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How to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life

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How to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life

If happiness is free, how come people cannot find happiness?

I have invested the last 15 years of my life studying happiness and personal development. Today, I will share with you how to find happiness in your everyday life. Let me get started with some history…

What if I told you today that everything you know about happiness is wrong? What if I told you that your brain was not designed to be happy?

It all started about 200 thousand years ago, our ancestors lived in caves. Men would only leave the cave to hunt, and women would only leave to gather food. Men were called hunters, women were called gathers. Both genders had two goals for surviving and thriving. Happiness was not something that they cared about.

The only reason we survived and other creatures didn’t is our mind. Our biggest weapon was not a stone or a stick, it was our brain. We were not the biggest animal or the strongest, but we are the smartest. The mental ability that helped us survive has kept us unhappy and stressed for a long time.

We survived because our brains focus on the negative aspect of life. Scientists call this tendency “Negativity Bias”.[1] This negative bias allows us to pay attention to any signs of danger, and react. That is the reason most of us are afraid of the unknown and I’m convinced you can not be afraid and happy at the same time.

Our brains might have evolved, but it is still wired the same way, we care about survival and safety more than anything. Now, that you are aware of this negative bias, it will be easier for you to find happiness in your everyday life.

This article will talk about 10 scientific proven tips to find happiness in your everyday life:

1. Find Your Why

Forget about your goals, think about your purpose. Think about the underlying reasons you want to accomplish your goals.

The Classic author James Addison wrote about finding happiness, he said:[2]

“There are three grand essentials to happiness in life, something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

If you can find something that you love to do and can make a real impact doing it, that is your why.

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Simon Sinek popularized this term in 2009, in his book Find Your Why, he recounts this story. He once sat next to a man on a plane. Sinek asked this man one question: What do you do? The man responded that he has been living his dream for 20 years. Sinek was intrigued, so he asked more questions, the man responded, my company produces steel. How can steel make this man happy? The man clarified “we make products that are easy to recycle.”

This man found something to do: produce steel. Something to love, keep the environment clean. Something to hope for, creating a safe environment for the future generation. What do you love to do?

I love helping people create better lives by sharing tips, tools, and strategies to move their lives and businesses forward. That is my why. What is yours? You can find yours here: How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

2. Be Present

When you are driving a familiar route, your brain starts to daydream. It shifts its attention from driving to your internal thoughts, we call this mind-wandering. Have you experienced this?

Mind-wandering is a special human characteristic. It allows our brains to drift away from the task-at-hand to focus something else. It helps us to be more creative, but it hinders our ability to live and enjoy the moment.

Matt Killingsworth is a former Harvard researcher, he believes that people want a lot of things out of life, but they mainly want happiness.[3] He studied our brains, and he concluded that our wandering mind is responsible for our unhappiness. He believes that our wandering brains have more impact on our happiness than our income, education, gender, and marital status.

He conducted scientific research over multiple years, he asked people three questions:

  • How do you feel?
  • What are you doing?
  • Are you thinking about something other than what you are doing?

If people answered “yes” to the last question, their brains were not present at the moment and they were less happy. He concluded that being present and happiness are correlated.

It seems that being present is essential to our happiness. If you go to a concert, watch the concert through your eyes, and not through your camera lens. If you take a road trip, don’t worry about reaching your destination, enjoy the road. If you have dinner with your family, ask them questions, and listen to their answers. Be present.

Try these 34 Ways To Live in the Moment And Grow in the Moment.

3. Care, Connect, Create

Humans are social creatures, we like to be connected to other people and we like to take care of others. Surround yourself with people who care about you and you care about them. Connect with old friends. Make it a point to show your friends and family that you care about them and that you are grateful for their presence in your life.

Connect with your loved ones on a deeper level. My most important job in life is being a father, and taking care of my family. I make a conscious effort to have dinner with my family every day. I go out with my wife every Sunday. I coach my kids’ soccer teams, I attend their Karate practice, and I engage with them every day.

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I call or text my friends as much as possible. I check on my parents every day. I’m intentional about connecting with my family, friends and everyone I come in contact with.

Create something with your hands, build something. Dan Ariely is one of my favorite behavioral economists, he emphasizes the importance of using our hands to create things.[4] He believes that creating things with our hands leads to our happiness. He points out that IKEA understands this concept, and that is why they sell complicated furniture parts with vague instructions manual and ask customers to assemble them. The process is horrible, but the satisfaction that people get after they build their own furniture is enormous.

Build something with your hands, the joy that it brings to your heart is amazing. Connect with people that you care about, and create a life worth sharing. Start today.

4. Close Your Open Files

In their best-selling book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, Roy F.Baumeister and John Tierney estimate the average person has about 150 unfinished tasks that he or she thinks about all day long.

I have about 3 unfinished tasks that I’m thinking about right now, leaking faucet, fixing my AC, and adding more products to my website. These tasks are called open loops, and the more open files you have, the less happy you are.

You need to close most of the open files in your head, the easiest way to do that is brain dump or what I call “drain the pain”.

Write all of your unfinished tasks down. This tactic will trick your brain because your brain feels better when you write your tasks down. It tricks your brain to think that you did something about it.

5. Celebrate Every Victory

Football players celebrate every down, every tackle, and every touchdown. They do not pay attention to the score, they celebrate everything.

Adopt this mindset, celebrate every time you complete a task. If you answer an email, stop and celebrate for a moment. If you have a difficult conversation with your coworker, enjoy your accomplishment.

Dr. Rick Hanson advises people to savor positive experiences.[5] He encourages people to celebrate after any accomplishment. This practice will train your brain to move from a positive state to a positive trait.

What did you celebrate today?

6. Exercise

Exercise increases endorphins reduces cortisol and adrenaline in our body. It is also a proven remedy for depression and anxiety.

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According to the New York Times, small amounts of exercise have a big impact on our happiness.[6] People who work out at least once a week are more cheerful than those who do not exercise.

Tony Robbins believes that motion creates emotion. If you do not like how you feel, go to the gym, walk outside, or practice yoga. The benefit of 12 minutes of exercise can last up to 12 hours.

If you hate exercise, this article will change your mind.

7. Sleep

According to the American Psychological Association, more sleep would make you happier, healthier and safer.[7] From my experience, I can assure you that a tired person is not a happy person.

You need to sleep to function. Sleep is very important to your overall sense of happiness and wellbeing. Lack of sleep slows your reaction time, impairs your memory, reduces your happiness. It also weakens your immune system and slows your critical thinking.

If you want to be happy, pay attention to your sleep quantity and quality.

Sleep is critical to your happiness, do not sacrifice sleep to watch another episode on Netflix.

8. Declutter Your Life

Declutter your space and your life, clutter leads to stress.

Get rid of anything that you have not used in 18 months. Do not let physical objects occupy an emotional space in your life. let it go. To get yourself started, start by recycling three items from your wardrobe today.

Mike Hanski talked about the importance of decluttering:

“Clean homes and organized spaces are proven to reduce stress, improve happiness, and even improve your eating and exercise habits.”

Keep your environment clean and gain more happiness.

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Decluttering is not about getting rid of stuff, it’s about getting control of your life. Ask what is the purpose of everything you have? What value does it provide? Can you digitize it? Whom would it hurt if you get rid of it?

Here’s How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide).

9. Eat Chocolate

A study in 1996 showed that chocolate causes our brains to release endorphins making us happier.[8] Chocolate has phenylethylamine, it is considered a natural antidepressant, Tryptophan which produces a feeling of happiness, and caffeine that is well known as a wake-up drug.

There is another study that was published by the National Library of Medicine proved that eating chocolate improves our health and improves our mood.[9]

I eat chocolate daily, and I enjoy the taste and the benefit of my habit. Go to the closest store, get some dark chocolate and enjoy it.

10. Sing and Dance

In 2013, Pharrell Williams released a song that has been heard more than one billion times around the world. What is the name of the song? Happy.

Happy spread across the world like a virus that can not be stopped. It invited listeners to either clap their hands or move their bodies. Pharrell Williams understood people a deep desire to be happy, so he repeated the word “happy” 57 times in less than four minutes.

If you doubt the power of music on your mood, think again. I challenge you to listen to this song and not to be happy. The power of this song is its simple lyrics, in fact, the first words that Williams said were “It might seem crazy what I’m about to say.”

Do not take music for granted, great songs move us. It forces our body to vibrate and experience the moment.

If you want to find happiness in everyday life, follow these steps and I guarantee you that you will be happier by the end of the week.

More About Finding Happiness

Featured photo credit: Preslie Hirsch via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Luay Rahil

Luay Rahil is a speaker, and the Founder of Lead with Integrity.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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