It is International Day of Happiness and it started me thinking about Happiness and what it means to me.
While researching ‘happiness’ I came across this website, World Happiness Forum totally devoted to happiness. It has some great reading and I would highly recommend you taking a look – it might even get those happy feelings stirring. This website states that “How to improve the happiness and overall quality of life is today’s no.1 issue”.
I have had conversations with people who say they don’t really know what people mean when they say “I just want to be happy”, especially if they appear to have all the ‘trappings’ of a good life.
Happiness is such a personal thing. What makes one person happy is different to someone else. To me it is also a physical feeling – you can actually ‘feel’ happiness. We are all guilty of thinking “I’ll be happy when…..” instead of trying to focus on being happy in the present. This is not easy as we have been brought up in a society where social standing and materialism is high on the priority list as proof of success or to bring happiness.
It is not until you are faced with a major threat in your life – be it an illness, losing someone close to you, losing your job etc., that we are forced to look at our life and get back to the basics and what is important to us – surely that must include happiness.
Happiness to me includes so many other words – joy, contentment, wellbeing, peace. It really is a state of mind which is not always easy to achieve. What can make us happy? The unfortunate thing is nothing can make you happy – you have to find it. However, there are ways to find it and keep that feeling alive within you.
It’s not easy being happy all the time. Let’s be honest, we all have good and bad days. Days when we feel down or feel sorry for ourselves. As long as you have more good than bad. That is just being human.
There are some people who just radiate happiness – surround yourself with those people, however also understand that even they have days when they aren’t ‘on top of the world’. Your goal should be to be happy most of the time – if you are happy all of the time that’s great!
Here are 10 Steps to Finding Happiness in Your Life
1. Being happy starts with you
You can’t rely on other people or material things to make you happy. You are responsible for your own happiness and need to find that place within you where you feel ‘happy’ just being.
I’ve recently started going to yoga and the class concentrates very much on breathing techniques and being one with yourself. Take 5 minutes and close your eyes – inhaling and exhaling deeply brings relaxation and will help you to declutter your mind so you feel contented.
A loving relationship, can add happiness to your life. The love of my husband fills me with happiness. We enjoy each other’s company and love travelling together. However, if you are unfortunate to be in a toxic relationship this will affect your happiness in a detrimental way – so think about how important that relationship is to you and your wellbeing.
3. Family & Friends
Your relationship with your family and friends can add happiness to your life. Children and grandchildren can bring great joy to your life. I love spending time with my grandson. His smile when he sees me fills my heart with such joy and happiness. Being socially active with friends and family brings a new dimension to your life where you can enjoy experiences. (Read more about the Importance of Friendship)
4. Being Fit & Active
Having a healthy and active lifestyle can add to your happiness. Being active will stimulate the endorphins ‘happy hormones’. How often have you not felt like exercising, pushed yourself to do some and then felt great afterwards. Find some activity you enjoy and include this as part of your lifestyle. There are so many ways to keep fit these days – surely there is something you enjoy. Not sure where to start? My 6 Steps to Starting an Exercise Program
Find it and do it!
5. Find things you like to do
Having a hobby or interest can bring a state of happiness. You enjoy what you are doing therefore you feel a sense of wellbeing and contentment. Sometimes I love to just sit and read, enjoying a cup of tea (or coffee, depending on my mood) – pure bliss. At other times I love to be active and enjoy running with my ‘Saturday Sisters.’
6. Chocolate – Yes you can eat it!!!
When you eat chocolate your brain releases those lovely endorphins again. No – you can’t just eat chocolate and not be active, but enjoying some chocolate is a lovely indulgence which can add to your happiness.
7. A Healthy Sex Life
Enjoying a loving relationship with a healthy sex life is important and will also get those endorphins going. Of course, I’m talking about quality not quantity and sometimes cuddling can be all you need. It is a matter of connecting with your partner.
8. Me Time
Most of us are juggling so many balls in life that we don’t have time for much - including happiness. I’ve spoken before about ‘Me Time’ (read my blog on 6 Steps to Finding the Right Balance in Your life’).
You really do need to set aside some time in your life for YOU. How do you know what makes you happy if you don’t have time to just sit and ponder?
Do you know there are ‘Laughter Groups’ where you can go and spend time laughing. I can’t force myself to laugh, but laughing until the tears stream from my eyes is a great feeling and can add to your happiness. Sometimes it can be the littlest, silliest thing that starts you off.
Laughing is infectious. How good does it feel to start laughing and then you start someone else laughing and you just keep going back and forth with laughter. What makes you laugh? Think about it and do more of it!
There is a great quote by Frederick Keonig “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recoginizing and appreciating what we do have.” It says it all really – appreciate what you have!
Happiness isn’t fulltime - You can’t be happy 100% all of the time. Life will always bring curve balls that need to be dealt with, but if you are feeling happy and content you will cope much better.
I’ve shared some of the things in my life that add to my happiness. Why not write a list of what adds happiness to your life. I’m sure there will be many things, perhaps you just don’t realise it until you see them written down.
Put them in a prominent place to remind yourself that life is not that bad for you and you do have reasons to be happy!
What makes you happy? Leave a comment at the end of this blog.