What You Can Do Now to Feel Happier

Author : Eve Kavanaugh
Publish Date : 2021-03-16


What You Can Do Now to Feel Happier

Creating more personal happiness in your day to day living is possible. In fact the majority of factors involved in happiness exist not in the external circumstances of your life, as many imagine. Most people assume that happiness is contingent on their work, finances or relationships being in an improved state which can make them feel powerless to take charge of their happiness.

1. The reality is that happiness is an internal state that is not necessarily contingent on the external circumstances of life. Happiness is related to our thoughts, perceptions and beliefs about the external facts of our life and perceptions and thought patterns can be changed. In fact even our tendency to focus on externals is actually a learned habit as well. The good news is that all of these things are without our grasp to change. Here are three small steps you can take immediately to be happier in your daily life. Pay attention to what you are thinking about external events in your life. When something happens in our life we have a choice about how we think about the event. This disposition is based on a pattern and habit of thinking. Some patterns serve our happiness and some do not. Once a pattern is established we tend to let that be our dominant way of thought. Even if we jump into a thought pattern right when something occurs we still have the choice to refine the thought into something that contributes to more happiness rather than creates unhappiness.

Here is an everyday example of what I mean:

You have just saved an additional $500 in your savings. The next week your car needs repairs costing short of $500 dollars-the first thought is I never can get ahead this repair bill is proof of that! Such a thought leaves one feeling fatalistic and hopeless. Instead, choose a better thought, something such as -Isn't it lucky that I had this money right when I needed it! This thoughts dominant feeling that you have experienced protection in these circumstances because you have the resources needed to be well taken care of, even if unexpected expenses surface.

2. Play More. When we are young we spend a great deal of time in play behavior meaning activities that are for fun and recreation rather than related to another purpose. As we age the needs of work and family overshadows any form of regular play, in children play is seen as a necessary method for leaning and development-as we get older we begin to see play as a waste of time. Even adding in 10-20 minutes to do a word puzzle, play a sport, draw or use your creativity in another way, can be enough to experience benefit. You can even use spontaneity to gain the same benefit. Take a new route home from work, stop by a store you have never been too or schedule a new experience in on your weekend can be enough. Adding in regular forms of recreation, even using spontaneity more frequently is far from a waste of time for adults-it helps us to take life and ourselves less seriously while it increases happiness, and enhances our resiliency against stress.

3. Release criticism. Another learned behavior that kills happiness is being critical of others. When we choose to be critical of others it is an attempt to create a false sense of wellbeing. We may be feeling powerless to protect our boundaries in some way or fearful of something, the criticism is used as a means to vent the underlying anger and feel relief from those angry feelings in some way. Although feeling some relief may occur, the problem is that the critical behavior keeps our focus on the external perceived issue, rather than seeing the angry feelings as coming from inside oneself. When it comes down to it only unhappy people tend to be critical of others. And the act of criticism reinforces the unhappiness. If you find yourself being critical of others, it is not too late.

4. Simply stop yourself from continuing down the negative thought trail by saying "no, what I mean to say is: and replace the critical thought with a compassionate one. An example such as: "Although my choice would be different than theirs, I am sure they have their reasons and beliefs which make their choice make sense to them." Doing this changes how we feel in the moment. It also allows us to stop further thoughts and ruminations about the original offending trigger. The more we work on our own internal reactions to our world the happier and freer we become to not let differences of approaches or opinions derail our joy and peace in the moment.

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