As the Happyologist® (a happiness life coach and writer) the most common question I get asked is, “Are you always happy?”. To that I answer, “No, I’m human.”
It took me a long time to perfect that answer and to actually be brave enough to say it. Now, I want to shout it from the top of the rooftops. Why? Because we need to re-educate ourselves as a society on what happiness actually is.
Somehow you have been taught that happiness is something you achieve when you reach your goals. You have also been taught that there is a one size fits all formula for happiness that everyone should follow. Worst of all, you have been taught that happiness is about being smiley, clappy and extroverted 24 hours a day, seven days a week and never experiencing any negative emotions. All of these myths are adding more pressure to the happiness chase and ironically, preventing you from really feeling happy and fulfilled.
That’s why I want to share some real truths with you to help improve your perspective and boost your happiness. Then, we'll follow up with some practical steps you can take to make happiness happen organically for you no matter what kind of stress, anxiety or sadness you're going through – there's always a way for you to cultivate a positive and happy relationship with yourself. Let’s start with those truths.
How to be happy in life again
First of all, happiness is a daily choice not a destination. You don’t reach happiness by reaching your goals. Sure, achieving your goals makes you feel proud, excited and joyful in the moment – and rightfully so! After a short period of time though, your happiness will adapt to the situation and revert back to your usual happiness starting point. That’s why you need to learn to find joy in every step of the journey rather than obsess about only finding joy when you reach the destination.
Secondly, there is no one size fits all formula for happiness. You are incredibly unique exactly as you are, and hence what makes you happy is also unique to you. Sure there might be some overlap with other people, but there is no strict "you should do X, Y and Z" to be happy. Instead, you should better connect with yourself and what is important to you so you learn what fuels your fulfilment. That way you can ensure you are prioritising the right things in your life and making happiness happen in your life.
Finally, happiness is not the absence of negative emotions, rather your ability to deal with them. As a human being, you are meant to have the full experience on planet Earth and experience all the human emotions there are – both the good and the bad. The positive ones like love, joy, delight, pleasure, savouring and contentment, make you feel good. The negative ones like sadness, stress, and anxiety, shine light on the fact that something is wrong. They are like a compass guiding you in the right direction and telling you when you need to readjust your sails.
Now you’ve got these new happiness truths to live by, how do you turn that insight into action? How do you ensure that you are giving yourself the biggest likelihood of feeling happy and fulfilled? That’s where these three happiness tips come in.
How to become happy and positive
1. Practice gratitude
Learn to foster an attitude of gratitude to help keep yourself happy and positive. When you do that, you make it easy for you to choose happiness on a daily level. You look for things to be grateful for and focus your mind on the good rather than the bad. You embrace a more positive, proactive, solution focused mindset that helps you to overcome any challenge or setback. Most importantly, you connect to your present life in a meaningful way.
Tonight or when you finish your day, write down three specific things from your day that you are most grateful for. Do this for at least four weeks and you’ll start turning gratitude into a habit.
2. Identify what makes you happy... and do more of it
When you know what makes you happy, it’s easier to prioritise the right things. To discover what makes you happy, answer these two questions: (1) What makes you feel good?, and (2) What gives you a sense of purpose? In the end, happiness is a fine balancing act between doing things that give you momentary bursts of positive emotions and doing meaningful things that fuel a more fulfilling, sustainable type of happiness.
3. Acknowledge your negative emotions and separate them from your identity
When you feel the negativity kick in, the worst thing you can do is to try to hide it, fight it, suppress it or deny it. Don't ponder over questions like, "Will I ever be happy again?". It will only shout louder and louder and become more and more toxic within you. Instead, acknowledge what you are feeling. Simply giving them a voice gives them less power. Say, “I feel stressed” rather than, “I am stressed”, or “I feel anxious” rather than, “I am anxious”. This reinforces that how you are feeling is not who you are, and acknowledges that every emotion is temporary and fleeting.
Now go and practice these new truths to boost happiness and positivity in your life and share them with your loved ones. We all need to spread the love and knowledge on what happiness is so that we can live happier, more fulfilling lives.
To save these helpful tips, Pin This!