10 More Terrific Ways To A Happier Life
Do what makes you happy! That’s the phrase I’ve heard repeatedly since writing my first blog on happiness. I’ve heard the phrase again and again on TV, in movies, online, and in books.
Here’s the thing: doing what brings you pleasure in the moment rarely offers sustaining happiness. In fact, often times there are some negative consequences – some of them lingering.
As I mentioned previously, happiness is the result of living your life well. When your life is in alignment with your values and who God created you to be, happiness follows.
Here are some thoughts about happiness that might surprise you:
- More about the process than the product; the journey not the destination
- An inside thing – material things, people, circumstances, etc. don’t determine your happiness
- Possible, even when life isn’t perfect
- Not dependent on money or status
- Possible no matter your age or season of life
- More likely when you are working and actively pursuing your purpose
- Something you practice, a way of doing life – no one is “happy” 100% of the time
The more you chase pleasure or happiness the more elusive it becomes!
With that in mind, I want to share with you ten additional ways for you to enjoy a happier life:
1. Be Generous
Being generous isn’t limited to giving money. Giving also includes being generous with your material possessions as well as your time and talents. Moll and Jordan Grafman, neuroscientists at the National Institute of Health, did a study where they discovered that when people were asked to think about a scenario that involved donating a sum of money to a charity or keeping it themselves, giving the money to a charity activated the same area of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex! In other words, giving makes you happy!
The Challenge → Determine one way to be generous today!
2. Accept Imperfection
It’s impossible to be perfect so it makes sense that continuing to try would not make you happy. That doesn’t mean you should throw up your hands and not try, but rather choose to accept your imperfections and just do your best. The sooner you can come to terms with your imperfections, the better. After all, as you get older, more and more of your imperfections are sure to surface.
The bonus: accepting your own imperfections makes it easier to accept the imperfections of others, which is sure to benefit your relationships.
The Challenge → What imperfection do you need to accept today?
3. Celebrate Small Victories
Holding off to celebrate until you’ve achieved some massive goal is discouraging. There are a host of small victories all along the way – victories that are worth celebrating! Acknowledging your progress is encouraging and it also makes it more likely that you will ultimately reach that big goal.
Remember, celebrating doesn’t have to be a major event, but simply taking the time to acknowledge where you’ve been successful and thanking God for your progress.
The Challenge → What progress, recent success, or area of growth will you pause, acknowledge, and celebrate right now?
4. Live In Who God Created You To Be
As His creation, you reflect Him in a unique way. Living that out requires that you embrace His unconditional love, walk in your identity in Him. and fully depend on Him. That’s not always easy, but it is a happier way to live!
Did He create you to be loving, courageous, compassionate, authentic, creative, beautiful, generous, trusting, a servant, dependable, focused, or…
The Challenge → Start here to determine who God created YOU to BE today.
5. Trust God
There are so many very weighty aspects to life – areas that feel out of control and uncertain. For me, knowing that I can trust God, even in the craziest of circumstances, gives me hope and frees me up to face life in a happier more positive way. Trusting God means believing that He is good, has my best interests in mind, and that He is more than able to meet my needs. He’s for me. Nothing catches Him by surprise – my future is secure.
On the flip side, it’s hard to be happy when you are consumed with worry. The same is true when you are anxious or fearful – they are serious threats to your happiness.
The Challenge → What burden will you give to Him? Where will you choose to trust Him?
6. Be Present
It bears repeating: living a frantic and busy lifestyle chokes out happiness! It prevents you from being present and savoring all the little things in life that are so meaningful. And it prevents you from focusing on what’s possible.
The Challenge → Breathe! Pause. Consider some of the “little things” you’ve been missing that make life more meaningful.
7. Be Willing To Do the Work
The more challenging the task, the more tickled I am when I’ve completed it! Be willing to do what it takes to get where you want to be. It requires hard work, stepping outside your comfort zone, and taking risks…and the reward – you will feel pleased with what you’ve accomplished and that’s a happy feeling!
The Challenge → Stop making excuses and do what you need to do! Do you need to work with a coach? Take the No Excuses Challenge? Or just stop procrastinating and get ‘er done?
8. Get Outside
There are some beautiful benefits to getting outdoors because it…
- Lowers stress
- Positively impacts your blood pressure
- Provides a healthy dose of vitamin D
- Makes you more creative
- Boosts your mood
- Enables you to heal more quickly
- Increases focus
- Lowers anxiety
- Improves your sleep
- Encourages activity
- Nurtures your immune system
- Makes you happier!
The Challenge → Go for a walk!
9. Take Time To Be Creative
We tend to think of creative activities as being artistic or crafty activities. The truth is that you can do absolutely anything creatively! Allow yourself the freedom to engage in open ended activities that allow you to explore and create without any expectations, even if it’s just doodling!
The Challenge → Experiment. Do something creative today. If you write, how can you be more creative? If you are a nurse, how can you engage with your patients in a more creative way? How can you lead your next meeting with a creative flare? What can you do to creatively attract more donors? If you like to cook – create a new dish or a new variation of a recipe!
10. Be Authentic
Trying to be someone you aren’t is exhausting and keeps you from being happy! If you are…
- An approval seeker
- People pleaser
- Prone to comparing
- A workaholic
- Lack self-awareness or clarity around your purpose
…your ability to be authentic will be inhibited.
The Challenge → Determine your top 5 values. Then determine whether or not you are authentically walking them out in your life. I promise, when you are out of sync with your values it makes being happy hard!
Feelings are fickle – the come and they go! That’s why it’s critical that you choose to develop habits in your life that foster happiness rather than pursuing those happy feelings!
Which of the above challenges will you take on today?
© Can Stock Photo / Bilahata