6 Simple Ways To Be Happier

13 September, 2011

For those of us that didn't grow up in a happy household, to experience happiness takes a little focussed practice.

I grew up absorbing a lot of frustration, anger and anxiety; this is no one's fault, it was just my family weren't naturally happy people at the time. I can remember the first time I experienced authentic happiness - I actually felt the feeling of happiness in my head and in my body: it was 2006. I had just finished NLP master practitioner training and had done a huge amount of self-development. I was living with my partner at the time, and I remember standing in our kitchen and having this warm feeling of happiness come over me. I thought "so this is what it feels like!"

Since then, of course, it has become precious. I don't always feel happy and I aim to as much as possible. And when I don't, I take time to work out why, and then make some adjustments to get happy again.

Here are some things I have learned along the way that are easy enough to do once you choose to focus on them. I hope they help you too, and you don't have to be unhappy to do them either! You can just want more of the happiness you are enjoying at present:

  1. Make connections with people - and be the one to initiate this. Don't always wait for people to come to you.
  2. Say Thank You - research shows us time and time again that happiness is strongly correlated with feelings of gratitude and appreciation. If it doesn't feel like there is much to be thankful for, look again. When I am in the shower in the morning I am thankful I have hot, running water. At lunchtime I am thankful I can look in the cupboard and choose something to eat. It doesn't matter how small it is, just say Thank You.
  3. Take a day off to do something completely different. Don't always spend time working.
  4. Do something for no other reason than because you feel like doing it and you know it will bring you joy. Don't always do what you think you should do or have to do.
  5. Plan to laugh as much as possible.
  6. Forgive yourself when you don't feel good. Seriously, everyone has down days. Don't beat yourself up. Accept it and the next day will be different.

"I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter" ~ Dalai Lama.

Wellbeing advice issued by the Mental Health Foundation of NZ recently:

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