Some of us were born with a positive attitude, while others tend to be a little more glass half empty types, but experts agree that learning how to bring more meaning to our life is vital for us to be happy.
Many books have been written about how to be happy. Why is it such a popular topic? I believe that everything we do, big or small, is in the pursuit of happiness. When we buy something, we do it to make us feel good and satisfied. We find a partner and have children often for that same reason. We try and have a job that makes us feel good. We go on holidays to find happiness and so on. If you start to watch closely and ask yourself why you are eating this or doing that, I think you will find most often than not the answer is, to be happy and feel satisfied and good.
Luckily here in New Zealand most people rate themselves as happy people. It is often said that it is our way of life that is the reason behind this happiness. While no country is perfect, life in New Zealand is up there among the world’s best according to the OECD Better Life survey, which rates New Zealand as the number eight happiest country in the world.
But I believe that there is always room for improvement, and so I have gathered some ideas on the topic of happiness.
Here are 8 tips on how to create more happiness in your life:
- Make some time for yourself. It might be connecting with a friend or having a bubble bath.
- Spend some time outside. As cliché as it sounds, studies have shown time and time again that spending as little as 20 minutes a day outside is beneficial for your mood. And if you can spend this time in the sun without sunglasses on, then even better. You will find the reason and more on this topic here.
- Being grateful and making a gratitude list have been proven to be very effective in pursuing a more meaningful and happier life. Write a list of three things that you are grateful for in your life. Consistency is the key. Doing this daily or at least weekly will be most effective.
- Use social media wisely. Set a time limit on how much time you spend on social media. Yes, it is a way of staying in touch with friends, but it is also important to spend time on yourself and your own life. And having a social media detox every week and a devices-free day helps you understand how much time you are spending on your devices and gives you time to connect with your loved ones.
- Use music. Happy music can be very uplifting. How about making a ‘happy playlist’ and listening to it when you feel down or need a pick-me-up? And if you boogie to these favourite tunes of yours, then even better.
- Give a little. When we direct our thoughts towards the well-being of others, says Daniel Goleman, it will help promote a more enduring, genuine kind of happiness. As the Dalai Lama always says, one of the best ways to promote one’s happiness is to be kind to others to be generous. And there is even good research to support that, you will find more info here.
- Look inside yourself. For that inner work and truly feeling content, satisfied and happy, I highly recommend trying meditation and mindfulness. You will find more info here. Science has proven over and over again that this is the true key to happiness. All the literature on the topic of happiness agrees that we can’t find real, lasting happiness outside of ourselves but only inside of us. We must learn to cultivate this feeling of contentment for ourselves to truly feel content and happy.
- Make a plan. Ask yourself what a happy life would look like. Thinking in small steps, what can you do, and what can you change to achieve this?
Here are some book tips on the topic:
- The Happiness Trap by Dr. Russ Harris
- The Happiness project by Dr. Robert Holden
- Shift happens by Dr. Robert Holden
- Mindfulness for Dummies by Shamash Alidina
- Peace is every step by Thich Nhat Hanh
If you are struggling with something in your life, feel stuck and need some support and help, then I can highly recommend a session with a life coach like Kieron Goodwin.
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The advice written in this blog post is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.