We all want to be as happy as possible, but maybe think that getting there is more difficult or more out of our reach than it is. There is plenty we can do, regardless of our life circumstances, to enhance our sense of joy in being alive.
The following are some points if we want to increase our quota of daily happiness :
– The more simple pleasures we can incorporate into our lives the happier we will be. The list is endless but the menu from which to choose includes nature experiences, sports, music, hobbies, travel, reading, children, sex, religion/spirituality, clothes, cooking, television, holidays and volunteering and other ‘random acts of kindness’. So ask yourself what gives you the greatest pleasure, and make room for it in your life. Another useful pointer is to do what gives you greatest self esteem.
– ‘No man is an island ‘ so quality supportive relationships are a key ingredient for happiness. Value and develop the relationships you have and seek some more. Behave with integrity.
– Show ‘loving kindness’ to your body – wholesome food and exercise ( avoid mood alterating substances like alcohol ). Listen to your body and pace yourself.
– Get enough sleep as the body needs sleep to repair itself. It is hard to be happy if we are tired and irritable. There are proven links between disease and sleep deprivation.
– Laughter is a huge tonic and source of happiness, so lighten up and don’t take it all so seriously !
– Peace ’causes’ happiness. Find sources of peace and contentment for you and make them a daily practise. Calm the mind by whatever means works for you eg meditation, journaling, prayer etc
– Express gratitude daily for all the blessings you have received. The wanting for something in the future can blind you to the happiness that is already in your life.
The way we think can keep happiness at bay. Remember that we do not possess happiness, rather we create it ( yes, it is in our control !) . It is not something elusive outside us to be pursued , rather it is within us.
I am sure you know people who always look on the bright side regardless of their life circumstances and others for whom the glass is always half empty.
Another way to miss happiness is to think that it is a great event , a momentous occasion and in the process miss all the small daily pleasures that are the real source of a happy and healthy life. More than anthing else happiness is a daily practise. While lotto winners will be ‘happy’ the feel good impact will pass after a while, as it is in our nature to quickly upgrade our expectations based on changed circumstances.
Finally, remember that the comparison game/mindset ( a western capitalist disease ) will never bring us happiness as there will always be those who have bigger, better, more etc.
None of the above tips for day to day happiness take from the fact that our long term happiness is an inside job, which needs us to release our attachment to particular outcomes, expectations and to notice the thoughts we choose ie happy joyous thought are better than fearful thoughts. Therefore, we are more in the driving seat of our own happiness than we think. This is empowering but puts the responsibility for our own happiness firmly with ourserlves.