10 ways to live a happier life, sounds simple enough, right? One thing that life has reminded me (rather harshly) recently is that life is short. I was forced to realize that life is too short to be anything but happy. Happiness is at the top of the list for most people. However, for many that search for happiness can seem never-ending.
“When I get that new car, new job, new house,etc…then I know I will be happy.”
That isn’t how happiness works. My Dad passed away just 2 weeks ago, and I realize you can’t live your life waiting for the future to happen. More often than not, it is the simple, small moments in life that bring you happiness, and not the huge, grandiose moments. Minus the birth of your children, wedding day, etc…there are exceptions. So what makes me happy?
10 Ways to Live A Happier Life
1. Focus on the positive.
You are your thoughts. If you only feed your brain negatively you will breed negativity. I try to spend 2-3 minutes a day, at least once a day, looking for positives in my life. It is a great reminder that I have so much to be thankful for.
Be aware of the type of people you surround yourself with. Spend less time with negative people and more time with positive people. You will be amazed at the difference in your mindset. If you are surrounded by negative people, it is easy to allow negativity to control your thoughts and mind. The people you surround yourself with should motivate, inspire and respect you.
More ideas on how to focus on the positive:
- Read something positive each day.
- Connect with at least one close friend each day.
- Keep a gratitude journal
2. Celebrate little victories.
Life can be full of many moments where you feel like you failed. However, woven into those moments of defeat are many little victories. I have learned the extreme importance of celebrating these little victories.
We do this with our children when they get a star at school or clean their rooms without us asking. We celebrate these little moments because we realize they are HUGE victories for our children. So why not celebrate our small wins? Take time to appreciate the days you complete your to-do list or completed a task you have been putting off for months. These small victories add up over time.
3. Do what you love. Find a work-life balance.
Make time for what you love. I can’t stress enough how much better I started to feel when I turned back to my love of writing last August. It is an amazing creative outlet for me. Your heart will be filled with joy when you take the time to do what you love.
This leads me to my next important point. Work tends to take up a lot of hours in our day. It shouldn’t be the only thing that we do. Find time to do what you love to help you find a healthy work-life balance. Find a hobby. Spend more time with family and friends. Creating a work-life balance will help you to reduce stress and give you creative outlets that allow you to stay centered and focused on what really matters.
4. Help and share with others.
I believe that true happiness comes from helping others and expecting nothing in return. The impact we can make on others feels fulfilling and is a good source to tap into for our own happiness. Be generous with your talents, time, ability, and money. Give back. Share with your time and talents with others.
5. Be thankful and show gratitude to yourself and others.
You won’t always be where you want to be in life or have what you want all the time. Remember that there are others out there that might never have what you have, even in these moments where you don’t feel like you have enough. I also try to remind myself that I prayed for what I have now, even on the day it seems too tough. You are in control of how you look at yourself and life, in general. Show gratitude for yourself and it will be easier to show gratitude for others.
6. Build meaningful relationships.
It is important to keep the connections with your fellow adults strong and to build meaningful relationships. Try to make date nights a must with your spouse. Maybe once or twice a month? Coffee dates with friends and girl weekend shopping days. I know one thing that has really helped me with my sanity is playdates. I meet up with a few friends and their kids and we eat and let the kids play. The kids get to run off some energy and I get to have an ADULT CONVERSATION!! I know there are days where I don’t get to have an actual conversation with another adult.
Happiness, love, friendship, and community go hand in hand. Without meaningful relationships in our lives, we can feel isolated and extremely lonely, which isn’t going to lead to happiness. Take the time to build meaningful, sincere relationships.
7. Practice self-care.
This one is huge and can be so difficult for some people, especially moms. As a mom, I often put my needs on hold. I don’t regret that. I would do anything for my family. However, last year I came to a harsh realization. Because I hadn’t been taking the time to take care of myself, my anxiety reached an extremely unhealthy level. You have to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your family. You can read my post about self-care tips for moms here.
Prayer, meditation, and journaling are so important in my daily life. This goes hand in hand with self-care for me. Do whatever keeps you centered and focused on the importance of life.
8. Smile. Forgive. Let go.
Love yourself enough to do something every day that makes you smile. A happy person tends to love themselves more than an unhappy person. If you love yourself, you want to be happy. You know that you deserve happiness. This doesn’t have to be a huge task. In fact, it can be really small as long as it makes you smile. For example, I look forward to my coffee every morning. It makes me smile. I treat myself by buying flavored coffee and flavored creamer. I have my own coffee bar and it makes me smile (and it is cheaper than Starbucks!) So added bonus, it makes my husband smile too! Hahaha! Find something that makes you smile and do it every day!
You can not truly be happy until you learn to forgive yourself and others. We aren’t perfect and we make mistakes. We make bad choices, but that doesn’t make us bad. The past is over, don’t let it continue to affect your future. Let go and move on, this will be the start of loving yourself and being truly happy.
9. Accept imperfection.
A lot of times, our idea of perfect or our idea of happiness can get in the way of loving ourselves and finding true happiness. Once you realize that you need to process your life with what is, and not with what you think life should be your day to day life will become much easier. Life might not be what you had planned, but you are alive. Accept the truth and it will be much easier for you to work towards the possible.
10. Create and live in the moment.
Be creative. Find different ways to use your imagination. Studies show that engaging in creative activities on a regular basis actually makes you happier. Focus on the moment, where you are right now. Don’t stay stuck in the past or the thoughts of your future. Enjoy every moment.
In conclusion, we hold the power of our own happiness. Our happiness is determined by all the little choices we make each day and in the way that we choose to talk to ourselves. Talk sweetly to yourself. Whatever you think is what you will be. Do you believe you are a good person? Do you believe you are worthy? Tell yourself these things and I promise you that it will make you feel so much better. On a personal note, my happiness comes from knowing the Lord above has my back. Take a stand and realize that you are worth the time and you deserve to be happy.
Click here for 103 great ideas on how to live a happier life.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31