Have there been times in your life when you’ve wished to be happier? Do you look at happy people and wonder what their secret is? Happiness is something many of us strive for. But the truth is that we are born happy.
As babies we come into this world filled with joy. Take a look at any new born or very young child and notice their delight at the simplest pleasures – the sight of their hand, the wagging tale of a puppy, a smile from a stranger.
But as we get older, achieving such a blissful state of happiness seems to become more and more elusive.
In truth, happiness is a choice. Each one of us can choose to be happy, right now, right here. People who are happy realize this unconsciously or consciously.
Here are my #10 tips to live a happier, richer and more rewarding life.
#1 Forgive Others, Empower Yourself
Don’t get me wrong. Forgiveness is not about accepting, approving or condoning wrongdoings, and there are times when forgiving someone will feel like the hardest thing in the world.
But stop and think for a minute – have you ever held on to some deep-seated resentment or vowed to forgive but never forget?
Regardless your religious beliefs, I encourage you to think about forgiveness from a different perspective. Not as something you grant someone else, but as a gift to yourself.
Every thought we have, whether positive or negative, carries with it a vibration or electrical charge. Holding on to the things that have gone wrong in our lives and resenting anyone who has hurt or disappointed us ultimately affects us. TD Jakes puts it beautifully below:
Forgiveness is an important step in letting you release the past so it no longer has control over your thoughts. In other words, removing the negative charge from your life puts you in a higher vibration and makes you feel happier.
#2 Stop Complaining, Find A Solution
Do you moan and complain about how bad life is? Or what a raw deal you’ve had from the tax man, the utility company or your boss? Worse still, are you surrounded by people who love to whinge?
Many of us, especially in Western societies seem to be addicted to complaining. Yet as innocent as this habit may seem, it is extremely counterproductive and is the fastest way to repel happiness.
You may feel better after blowing off some steam but moaning usually leads to more unhappiness, negativity and relationship problems. In other words, more of the same.
Remember energy flows where attention goes.
Stop focusing on what’s wrong with your life. Find a solution to whatever challenge you’re facing.
If this isn’t possible, then switch your focus to the good things in your life like your family, your friends, your health or your business.
The more you train your mind to focus on solutions, what you’re grateful for, and what you want instead of complaints the happier you will become.
#3 Spend Time With People You Love
Loved ones can include family and friends but also peers and mentors. Spend time with people you love, like and admire, who are smart, focussed and like-minded.
Relationships should empower you, not hold you back.
Surround yourself with people who love you but also who inspire you to greatness.
Choose friends who reflect the kind of person you want to become and who make you feel good about yourself.
This doesn’t mean only having yes-people in your inner circle. True friends will offer constructive criticism when it is needed in order to help you grow.
Life is simply too short to spend time with people who drain the life out of you. When you free yourself from negative people, you are free to be you – and being you is the only way to truly live.
#4 Exercise Daily, Eat Healthier
Taking care of your body is part and parcel of being happy. Your body is intrinsic to how you feel about yourself and how much energy you have to function properly day-to-day and to pursue your goals.
If you’re out of shape or in poor health the chances are high that your mental energy (willpower, discipline, focus), your emotional energy (feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) are also out of synch.
A revealing study on people with clinical depression showed that regular exercise significantly raises happiness levels in the short-term. It was found that even six months later, those people who had continued to exercise were less likely to relapse into depression due to their higher levels of self-accomplishment and self-worth.
You don’t have to join the gym. Even a short 20-minute walk every day can make a difference to your health. Couple this with eating healthier such as having a smoothie for breakfast instead of bacon and eggs or eating a small mixed salad with your evening meal and you’ll soon start to feel lighter, brighter and happier.
#5 Don’t Chase People
As you start living more authentically, it is natural that some relationships will start to break down.
Loyalty and friendships are important but if people are not supportive or interested, then it’s time to let them go.
Accept that some relationships and situations just can’t be fixed and move on.
Letting go creates a vacuum in your life to attract people who love and value you for who you truly are and the amazing person you are becoming.
Releasing negative people will also make you feel happier about yourself, which sets up a positive vibration around you thereby attracting more of the right people and opportunities.
#6 Laugh A Lot
Besides making you feel good in the moment, did you know that laughter has many far-reaching benefits? Studies have shown that laughter can help relieve pain, reduce stress, bring greater happiness, and even boost your immunity.
But despite the significant health benefits, many of us just don’t laugh enough in our lives. It’s estimated that children laugh up to 400 times a day whilst adults rarely get above 15.
If you feel that life has been getting a bit serious lately, here are a few things you can do to lighten up; watch comedies, hang out with fun people, join a laughter yoga club, don’t take yourself so seriously and smile more.
#7 Learn To Meditate Every Day
But I have to admit that after attending meditation classes for the first time last year and experiencing the benefits first-hand, I have become a devotee.
At any given moment, our brains are being bombarded by thousands of external stimuli, far too much to consciously take in.
These messages and thoughts create feelings of mental exhaustion, distraction and confusion.
Although we may think we are switching off when we watch TV, listen to music or even sleep, in truth our minds are still whirring away in the background.
I believe that one of the most effective ways to slow the mind down and truly relax is meditation.
Regular meditation has been found to increase mental alertness, help combat depression, reduce stress and anxiety, promote clarity of thought and increase happiness.
It is most effective when practiced regularly but you don’t need to sit in the lotus position for hours on end. Just a few minutes a day can bring noticeable positive benefits. If you’re new to meditation then I highly recommend this simple free 10 minute guided meditation.
#8 Start With YES And THANK YOU
One of the most empowering rituals I have recently adopted is to start my day by saying a heartfelt YES and THANK YOU upon waking. At that time of the morning, my brain is still fuzzy so it’s easier to start my day with a simple habit that has massive impact.
The words YES and THANK YOU are affirmative, expansive and carry an extremely high positive charge that I mentioned earlier. They both work to instantly put you in a peak state of vibration.
If you don’t believe me then shout out YES a few times and see how you feel. Then try saying NO. Can you tell the difference?
I start my day in faith that all will be well. This is true even if on the surface it might not seem that way to me. I have faith that all things will work together for good.
Saying THANK YOU has the additional benefit of starting my day in gratitude.
Much has been written about the power of gratitude but it is the simplest way to attract positive opportunities, circumstances and people into your life. It also helps generate a deep state of happiness from within.
#9 Forgive Yourself, Learn From Mistakes
I’ve mentioned forgiveness here for a second time because the most important person to forgive is yourself.
There are certain things that you intellectually know to be true but you forget them. Like loving yourself and accepting yourself no matter what.
Sometimes it is important to take a deep breath and acknowledge that you have done your best and even if things haven’t worked out, you have learned an important lesson that you hopefully won’t need to repeat.
So today if you are tempted to beat up on yourself for not having completed your to-do list, for that business pitch that went wrong or for that relationship that didn’t work out, cut yourself some slack. You are human.
There are no mistakes, only opportunities to learn and become a better, stronger version of yourself.
#10 Take Action, Eliminate Anxiety
The ability to get things done and overcome procrastination is one of the most important skills to master if you want to live well and be happier. But what has procrastination to do with happiness you might be thinking?
Do you ever avoid important tasks by distracting yourself with “busy work” eg responding to emails, researching online or engaging in social media?
Procrastination prevents you from doing the things that are truly important, the things that will make you most proud and from which you can derive the deepest satisfaction. Inaction causes anxiety. Action on the other hand energizes you, creates excitement and generates joy.
Do the thing you’ve been putting off and watch your happiness levels soar.
Final Thoughts On Being Happier
Happiness is a moment-to-moment choice, one that many find difficult. To help you out, I’ve summarized these tips in a handy 10-point checklist.
Test out some of these strategies and let me know how you get on. The benefits will astound you.
And don’t be surprised if other people notice the difference in you. You might even motivate them to do the same!
What changes do you need to make to feel happier? Have I missed anything out that has caused a shift for you? Please comment and share below.