Whats the one motivator for everything we do? Happiness. We buy those new shoes because we think they will make us happy. We buy a donut instead of a salad because we think it will make us happy. Nearly every decision you make is in the hope of receiving happiness in return but we aren't always given that feeling of overpowering happiness where you can't control your ear to ear smile that we crave. So what can we do to start being happier?
You don't need that ferrari on the drive of your mansion to be happy, you also don't need that £1milion to be happy,you don't need to be famous to be happy, you can start to do certain activities daily to increase your overall happiness. Your overall happiness is how you feel the majority of the time, and my goal is to create a life where I spend a large chunk of my time as happy as Larry (I don't know who Larry was but he must have been happy). So what can you start doing to start being happier?
Start your day the right way
This is so overlooked. A lot of people wake up in a morning, only to hit snooze repeatedly until they literally 'HAVE TO' get out of bed and then they rush to school/college/work in a mindless rush, never taking the moment to actually feel happy, focus on some of their blessings and have a smile on their face. They aren't happy, so what are they met with? They're met with more unhappy faces and their mood just carries on deteriorating until they clock off and get to go home and lounge around watching Netflix all night and eating junk food without realising this just keeps them temporarily occupied and then they repeat the cycle over and over until it's time to retire, never actually using any of their time to improve the standard of their life or make any progress on their major goals. If you're living your life anything like this, then i'll be surprised if you're genuinely happy much throughout the day, if ever at all. Start taking control of the day from the moment you wake up and you will be SO much happier throughout the day. Fill your mornings with workouts, journalling, gratitude, doing things that you enjoy. If you take care of the start of the day, the rest of the day usually takes care of itself. Whats something you could do to improve your morning routine? Download a new alarm clock, go to sleep 20 minutes earlier, do some exercise before bed, not eat that Krispy kreme right before bed? Make a decision and follow through on it, I guarantee you won't regret it
Gratitude is the most important aspect for a happy life, it doesn't matter how much stuff you have or how amazing people you have in your life, if you're not grateful for any of it, then you will just be constantly chasing the next buzz. To perform gratitude, all you have to do is think of something and feel appreciation for it, this could be by thinking, writing or speaking about the thing you're grateful for and when you start doing it, you start finding more reasons to be grateful everywhere you look. Train yourself to find the good in things and to find things to be grateful for, don't be like the majority of people who are never grateful for any of the amazing blessings they have in their life who are only ever happy when they're spending money, putting unhealthy food in their body or getting out of their minds on drug and alcohol. I'm not demonizing these things...i'm just saying you might not need them as much as you think you do if you start feeling appreciation for the things you ALREADY HAVE.
Be the change – be the bright spark
I know what it's like, you walk into a room or you walk into work and it's like walking into a graveyard. Bad vibes, no laughter and not a smile in sight. My first thought was to always just keep quiet and let everyone carry on doing what they're doing but it's so easy to get sucked into and caught up in the negativity and before you know it, you're pissed off and can't get yourself out of the negative rut. Here's a fix for you, whenever you find yourself in an environment like this, take it up on yourself to be the bright spark and have a smile on your face and go out of your way to put smiles on peoples faces. Automatically you break down the invisible barrier of angriness and inject a bit of positivity into everyones day and this is likely to spread because after all, we're humans and we all like to smile and have a laugh and when someone goes out of their way to put a smile on our face, we are normally much likely to be friendly and have a good interaction with them. Creating value normally starts off as something small such as complimenting someone or just starting a conversation with them and even an act as small as that could turn into something life changing. It might seem difficult at first but the more that you do it, the more natural it becomes. Creating value is a skill just like driving a car or riding a bike, at first it seems like the most challenging thing on the planet, but once you've practiced it and gradually improved, you can do it automatically and eventually you can do it without even thinking about it. Become an automatic value creator, good things are guaranteed to come your way.
Smile more on purpose
Want to be able to increase your happiness within a split second WHENEVER you want? SMILE. Smiling changes your physiology and actually affects your hormones to feel less stressed so next time you want to improve your mood, have a smile for absolutely no reason and the bigger the smile, the better (if you smile hard enough, you should get the weird little creases under your eye).
It sends a message to your brain saying “See, your smiling, everything must be good” and you feel happier straight away. You can perform this simple, but effect method whenever you like. Smile whilst driving, smile whilst working, smile whilst eating and if you're feeling very adventurous, you could even smile at someone who serves you in a shop (shop workers are used to people treating them like robots so if you take the time to smile at them and ask them how they are, you might just make their day – seriously, try it and drop me a comment on how they reacted).
'Get to' instead of 'Have to'
It's so easy to get caught up in life, running round like a headless chicken and thinking that you've got to do everything in a rush and you never enjoy the moment. A great real life example of this was the other day, my girlfriend asked me last minute if I could give her a lift to college and at first I was focusing on how it had messed up my plans and was such an inconvenience, I was in the 'Have to' mindset. I caught myself in this negative thought pattern and thought to myself, before I passed my driving test, I was so excited to pass to be able to drive and be able to give my loved ones lifts but I was now treating it like a job that I HAD TO DO, and when you feel like you 'have to' do something, you don't normally feel very excited about it, but if you think of something in the sense of “Yes, I GET to do this” then you feel much more privileged about the situation. Someone else in the world is completely jealous of the situation that you're getting annoyed with.
“I have to go to work” = I have to turn up, because I need to get paid
“I get to go to work” = I get to turn up to the job that I wanted so badly & earn money whilst theres so many people out there who are jobless and want work desperately.
“I have to go the gym” = I know I should go to the gym because i'm getting out of shape & i've already payed for the month of membership now
“I get to go the gym” = I pay for this right every month and i'm looking forward to being able to go and improve myself. I'm privileged as theres a lot of people in the world without access to a gym.
See how that tiny change in vocabulary changes the way you think about something? Where in your life are you taking things for granted? Start finding ways to be grateful for everything in your life and you will be much happier. Which takes us onto the next point of...
Giving things a new meaning
As you've heard my say 1,000,000 times before, nothing has a meaning apart from the meaning that you give it so if you give everything in your life a meaning that upsets you or makes you angry...you will probably spend a lot of your time angry and upset. If you give everything a meaning that nothing ever goes your way, you will find evidence for this poisonous belief everywhere you look. Most importantly, if you give everything in your life a meaning that motivates you and makes you happy, you're life is going to be a much more enjoyable one.
Your parents are moaning and nagging? Or do they just care and want the best for you? Someone is being negative towards you, is this a personal attack on you? Or could they be having a bad day and it could be a chance for you to make their day? Instead of seeing the gym as pointless and boring, you could see it as your training arena for getting that summer 6 pack. You don't have to do this, you have every right to carry on being a selfish and mardy waster going no where in life or you can stat giving things an empowering meaning, enjoying your life and helping improving everything and everybody around you. As mentioned before, you become better at this skill with practice until you automatically find an empowering meaning for everything in your life.
Don't take things personally
Now you know that you can pick a meaning for everything that happens, stop taking everything so personally, not everybody is out on a warpath to ruin your life. Most people are spending the majority of their day stuck in their head worrying about their own problems so if someone is rude, or snappy, or looks at you in a way you find offensive, you are probably being sensitive and taking it personally...what if their negative feelings weren't actually aimed at you? I used to get myself worked up every time something like this happened and I would stay annoyed about it for hours on end, but then I made the decision that I wouldn't take things personally and that I would view every situation as a chance for me to improve myself. If someone looks angry, I see it as a chance to try and put a smile on someones face and take them from angry to happy. If someone lets me down, I see it as a chance to do something I wouldn't have been doing if the person let me down. If someone is straight up horrible to me, instead of getting into a verbal tennis match and lowering myself to their level, I find as much entertainment in the situation as possible and normally end up making myself laugh. If you take everything that happens to you in your life personally, then you will drive yourself insane and will think that the world is out to get you. If you look at every situation as a way to make yourself happy or to grow as a person...then...well, you end up being happy and growing as a person. WINNING.
Do something you love
This is a very cliché bit of advice that you've probably heard 100 times before but I mean it in a much more 'real life' way. All you do is sit and think of 1 or more things that if you did, would make that day an awesome one and then make a plan so that you definitely do whatever activities they are. Last week, I was sat thinking of what would make that day awesome and I decided that I couldn't remember the last time I played football at the park and I felt like I really wanted to cook some sweet chilli chicken so I went and played football with a few mates and then cooked those same friends some sweet chilli chicken and that day was an awesome one that i'll remember for quite a while. Create value, spend time with friends and do things you enjoy. Sounds simple but you'd be surprised how many people are living that 9-5 robot life and never actually do anything they enjoy. Drink alcohol, smoke, watch mind numbing TV, waste money and sit scrolling through Facebook for hours...but never do anything that puts a genuine smile on their face.
A happy life is sat right infront of you waiting for you to experience it, you just have to slow down and give yourself time to enjoy it, whilst cutting things out of your life that makes you less happy, and adding more things, activities and moments that make you happy into your life over time. You don't have to be a millionaire to be happy, you don't need that new 'fad' to be happy, you don't NEED anything to be happy, you can be the happiest person on the planet by stopping for a second and feeling gratitude for everything in your life. I hope this post has given you some actionable tips to start improving your happiness levels and just to make sure you take action, here is this posts action plan