It seems like everywhere we look someone is telling us how to be happier. Commercials telling us what we need to buy to be happier. Store windows showing us the look of happier. Memberships to buy happiness long term.
So how does this manifest? Being told over and over what we need to be happy, ultimately makes us question what we already have. It’s like that dangling carrot we can never quite reach. So how do we actually be happier?
Here are the 10 things I found that each made me 10% happier!
Let go of the things that didn’t serve me
It’s so easy to get caught up in things that bring you down or increase negativity. This can be who you spend time with. But mostly it was the perspectives and inner thoughts that were not helping me.
Do more of the things that make me happy
Sound easy? It isn’t, we get caught up in our to do lists, watching tv, social media. When what we really need is that hike in the mountains that we love so much. Spending time with our family. Or those hot soaks in the tub. Remember the saying you can’t pour from an empty cup? What if the cup was never meant to be poured out for others? What if it’s only meant for us? And to give to others you give what has spilled over to the saucer! To give to others we need to first give to ourselves!
Yup that’s right, it isn’t anyone else fault or problem. No one is to blame!! So when I feel that negativity coming up I challenge it. We can’t change others or even the weather. So I think to myself what is really happening. What could I do differently to change the situation. How can I change my perspective?
Do only 1 thing at a time
When did time management change to mean do everything at once? How often do we find ourselves reading an email while on a conference call and eating our lunch. It can be easy to get caught in this get it done faster trap. The reality is nothing has your full attention, so you end up eating food that isn’t good for you, not hearing something important on the call that would have really helped you and missing the point of the email.
So just SLOW DOWN, stop checking your phone every time it beeps. Better yet turn off the notifications. Give everything some time of it’s own. Plan in breaks for you to eat, take a walk, meditate and remember to breath.
Make time for real engagement with friends and family FIRST!
How much time do you spend with your friends and family in person, no technology having a real moment? If you were like me, almost none. I would even text my kids while they were in the same house, and they are the millennials! I would always say, when I get a minute, or a day off. What really happened was I would stay late, or bring work home. I’d be so tired that in the end there wasn’t time.
What I really needed was that personal connection. Those laughs at the dinner table. Or the fresh air on a family hike. So by planning that time first, making it the priority I was able to re-connect with my kids and my husband and remind myself what truly mattered to me!
Be accountable to myself to make what I want happen
It’s time to stop talking about what you want and just take the first step. Then take another, and another working towards my goals. And remember to take breaks, include fun and laughter. Most importantly to notice what I’m also doing that is working against me and simply stop doing it. Nothing will change until I do.
Say no when I want to
There is nothing wrong with having boundaries or saying no. In fact it is when we say yes and we know that we shouldn’t or don’t want to that we set ourselves up for grief. We won’t give it our all, we will be frustrated the whole time we are doing it. And inevitably accountable to our own feelings. So give yourself the gift of being honest and just say “no”.
Take time to self care
This means so many things. But here are a few things to get you started.
- Be gentle with yourself, self judgment will only lead to feelings of doubt and fear.
- Eat good food, it’s the fuel that helps your body keep up to your dreams. Learn more in our blog about food.
- Drink lots of water!
- Laugh, and then laugh some more.
- Get outside, exercise, take hikes, do yoga or walk with friends. It feels good and it’s contagious, the more you do, the more you want to do.
Love yourself today
When was the last time you looked in the mirror and told yourself 3 things you loved about yourself? Likely you see all the things you want to change, the parts you want to hide. Negative self-talk is without a doubt the most destructive thing we do. So change the cycle!!! Look in the mirror every day and say “I love myself just as I am today”. Believe me when I tell you it will change your life.
Living in the moment is very powerful. This doesn’t mean a quiet mind or never having difficult thoughts. It means seeing those thoughts, negative self talk, fears etc and choosing to be curious about them. By adding curiosity you provide yourself time and space to see them for what they are, just thoughts. Three is no truth in them, they are simply just a thought. Doing this consistently will re-train how you react or even what you react to. To learn more about mindfulness, check out this link.
So in the end the truth is my happiness was there all along. It was when I changed my perspective and listened to myself that I heard the real message. Life is what I choose it to be.