In pursuit of happiness - Living a happier life
We often hear happiness is a choice and do things that make you happy but how does one live a happier life? How do we achieve happiness? Happiness is defined in a different way within each one of us. It is highly influenced by our family, cultural upbringing and our environment. But if we had a rule book that said do one, two and three and viola there you are ‘YOU ARE HAPPY’, I am sure most of us would follow, but the state of being happy is more of an internal process and often succumbed by our emotions.
“In pursuit” requires you to do something, to achieve this ideal state of existence, to be happy. It requires action and this in turn leads to consequences. Setting up certain actions can help you and lead you in the right direction. It is all about being mindful of activity and focusing in on concrete daily actions. Remember happiness is a journey, so enjoy the ride.
My daily reminders to boost happiness:
Set the mood for the day
Mentally prepare yourself. Choose to be a vessel of positivity and accept the positivity of others. We are emotional beings and we do affect each other. We exert influence on each other and the act of providing good positive energy is a conscious behaviour. As we seek to intentionally better ourselves, we in turn are building better relationships with others. It has a flow effect. Studies suggest that if we deliberately focus our attention on positive things in life, we feel happier, more optimistic and more hopeful. We can rewire our brains to boost our happiness level and create a happier environment.
Tackle the day & make the most of each day
Create that list and set up tasks of things to do. Checklists train your brain to be more productive and goal orientated. By doing this and accomplishing these set tasks creates not only a pleasurable and satisfying effect but we are more motivated to tackle tasks that we have put to the side. Having a release of dopamine, can motivate you to do tasks that are of a challenge, or require more effort. As the reward becomes greater, the satisfaction is intensified.
You may have heard this saying “Discipline is my freedom”. A strong statement echoed by Jocko Willink, a retired United States Navy officer who served in the Navy SEALs. In his book “Extreme Ownership” he sets connection between discipline and freedom, and some of the mental and physical disciplines he practices. He speaks on structured days and first point of call, “No one wants to hear this but waking up early sets the tone and pattern of discipline for the rest of the day”. This I’m yet to conquer 😊 I like my beauty sleep 😊
Doing something physical each day gears you into the right direction of looking after your body and when done in the morning, releases endorphins to get you going throughout the day. Exercise improves your muscle strength, your mood, energy levels, your brain power, and can even improve the way you see yourself. Exercise for health and not for weight loss. The physiological impacts far outweigh the time factor. So, no excuses that you are time poor!
Let it go
Letting go is not about escaping or submitting, but working out what is important to you. To want better things, a happier version of you requires conscious effort. Remember you are valuable and you are going to make mistakes, have bad days and sad days. Let it go!
Identify what your values are and recognise your character strengths and accept your weaknesses too. Identify the same in others that you associate with. No one is perfect and we are all going to make mistakes. Don’t be so hard on yourself or on others. Let it go!
If your priorities or values are far too opposite to those you surround yourself with, then it’s time to let it go! Often we hold onto things that are not good for us.
Break away and release yourself from people’s opinions and expectations, can lead us to live a much happier life.
The act of giving
Giving makes you happy. There are many ways to give without even spending a cent! Give a compliment, give a smile, give that helping hand. In giving you are kind. We have a lot to give. Do something for somebody else.
Professor of Psychology, and author of the book, Flourish 2011, Martin Seligman, measures well-being with the engagement of relationships in your life. He states that happiness alone doesn’t give life meaning, but what allows you to “flourish” is the giving, the nourishing of our unique strengths in contributing to the happiness of our fellow humans.
Martin Seligman explains that helping others can improve our own lives. Evidence shows that doing an act of kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being.
Further readings & Key insights:
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being
by Martin E.P. Seligman (Author)
Authentic Happiness vs Well-Being Theory
Martin Seligman & Positive Psychology: Theory and Practice (pursuit-of-happiness.org)
https://youtu.be/iK6K_N2qe9Y Seligman’s video