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How to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life

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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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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