I think it is true to say that we all spend a lot of time and effort in the pursuit of happiness:
If I get the next promotion: if I could earn more money: If I could work less; if I could find love; If I could get a larger house, then I’d be happy.
But then when we get there the goal posts suddenly move and it’s like looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – ever illusive. There is a tendency to look externally to material things when really we have the answer to happiness inside us. It is just a matter of looking at things in a different way.
Here are some practical ways that I’ve found help increase satisfaction with life:
- Practice gratitude. Make a point either at the end of each day to count your blessings and to think about what has gone well that day. Over time I have found that this helps me feel adopt a more optimistic mood and it is a great way to end the day on a real positive.
- Do something for others – think of the times you get far more joy from giving rather than receiving. Or when you have made life easier for someone else. How good that has made you feel?
- Be happy for others when they do well. I used to be envious of other’s success but now I try very hard to see it as showing that this means it can be done rather than looking with the green eyed monster – my friends have shown me that whatever it they have achieved is possible and if they can do it, so can I too. Don’t get me wrong I don’t always manage to be this virtuous but this tactic has definitely helped move me out of that jealous moment.
- Don’t compare yourself to others – just to you. Life is not a competition and is about you. If you don’t like something, you and you alone. have the power to change it.
- Try to find life’s lessons in things or the positives when things have not gone so well and look for some good in it. A very basic example is rather than stressing at not getting the job you wanted to think that this was not for you and there is something better around the corner with your name on it.
- Make the time to just be – ‘me time’ or rest or be in the moment. A chance to recharge and savour the moment or spend time in the wonder of nature. Enjoy the warmth of the sun on your skin on a summer’s day. Sometimes this is all it takes to move out of a moment of dissatisfaction into a brighter more positive frame of mind.
- Spend time with friends and turn to them at times for comfort and support.
- ‘Fake it till you make it’– if you keep smiling it is impossible to be angry or upsetand your mood can shift! Try it next time you are in a bad mood. See it does work!
- Try to accept the world is forever changing and go with the flow; don’t spend time fighting against what you cannot control and concentrate on what you can. Accept that some people will like you but others won’t – but aim to treat them with kindness just the same.
- Let go of negative thoughts and feelings. At the end of the day I try to make a point of acknowledging anything that has upset me during the day and letting go of them – deep breathing them out and releasing them one by one. I imagine I am blowing them into big black balloon and letting it float into the air out of sight. Tomorrow is is another day. This lets me start with a clean slate.
How powerful is that? To know that we have the ability inside ourselves to be happier than we have ever been?? It’s just the way we choose to look at life.