We all seek happiness in our lives. Yet happiness is a hard thing to define because it means something different to every person. I believe that too often, order we take our right to happiness out of our own hands and place it in the hands of something or somebody else. This leads to our happiness getting tied in with too many factors that we cannot change or control and the result can be stressful, drugs depressing, or frustrating.
So pause a moment and reflect on what it takes for you to be happy. A wise person once said: “Being happy does not mean that everything in your life is perfect. It means that you have decided to look beyond those imperfections.” Here are some ideas that helped me take some steps in the right direction. I hope you will find them helpful too!
#1) Take a quiet moment: It’s important to take at least a few minutes every day just to unwind and reflect on what is going on in your life. It breaks up the hectic pace of your day and will help you feel more relaxed and focused.
#2) No regrets: Sometimes we get so focused on our mistakes or decisions we wish we had made differently, we forget to forgive ourselves and move on. Mistakes are a part of life’s training. If you keep getting hung up on the past, your present and future will slip through your fingers too.
#3) Goals: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It may be cliché, but it is true. Goals help us direct our lives. If you don’t take the time to think about where you want to go, chances are you will spend your life drifting. Don’t just think about big goals either (like where you want to be in your career 2 years from now). It is also important to set small goals that you can achieve in less time so that you feel like you are accomplishing something. Your small goals can even be stepping stones to the larger goals you are trying to reach.
#4) Reflect on what you are grateful for: This certainly does not imply that you are currently an ungrateful person. Rather, it is a reminder that taking time every so often to think about what you are grateful for will help you feel good about your life and help you focus on the positive instead of the negative.
#5) Learn to say no: Sometimes we get so caught up by all the demands on us or with trying to make everybody happy, we take on more than we can possibly manage. This leads to a lot of unnecessary stress. It can be hard to say no, especially to people we care about, but if they truly care about you they will understand. Remember, you are only one person.
#6) Assess the relationships in your life: People do rub off on you, so surround yourself with happy people who are upbeat about their own lives. They will help you feel happier about yourself and this will bring out the best in you. Talking to people who are constantly complaining and unhappy with their lives can be draining and a real damper on your own life. Also, reflect on what kind of influence you are on others.
#7) Deal with it: A person can only compartmentalize so much and after a certain point, things start to bubble to the surface. Bottling things up too long can make you release stress in negative ways. So if there is something on your mind, address it and think it through. If you feel like there is something you can do to set it right, do it. If you come to the conclusion that you do not have the power to do anything about the issue right now, accept that, have faith it will get better, then let the issue go and move on with your life.