10 Ways To Enjoy A Happier Life Now
What do you believe about happiness? Is it something illusive or is it something that’s actually possible? Imagine, what would be different if you were happier?
Many operate under the misconception that happiness is what you experience when you…
- Lose weight
- Make more money
- Get married
- Have children
- Have an empty nest
- Own a home
- Get a promotion
- Finish school
Successes, even small ones, are worth celebrating, however, when happiness is dependent on achieving success or your circumstances it’s a flimsy-fleeting kind of happiness.
Here’s something surprising: Did you know that pain actually contributes to happiness? According to research, the beauty of experiencing pain in your life is that it…
- Increases your ability to enjoy the pleasure because it provides contrast
- Teaches you some valuable skills like self-regulation
- Enables you to have greater empathy for others
Some of the happiest people I know are people who have faced significant adversity in their lives.
The Happiness Stats
Getting technical, a variety of studies on happiness have determined that happiness is comprised of:
- 10% circumstances
- 50% personality
- 40% your behaviors, thoughts, and habits
That’s good news! That means that a significant part of your happiness is about how you think and you have control over that! And you also are able to make the choice to live out of the best aspects of your personality too! That puts 90% of happiness in your hands!
It’s undeniable – that happy feeling has taken a hit over the last year as we’ve been forced to shift how we do life and limit our face-to-face connections. According to a government report…
- 41% of adults surveyed in late June 2020 reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition.
- Those who experienced anxiety tripled in June 2020 compared to the same time in 2019
- Depression in 2020 quadrupled.
- Twice as many people considered suicide in 2020 than they did in 2018.
Those are sobering facts.
Here’s what’s really amazing: In spite of the challenges, many, many people remained happy! In fact, in the pandemic has had some positives: more family time, more time to think, read, and tackle long put off project, etc.
I don’t want to minimize the complexities that contribute to mental health. And I don’t want to oversimplify the path to happiness. What I want you to understand is that there are choices to be made every day – choices that are within your control that contribute to your happiness or lack of happiness.
Here are ten choices that you can make today that will naturally boost your happiness:
It takes 12 muscles to smile and only 11 to frown, but the smile muscles are actually stronger so it takes less effort to smile! The bonus: Smiling releases endorphins leaving you feeling happier and more positive.
The Challenge → Try it out – come on! Smile right now!
2. Practice Gratitude
Why make the effort to practice gratitude? Did you know that simply coming up with a list of five things you are grateful for every day encourages you to think about the positives in your life rather than the negatives? Not only that, but searching for the positives to make the list helps you shift your focus throughout the day. Your thinking is powerful! Plus, practicing gratitude lowers stress!
The Challenge → What are five things you are thankful for right now?
3. Less is More
Are you a busy bee? Are you perpetually in motion? One of the biggest threats to happiness is busyness! Happiness isn’t about doing it all, it’s about doing a few select activities – the activities that mean the most!
To facilitate you doing less, you have boundaries in your life!
The Challenge → Slow down today. Take your time in whatever you do. Be fully present and notice how it makes you feel.
4. Take Time To Think & Feel
It’s not just the doing, doing, doing that robs of happiness, it’s what we aren’t doing: thinking and feeling.
Time spent thinking isn’t wasted time. It’s the opportunity to check-in with yourself; an opportunity to evaluate and makes changes that will serve you better. It’s the chance to get to the root of your negative feelings.
The Challenge → Pause right now and contemplate…
- How are you feeling?
- What do you need?
- What’s missing in your life?
- What in your life is fulfilling and meaningful?
- How are you rich? Often the most valuable aspects of your life aren’t acknowledged.
5. Pursue Goals
Without direction, you lack focus. Without focus, what’s most important to you is unclear. That’s the beauty of goals – they help you focus on what’s most important to you! They give you a sense of purpose and direction in life and that’s a happy thing!
The Challenge → Take a moment to take a fresh look at your goals. What steps can you take to get a little closer to realizing them. Don’t have goals? What’s a goal you can set today?
We were made for relationship. Time spent with the ones you treasure most is uplifting!
The Challenge → Call someone you treasure, or arrange a coffee or lunch date with a friend even if you have to do it via Zoom.
7. Don’t Compare
Comparing yourself to others rarely makes you happy! In fact, odds are good that it will rouse your Fear Monster! Resist the urge to compare yourself and instead appreciate they unique and wonderful way God made you!
The Challenge → Give someone a genuine compliment today! Appreciate what makes others amazing!
8. Engage in Activities that Energize you
Another disadvantage to being perpetually busy is that it crowds out energizing activities – the activities that make your heart happy!
The Challenge → Make a list of activities that you enjoy doing. Make it your goal to do at least one of those activities every day. You know I call that doing your “♥ thing”.
9. Practice Healthy Habits
The lack of sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet negatively impact on your mood. While you may be unaware of how lacking those habits in your life is impacting you, the people around you probably have noticed!
The Challenge → Head to bed early tonight! Wake up and exercise – even 7 minutes of exercise makes a difference! Choose what you eat with “happy and healthy” in mind!
Choosing not to forgive adds up over time. Even hanging onto small offenses and letting them pile up leads to feeling angry. Sadly, while you are lugging around all those offenses the other people in your life are happily oblivious. The only person it really harms is you and I promise it’s taking a toll on your ability to feel happy!
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
The Challenge → Forgive someone – let them off the hook! That doesn’t mean you are condoning what they did, It’s choosing to not hang onto the perceived slight.
Happiness is the result of the little decisions you make every day at work and at home – every aspect of your life! Feelings come and go – it’s unrealistic to think you will always feel happy. But those who are happy typically shift from negative emotions to happy ones quicker.
Here’s the deal: pursuing happiness rarely makes you happy. Instead, happiness is the byproduct of making the choice to live well.
Which of the above challenges will you take on today?
PS…I’ve got 10 more ways for you to enjoy a happier life for you right here.