“What makes you happy?” Should be an easy question. But as many of us know, it’s not always that straightforward. Sometimes when we’re down, we’re not sure how to get back up. If you feel like you’re not as happy as you should be, and you’re looking for ways to be happier, we’ve got some ideas to help put a smile on your face.
When you ask yourself, “How can I be happier?” you might assume the answer is about what you can do for you. However, when outlining his 10 tips for happiness, Pope Francis listed “Be giving of yourself to others” as number 2. Giving of your time and efforts for the benefit of others has a weird way of making you feel good.
Falling into the habit of being busy all the time leads to stress and fatigue. When we are constantly on the go, we don’t give ourselves time to decompress. “Have a habit of disengagement.” says Joel Gascoigne, CEO of Buffer. Everyday Joel goes for a walk in the evening to clear his mind and reboot. This gives him the time to work through things and find solutions to the day’s problems.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Moods and attitudes have a way of rubbing off on those around them. If you find yourself in the company of people who are often negative and ornery, chances are you’ll slip in to the same mood. The same is true for surrounding yourself with happier, positive people. If you’re around happy people, slowly you find you can’t help but smile.
Get Some Sleep
Over at Inc.com, they’ve taken a scientific look at how sleep affects your happiness. If you’re tired, remembering happy things is actually more difficult than remembering negative things. Being rested also helps with productivity and will improve your reaction to negative emotions.
Hydration is important. You’re about 60% water and maintaining your hydration is essential for a variety of reasons. Water carries nutrients and detoxifies the body. Drinking the right amount of water per day (about 8 glasses) keeps you from getting too irritable and helps you stay mentally alert.
If you take time to focus on your day-to-day well being and happiness, you’ll find it’s easier to be happier overall.
How often have you said, I will be happy when I achieve such and such a goal? Or, Once this is over I’ll be happy. According to those sorts of statements one achieves a state of happiness through something.
Unhappiness factors around the goal
The problem is, the dedicated quest for happiness through accomplishment is so stressful and consuming that it sucks the current happiness we could be feeling if we weren’t so focused out of our awareness.
Yes, achievements feel great. They prove your abilities and increase your self-worth, but do they actually make you happier? You will most probably feel happy immediately after you achieve that goal. But how long will it last?
Everyone has a general set point for happiness. Meaning for the most part, no matter what fabulous new job you get or beautiful new house you move into, after a while you will re-set to your natural happiness level.
The mouse wheel of happiness
Trying to achieve happiness through doing or acquiring things is a race that will never finish. It’s as perpetual as a mouse on a wheel. The slight bump in happiness fades and we’re on to the next thing to get it back – feeling less happy in the process of achieving.
Be the happiness
No matter what you achieve, your new job, your new house, you are still essentially the same person. That’s why we always return to our set point for happiness. Your set point of happiness is always underneath whatever else you’re doing. That means we can choose to acknowledge it and be happy while we go about achieving our goals. While we are living in our current location.
Happiness is a question of noticing the details. The warmth of sunshine on your skin. The colour of the sky. The music playing in your vicinity. Happiness isn’t the goal. Happiness is the way.
We’ve talked a lot about the happiness set point today. Although everyone does return to their general happiness level there is a way to re-adjust that set point and it’s through helping other people. Help other people feel better and you end up feeling increased happiness yourself. Like the saying goes, The more you give, the more you get.
As always, the winding down year came with ups and downs, but as it comes to a close, and we think back on all that happened, it is the good things we should choose to focus on. The kindnesses we received and and ones we gave. Beautiful moments that shone through like the sun catching rainbow sparkles on fresh fallen snow. And joys sprinkled throughout.
Most likely there were people who helped you during the year, who offered support or guidance or an introduction to someone you’d been trying to meet. Maybe your boss gave you an opportunity to expand your abilities, or a co-worker offered a ride share while your car was in the shop. You can probably think of hundreds of things that happened through the year that made your days brighter.
Focusing on the positives shines a glow of thanks over the whole year. By bidding the year farewell with a thankful heart and well wishes, we set the tone for the one to come.
Until we meet again in the upcoming year, the joys of the season to all from all of us to all of you.