I’ve often thought about what makes a happy person. Is it money? Is it good looks? Is it just plain old good fortune? And do you know what? Its none of those things.
Life isn’t easy all of the time, but what is easy is changing your outlook. You have the power to make yourself a happy person, even if some days you just don’t feel like it.
But flapping around in the dark is no use, you need guidance for this kind of thing. An idea on how to make yourself happier.
So, I’ve had a good think about things, and these are the 10 steps I have used to become a much happier person.
1. Let go of the past.
Stop looking back, you’re not heading that way! We’ve all heard it, time to start embracing it. Whatever may have happened, whether it be large or small, is behind you. Some things can’t be forgotten, but you can train yourself to stop thinking about it.
Next time you start thinking about something you didn’t like about your past make yourself think about something you are excited about for the future. You can train your brain this way to stop dwelling on negative past experiences.
2. Be present.
Don’t let moments pass you by, embrace them. Whatever is happening right this second is important and you should take part in the moment wholly and completely. Allow yourself to take part in whatever is happening around you.
Letting yourself enjoy the moment is a game changer. Being more involved in your present self stops you from thinking back, and from also thinking too far forward. It is important to have a plan but not everything needs to be work for a single minded goal. Let the moment take you where you should be.
3. Put a positive spin on everything.
Something really rubbish has happened, how easy is it to dwell on just how rubbish it is? Not any more. Look at what has happened from all angles and find a positive one.
A good example for this is at work. Us humans weren’t built to live the way we are living, but for most of us we have to do something we don’t actively enjoy to get by. Instead of focusing on how much you don’t enjoy it, focus on the aspects which you do enjoy. It could be as much as the people are really lovely, or as little as the coffee is strong. Take whatever you can from every situation and put a positive light on it.
Your brain will soon become trained to looking at things positively, and it will become second nature.
4. Get out into nature as much as possible.
If you’re like me going to a country park is one of my favourite ways to spend a sunny weekend. But even if you wouldn’t consider yourself outdoorsy, just try it.
Leave the confines of your house and take a walk to a local park. Sit in your garden and read a book. Plan a weekend escape to a local camping ground. You need to reconnect with nature, even if you don’t think this is something which applies to you.
I wrote another post recently Why you need a no screen night which details why you need to unplug from social media, television etc. And also another post 10 things to do on a no screen evening with some ideas as to what to do on these evenings.
The proof really is in the pudding with this one. Getting away from technology as much as possible is great for your sense of well being. It also gives you time to focus on a hobby or spend more present time with loved ones.
6. Stop comparing yourself to other’s.
The rise of social media has made it all too easy to grab an insight into other people’s lives, and we automatically compare their lot to ours. Stop doing this. It isn’t productive, and normally people only post the very very best aspects of their lives on social media. It isn’t realistic.
Also, we grow as people at different rates. Have you ever heard the phrase “an old head on young shoulders”? Some people are naturally very good at life and succeed immediately. With other’s it can take a while. And that is great! If everyone was exactly the same life would be completely boring. Just because someone the same age as you has a fancy house or the latest car doesn’t mean you should have those things too. Focus on yourself, not on other people.
7. Stop caring what people think.
Oh, this is such a big one when it comes to happiness. How many times have you avoided doing something you would enjoy because you thought other people may look down on you or make fun of you for it? We’re all guilty of this, but it is time to stop.
Do you know what I really like doing? I love singing along to my music as loud as possible whilst driving in my car. I used to only do this at night for fear of someone pointing and laughing. Do you know what I do now? I don’t care! I’ll sing along, and no one has pointed and laughed yet.
Do what makes you happy and stop considering other people’s opinions when it comes to things you enjoy.
8. Leave yourself with time to be spontaneous.
My partner and I looked at our calendar recently and found we have so many different events and gatherings on that we don’t have a free weekend for some time to come. Which is nice, but on the flip side we also now have a really rigid structure to follow for the next few weeks. Which sucks.
Leave yourself some days to do exactly what you want to do at that exact moment. Look back up to number 2, be present and let your path flow where it wants to for the day. The day’s will feel so much more natural, and you then don’t have to do anything you’re not really looking forward to.
9. Learn when to say yes, and when to say no.
This is so important. Dependent on where you look you’re either told to say yes to everything, or say no to everything. But you need to learn how to accept offers and decline them in equal measure.
When it comes to saying yes, you need to decide whether it is something you actively want to do. And also whether it is something which will expand you as a person. Will you meet new people? Will you learn a new craft? Weigh these things up.
Likewise with saying no, is it something which will detract from your sense of well being? Will it put you into a situation which you would rather not be in? I’m not keen on partying or night clubs and so avoid those as much as possible. But you do have the power to decline any event you don’t want to go to.
10. Learn how to be alone.
Being alone is brilliant. I have a wonderful partner, lovely friends and amazing family. But I still ear mark time from each day where I will be alone and can do my own thing.
Your happiness is not dependent on somebody else, and it is empowering to realize this. Particularly with romance it can be all too easy to rely on other people for your happiness, but this is co-dependency and no one comes out of a relationship like that unscathed.
If you’re not used to being on your own, try it. And turn your phone off whilst you’re at it. You’re not completely alone if you are still contacting people.
True happiness is a difficult thing to achieve, I don’t think anyone ever is truly happy all of the time. And there is nothing wrong with that. But aiming for happiness is a brilliant thing and will change you as a person along the way. Let me know how you get on in the comments.