts with you.
When you’re happy your brain releases endorphins in your brain that generate a positive energy within you. This positive energy translates into your day-to-day life and you are able to handle any problems or challenges in a more enthusiastic and confident manner.
When you are happy you are optimistic and you are able to effectively handle any problem without the fuss and internal turmoil that comes with pessimism. Also, when you have a cheerful personality you become very pleasurable to be around and it is that internal cheer that people see, which earns you their love and respect… and this brings us to our next point.
You become Attractive
A happy person will electrify the air around him and seem to carry a ray of sunshine everywhere he goes. When you are happy you exude a certain aura of calmness that rubs off on the people around you. Think about it… aren’t you drawn to that one friend who makes you laugh whenever you spend time with them? Doesn’t their happiness rub off on you?
People are naturally attracted to such personalities because they uplift their moods and such happy people tend to be very popular amongst their friends.
We are highly social beings and a strong social life adds meaning to our lives and saves us from the agony of a monotonous life. Excellent relationships can only flourish when you are truly happy on the inside and this will naturally attract others towards you, like bees to a flower.
You must be wondering what happiness has to do with career success, right?
But as mentioned earlier, happiness makes you more optimistic and you feel energized to handle any challenge and this includes work-related challenges. In a highly demanding and possibly stressful work environment, a cheerful and enthusiastic approach is absolutely necessary to keep you mentally balanced and maintain a high performance level.
Additionally, in a rigid and monotonous work environment, a joyful person is a savior to his co-workers and even to his seniors because they refresh the mood around the workplace with their bright personalities. It is true that a person that displays happiness in their work is more likely to earn a promotion and earn more money than an unhappy person.
For example, assume you deal directly with clients; you will be able to lift the clients’ moods in the course of your interactions and will therefore be able to land more business deals and enhance customer satisfaction. Such great performance does not go unnoticed and you are sure to climb the ranks in no time. Alternately, if it is your own business venture you are sure to amass a large and loyal customer base just by being a happy individual.
To emphasize on the previous point, happiness brings about positive thoughts and positive thoughts bring about positive actions, making you highly productive.
Similar to the workplace, did you notice that the happiest students in school were the best performers and seemed to be the luckiest even in the most difficult exams.
The reason behind this is because a happy person will always be more productive because they are fueled by their high spirits to be active and take on challenges. When you are happy you are motivated to do whatever it takes to achieve your goals, to go the extra mile if need be.
I know that this word can be scary but contentment does not necessarily imply complacency. I strongly believe that human beings are rarely satisfied with what they have in any one moment.
When you have a car, you suddenly want the upgraded version… When you have a well-paying job… When you have a beautiful girlfriend, you suddenly start noticing other pretty women… I can’t explain how but it’s how we are inclined to be. However, this is not the only way to be, in fact it’s not the best way to be because this way you never stop to think of all the good in your life because you’re always reaching for ‘better’.
The only way you’ll be able to appreciate all the good things you already have at the moment is by making happiness a way of life, making it your own personal code. Happiness makes you euphoric, further boosting your happiness and making you feel good about yourself and your life. This cycle continues and maintains itself; all you have to do is take that first leap towards happiness.
Happiness is itself a Stress Management Technique
We are constantly trying to find the best stress management techniques when the answer may have been staring us the whole time. A joyful approach towards life is a sure way to manage the stress, anxiety, and fear from you’ll experience from time to time. Note that happiness does not only work as a stress eliminator for you but for the people around you as well.
When you randomly smile at a stranger, co-worker, a child, you automatically lighten up their mood even when they may have been having a rough day or week. I can understand your skepticism about that but happiness is contagious; it’s like a perfume that rubs off on others, just like the happiness of others rubs off on you.
According to research, happiness has been found to lead to better health. People that are happy and who have a joyful approach towards life are able to maintain better mental and physical health in comparison to those who show little enthusiasm for life. Happiness has also been linked to the preservation of your youthful appearance. Happiness is a sure way to maintain both a healthy mind and a healthy body.
10 HABITS TO CONSCIOUSLY ADOPT FOR A HAPPIER LIFE
The secret to leading a happier in life isn’t really secret after all, actually, all you need to do is adopt a few simple habits that you can practice regularly to boost your spirits. Be committed to these practices and make a conscious decision every day to seek happiness and trust me, you will find it. So what are some of these practices you can adopt?
Find your Ethos
“You live your life by a code. An ethos, every man does. It’s your shoreline. It’s what guides you home and trust me, you’re always trying to get home.” – Act of Valor
We all need a personal doctrine, a set of values that dictates who we are and what we stand for. What your doctrine is, is very personal, but if you need a doctrine that motivates you, keeps you contented, and gives you purpose in life, choose happiness.
Happiness is personal and sometimes it’s as easy as making a choice, no one can tell you how to be happy and no one can actually give you sustainable happiness, it has to come from within. So the first step to happiness is deciding to embrace it.
Positivity and happiness are closely linked. Positivity breeds happiness but unfortunately positivity takes work and most people give up too easily. Be bold and choose to see hope and the brighter side of life. Make a conscious decision to approach life this way and trust me the commitment is worth the effort. The result of being a positive person is feeling happier and fulfilled.
“Choose to be Optimistic, it feels better.”– Dalai Lama XIV
Limit Exposure to Technology
We have all heard of the advantages that advances in technology have brought the world and how it has made the world a better place. But really think about it; are TV, reality shows, and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram really making you happy?
Before this technological era people were generally happier because people didn’t hide behind computer screens, they actually went out and lived and got to relax and unwind. There has been growing concern about the negative effects of the content of our media and as the saying goes, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.” If you want to be lead a happier life do yourself a favor and cut down on your use of technology and social media.
When you’re with friends or family, learn to enjoy the little things, learn how to focus on the love and joy you have around you in the moment.
It’s Okay to Say No
Do you find yourself saying yes to every invite? Do you find your schedule being regularly interrupted trying to fit in other people’s plans? Do you think it’s working out well for you?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to find time for your friends and loved ones, but saying yes all the time is doing a great disservice to yourself. Saying ‘no’ doesn’t mean you’re not a kind hearted person, it’s perfectly normal. Make time for other people but don’t forget that you are on the list of priorities otherwise you might find yourself doing all kinds of things but failing to focus on anything that’s significant to your interests.
You can’t feel fulfilled if you constantly feel that your ambitions are stalling. To create sustainable happiness, maintain a calendar that keeps you focused on the things that are important to you.
Get your Finances in Order
Sure money isn’t everything but we cannot bury our heads in the sand and assume that we can afford to be reckless with it. Like a close friend of mine always says, “There is no amount of money you can’t squander.”
This is not to say deny yourself even the simplest pleasures, but be very conscious of how you choose to use your resources. People that have their finances in order have been found to be happier than those who do not. If you want to be happier take the time to monitor your spending.
What are you spending on? Where are you spending? How can you cut down on your debt?
These are important questions you need to ask yourself to get yourself in better financial shape. Once you are in a better financial position, you begin to feel more secure, less anxious and worried about tomorrow, and generally happier and more relaxed.
Be Biased in your Company
We mentioned earlier that happiness is contagious. It is absolutely important for your happiness that you maintain jovial people around you who genuinely care about you. If you surround yourself with people who constantly cause you stress or put you down, if you surround yourself with the unhappy you will in all likelihood fall victim to unhappiness.
“Law 10-Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky.” – Robert Greene
Keep the kind of company that makes you come alive and if anyone in your circle causes you stress or anxiety you have to re-evaluate that relationship. Create a list of all the people you interact with the most and assess who is a positive influence and who is a negative, assess how they make you feel and if they don’t bring you happiness, it may be time to distant yourself from them.
Spread the Joy
Contrary to the above law on avoiding the unhappy, it pays to spread happiness to the people around you.
It was Ralph Waldo who said,
“Happiness is like a perfume, you cannot pour on others without getting some on yourself.”
People who actively give their time and efforts to others have been found to be more satisfied and fulfilled in their lives. Giving and helping others generates positivity not only in those you are giving but also in yourself.
You don’t have to donate a hefty sum of money to the less fortunate for you to achieve this; it may be something as simple as smiling at the sad looking girl seated across you in the café or taking the time to listen to a friend going through a rough patch.
It might seem unlikely that exercise could uplift your mood but exercise has actually been found to be a stress reliever. Simple exercises such as yoga, jogging, or some stretching exercises can significantly boost your mood and lift your spirits.
Yoga is the most recommendable habit to adopt to keep you in a happy mood because it is simple and can be done anywhere you are, even in your office; all you would need is a small mat. If you want to lead significantly become a happier person, make exercise a part of your routine, spare just ten minutes every day and see how better your mood will be.
Avoid Comparing yourself to Others
“Do not compare your life to others, you have no idea what their journey is all about.” – Unknown.
If you want to be a happier individual, avoid jealousy and learn how to draw inspiration from other people’s lives that are seemingly better than yours. As opposed to being jealous, enjoy people’s success and learn from it in order to better your own life. Believe me, there is enough success to go around and if you just focused more on your own journey you would surely find your success.
Comparing your life to that of others is like telling your subconscious mind that you are not good enough and even without knowing it you’ll be inviting your own misery. Practicing how to enjoy other people’s success will put you in a better position to be successful in your own life and generally make you a more content and happier individual.
What Others Say or Think is none of your Business
Your happiness does not depend on people’s words and thoughts about you. People will always have an opinion of you and sometimes these opinions will be tailored to criticize you. If you always take these criticisms personally you will end up being a very unhappy individual.
Criticism is necessary for growth, but not all criticism is constructive; consider all critics but learn how to filter out any malicious criticism from your mind. You alone have the power to allow what others think of you make you feel unhappy or unworthy so decide today to never let other people’s opinions put you down and watch lasting happiness enter your life.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”– Elena Roosevelt.
A lot of us spend our lives waiting for happiness, as if we will magically wake up one day and realize that we finally arrived at Destination Happiness. We tell ourselves, ‘If I had more money I would be happier’ or ‘If I shed of some of this weight I would feel better about myself’ or ‘if I had a fancier car I would be content’. Understand that there is always going to be something better to reach for and you may not have everything you want, you may not be as successful as you hoped to be at this moment, but such is life and we cannot put off being happy in the present waiting for a specific day to arrive.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, you can be happy right now regardless of your current situation. This is not to say that it’s always easy, some days will be harder than others but you can choose to live your life happy, no one can stop you… you’re the captain of your own mind… you’re in control. Happiness is not synonymous to wealth, looks, a dream job, or a romantic relationship… Happiness is from within and if you want to be truly happy, look to yourself first… adopt practices that encourage happiness in your life.
Too often we neglect to cultivate happiness in our lives. We know that happiness is a pleasant feeling but we rarely step back to understand how important it is to be intrinsically happy. There are numerous benefits you reap from being happy… when you are happy you feel healthier, you are more compassionate, calm, content… you become more productive, creative, and energetic… you feel ready to conquer the world and any challenge that could possible come your way and you generally become a pleasant person to be around.
You have the potential to influence your own happiness and change your life for the better and when you’re happy you have the potential to change the lives of the people around you by passing on the happiness you cultivate in yourself. Adopt the practices we have discussed here today and lead a joyful life and make the world around you a better place in the process.