Are you lacking happiness in your life?
Do you have some good in your life, but can't seem to stop thinking about what you don't have or what is missing?
Is the thought that "there must be more to life" something that sits with you each day?
We often have the view that unhappy people are those that are stuck, not motivated, without goals and sit lifelessly around all day wondering what they should do with their lives.
Yes, there is a subset of people like this and they are typically unhappy.
However, there are an even larger number of highly functioning, motivated, goal driven and otherwise driven people who are equally (or sometimes even MORE) unhappy in their life constantly feeling as if they are missing something.
Indeed, most of what we learn and have fed to us through advertising, news, etc…is that we should NOT be satisfied or happy with what we have but always be striving for more.
But how can you ever be happy if you MUST be unhappy with what you have so that you can strive for more?
It is possible to be driven AND to balance that drive with happiness, here are 5-ways that will help.
1. Happiness Is Based On Your Beliefs And Thoughts
For most people, their level of happiness is blamed on external events. They dislike their job, their boss is an idiot, they have gone through failed relationships, a good friend has treated them poorly, etc… These are all reasons to feel unhappy in their thinking. The reality though is that you can find people who have been through Hell and back who manage to focus on the one or two good things in their life and become amazingly happy just as you can find people who have it all that live in a near constant state of anxiety and unhappiness. How does that happen? Clearly, happiness is not a factor of external events, but rather our beliefs and resulting thoughts about the life in which we live. This is good news since we control the ability to change. Start by analyzing your beliefs about what you have and what you want in life. Balance the desire for more with the realization that you have so much to be grateful for right now and your happiness level will increase. Make sure you give up the dependence on assuming external events rule your happiness, that playing the role of the victim in life gives you long term satisfaction…instead take control and make yourself happy starting today.
2. Think Less, Act More…
While I'm all for thinking through life plans, goals, and how to react to challenges, most of us overthink choosing to create complex, negative scenarios in our minds over what MAY happen without ever taking any substantive action toward our goals. So, if you are paralyzed by inaction, challenge yourself to limit your thinking or planning to 60s (1-minute) for anything you want to tackle and then take action. This will prevent you from lamenting over missed opportunities and put you right back into the thick of the action where real progress can be made and a sense of satisfaction and happiness can be realized each day
3. Time To Focus On What You DO Have
Admit it, we spend the vast majority of our day (for most people it is somewhere like 90%) thinking about what we don't have, what we wish we had, how we can get what we don't have and how bad things are because we aren't where we want to be. We wished for a better job, a promotion, to start our own business, to have better friends, to have better health, to look better, etc… It is no wonder we put ourselves in such unhappy states, how can we possibly be happy when we constantly make ourselves that way. So, starting today, set aside time where you consciously think, write out and visualize what you DO have (great kids, a job that today pays the bills but tomorrow will qualify you for something even better, love of your family (even if they don't always show it), your own character and ability to stand-up to challenges…
If you lack positives to be proud and happy of in your life, go ahead and put yourself into the future when you DO have one or more of these things. Even focusing on future conquests as if you have already achieved them is better for your happiness than focusing on what you don't have.
Recognizing that your mind is operating in a positive mode versus a negative mode is a big part of learning to be more happy in life on a day-by-day basis.
4. Learn To Love The Little Things
I have noticed a massive difference between generations that have come before us (my Great Grandmother for example) and how they were able to enjoy something as simple as a warm, sunny day or a vegetable from the garden, a walk in nature, the sounds of birds singing, a cool breeze sitting on the front porch on a warm day. The focus on small pleasures combine to result in immense happiness in the lives of those who are truly happy in life. Instead, if your focus is on BIG goals that only are realized once in a long while, day-by-day you have set yourself up to be unhappy.
5. Get Back To Learning And Creativity
There are two things in my life that have led to incredible happiness (no matter what else was going on around me) – my music (I'm not a professional musician, just someone who gets huge pleasure from playing it, my son is the same with art) and when I'm learning (reading, watching videos, experimenting, talking with someone who knows more than I do, etc…). When you are learning and when you are using your creativity (I'm a firm believer that we all have a passion for some creative endeavor whether it be art, writing, music, dance, sports, design, etc…there is something that will make you incredibly happy) Make sure you don't ignore these wonderful automatic happiness activities…the more you are able to build priority for these into your day, the more happiness in life you will experience.
Your Happiness, Your Turn
Decide today that it is your turn to be happy. Starting today, you will change some basic habits about what you believe, where you place your focus, how your thoughts are formed daily and how much action you take and you can turn your unhappy life into a happy one no matter what is going on around you. Are you up to the challenge?