Apparently we are no happier now than sixty years ago despite the numerous advancements we’re seeing everywhere. But we can definitely do something to change that, step one is to make the simple pledge to create more happiness around you.
1.Giving (Do things for others)
The feeling you get from helping others, stranger or not, is universal: it feels good for everyone. Even nature and alchemy agrees: ie nothing is ever gone or destroyed and for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction. Take away something from yourself through giving it away (it doesn’t always have to be money, it can be your time, idea or energy) and it never really is gone from you because something good will always come back not necessarily in the same form.
2.Relating (Connect with people)
Even introverts need to connect, everyone does. The longest study on happiness proves that relationships matter when it comes to making people happy. Make more time for people who matter and make new connections as well. But remember, as the cliché goes: quality over quantity.
3.Exercising (Take care of your body)
Honestly I think 7 out of 10 who reads this thought ‘Uh-oh’ and remember how they’re paying a gym that they don’t even go to or to that new full on sports attire that’s rarely used that you can resell it as brand new or that yoga mat gathering dust and starting to get crunchy. I’m one of the 7. But taking care of your body doesn’t have to be tedious, it’s not just being active, it’s also about relaxing and resting and I’m sure everyone does the last two better. Personally there are just some exercise that I don’t like doing (yes Burpees I’m talking about you) but there’s so many ways to keep moving that you’re sure bound to find one that you actually enjoy doing. And for those sceptics here is a book (Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain)that talks about scientific studies showing the effects of exercise on the brain.
4.Awareness (Live life mindfully)
You must have heard about mindfulness meditations. Here’s a list of apps that could guide you on your way to mindfulness. But you don’t have to be all out ie looking like a monk in an Indian monastery in order to practice meditation. Just being aware of your surroundings while walking or taking notice of your food while eating also means you are conscious. As Morgan Freeman said, learn how to be still, to really be still, and let life happen.
5.Trying out (Keep learning new things)
I think this is my favourite amongst the 10. I’m a certified addict to learning how to do everything I find interesting although that didn’t go well for Dexter Ambidextrous. Learning challenges you and the accomplishment of having known something you didn’t before gives you a confidence boost. The beauty of today is that everything is at the tip of our fingers for free, the internet has it all, just google it and an article or a YouTube video will appear. Another alternative is joining a platform like Skillshare dedicated to learning.
6.Direction (Have goals to look forward to)
A wise person knows which goals are ultimately fulfilling and which offer only the illusion of fulfilment – Robert Emmons
You’re like, okay so I thought you said I need to learn something new to get that sense of accomplishment and fulfilment? well as hard as it is for me to say this because I always have the urge to learn everything depending on what interests me at that moments, sometimes they are all so random that I don’t even know if there will come a time that I will be able to use that skill. We all have a limited number of hours in a day so make sure whatever you’re spending it on is worth it and will lead you to the direction that you want.
7.Resilience (Find ways to bounce back)
This article from the American Psychological Association shows that you can build and learn resilience or the skill of adapting well in the face of challenges. Add that into your keep-trying-out list.
8.Emotions (Look for what’s good)
So is the glass half full or half empty? I don’t think this means ignoring the bad things because I know it’s not easy to do and those become part of who we are and helps build our resilience. Acknowledge that the challenges mold us and after that we can focus on the good things.
9.Acceptance (Be comfortable with who you are)
I still need to work on this since I’m a serial comparer, but really, there’s a reason why ‘don’t compare yourself to others’ is such a cliché, because it’s true. We’re comparing our inner-selves to someone’s outer self. Because really, unless we’re their shrink or something, we only see what they are outside and sometimes it’s the unrealistic version (cue amazing Instagram photos).
10.Meaning (Be part of something bigger)
Tell me I’m not the only one who is kept awake at night by the thought that I think I can still be a part of something bigger? I know we all do because I think we’re hard wired into it. Do something today that will make you part of something that give your life meaning, your passion or spiritual belief or your family or others.
Let’s try and reclaim happiness everyday!