Being happy is a skill and a mindset. It is not something attained easily, and it certainly isn’t something you can purchase at a store. Although I’m not expert and still have my down days, following these eight things has really helped put everything in perspective for me, and allowed me to live a life I don’t dread waking up to every day.
- Say ‘fuck you’ to everything that makes you anxious, angry, frustrated, guilty or sad
If a person, job, place or situation makes you feel any of the above – cut it. You might not be able to completely get rid of the thing, but acknowledge in your mind that you are done with it, and actively search for something better. If your job is horrendous, look for another and put in only the work you have to in order to signify the end to yourself. If a person is making you question yourself, dump them completely out of your life. It may be cliché, but life is way too short to be made to feel insignificant by a person. No one or thing should ever have that kind of power over you.
- Learn to be grateful for everything
This is a really tough one to master, but once you do, happiness comes naturally. Keeping track of how grateful you are for the food you eat, your internet connection, a sunny day and the clothes on your back really make the thoughts in your head just seem like what they really are – thoughts.
- Surround yourself with people – even if you don’t want to
One of the easiest ways to feel unhappy is to fall into the trap of not socialising. I’ve definitely been guilty of this myself – sometimes you just really would rather do anything else. But, humans are social creatures. In order to be really happy, we need human connection. If this is with one person or fifty, or just your mum, that’s fine. Just nourish the relationships you do have, maybe try and form some more, and immediately life becomes that little bit better.
- Label your feelings
In a similar way to number two, label what you’re feeling. You’re allowed to feel any emotion, but just name it. If you feel sad, say to yourself ‘I recognise I’m feeling sad’ which will immediately take the sting out of it. Ultimately, the goal is to make these feelings register as thoughts. You have lots of thoughts. Why would you take this one more seriously than the rest?
- Think about your insignificance
This might not work for everyone, but the minute I start thinking about all those who came before me, all those who will come after, and the speck my existence will have in history, all the unhappiness swirling round in my head becomes dull.
- Be mindful
I have reminders set four times a day for being mindful. This doesn’t mean a full out meditation (although I do highly recommend that), but all I do when I see that alarm is just notice what I’m doing. Am I working? Am I out? What’s happening? What can I smell, see, hear, taste, touch? I simply be in the moment, four times a day at least, which pauses my mind and helps me see clearer.
- Do things for accomplishment
Accomplishment is such a rewarding feeling that can outweigh almost anything. That’s why I’m a firm believer in setting realistic, achievable goals, and recording them. Even something as simple as having a to-do list with ‘eat breakfast’ on it can make you feel good when you tick it off after some cereal. Find out what accomplishment looks like for you, and do what you can to feel it often. Immediately your happiness will rise.
- Find your purpose
This for me is the most acute reason for my unhappiness. I have the thought ‘well, what’s the point?’ and things slide quickly down from there. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Using methods like ‘Ikigao’ and writing down what values are important to you in the fields of relationships, career, living, etc can help you figure out what is at the core of who you are and what you can do to satisfy yourself. When you’ve established that, things can only get better.
I hope this helped someone out there! Let me know what you thought about my tips on being happy.