If you asked most people what they want most out of life, you can bet that many would say they’d just like to be happier. But what precisely is happiness?
As it transpires, being happy isn’t just about one or two things in your life. It’s about you finding peace and harmony with everything. It’s not enough that you have this or that – you need to make it all work together.
Here are 10 secrets to lifelong happiness that will change your life:
Start With The Basics
A common mistake people make when they make it their mission to be happier is that they immediately start with the big stuff. They quit their job, start dreaming about owning their own business, and make it their goal to find their soul mate as soon as possible.
But starting with the big stuff is not a good idea, because it means you’re skipping all the basics that are making you unhappy. For example, try going to sleep earlier and waking up earlier. It’s a simple change in your lifestyle that could make you a whole lot happier.
Can lifelong happiness be faked? No. But you can first fake your happiness until you start to genuinely feel it.
After actions come feelings. If you walk around with slouched shoulders and bemoan everything and everyone around you, you will start to feel exactly how you’re acting – negative, bitter and sad.
Likewise, if you start to deliberately act cheerful, you will start to feelmore cheerful! You might not believe this to be true right now, but all you have to do is give it a go.
Stop Treating Your Blues With Treats
It was a bit of a personal wake-up call when my friend pointed out to me that I had a tendency to always treat myself to chocolate or shopping sprees or even wine whenever I was feeling down.
“So?” I asked. I couldn’t see anything wrong with it.
“Well, don’t you see? Treating your blues with these treats makes you feel good temporarily. But then once they’re finished, you feel guilty, remorseful – and much worse than you did earlier.”
My friend was right. If you have a habit of treating the blues with quick fixes, you will be doing yourself more harm than good.
According to science, the sun makes you happier. And getting outside more will free you from the grey confines of your office space, ensuring a mental boost.
Get More Sleep
I touched on the need for more sleep a little earlier, but it’s worth expanding on. Sleep is a good way of letting your body repair itself after a long day – in fact, it’s the best way. As such, it’s automatically going to make you happier because it’s making you healthier.
Give Up Your Bad Habits
Can you really have lifelong happiness if you continue to rely on bad habits? Most likely not. Although we continue to indulge our bad habits, and although they might provide temporary pleasure and relief, we know deep down that we resent ourselves for continuing this charade. And this just makes us miserable and unhappy.
Freeing yourself from your bad habits is incredibly liberating. If you smoke, drink or cuss too much, quitting your vices will instantly make you feel more positive about life, and it will also make you happier.
Spend More Time With Your Friends And Family
Did you know that one of the top 5 regrets of a dying person is that they didn’t spend enough time with their friends and family? It’s so easy to say No to a friend today because we’re too busy. But in a few years’ time when you look back on all those times you said No, you might well regret it now that they’re out of your life.
Time is super precious. If you are spending too much time wrapped up in your work, seeing more of those who love and care for you may perk you up.
Constantly checking your Facebook and texting people on your phone can be enough to make you miserable, isolated and disenchanted. It can even make you feel jealous, especially when you compare your life to the lives of your friends on Facebook.
So why not take some time off from technology?
Stop Aiming For Perfection
During my personal pursuit of happiness, I was told that I was an all or nothing person.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
It meant that I either pursued something to perfection, or I didn’t bother with it at all. There was no middle ground. I wasn’t able to settle for second best – and it was making me miserable.
Perfectionism is unhealthy. If your target is constantly out of reach because you are aiming for impossible heights, it’s going to prevent you from being happy. Lower your sights and accept that sometimes things are going to be as good as they’re going to get.
Be Kind To People
“Practice kindness each day and you’ll realise that you’re already in Heaven.”
– Jack Kerouac
Can helping others actually help you to feel better? Sure it can! Compassion and caring for others is key to their happiness and yours. Just watching someone smile because of something you did is enough to instantly make you feel that life is beautiful after all.
And kindness is the gift that keeps on giving all your life.
Stay happy and healthy