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When Size Doesn’t Matter! Value Happiness By Frequency Instead Of Intensity!

When Size Doesn’t Matter! Value Happiness By Frequency Instead Of Intensity!

How often do you scroll through your social media feeds, seeing people having fun at weddings, parties, and events and think…

“Why am I not having fun?”

“My life is so boring.”

“Everybody seems so much happier than me.”

Many of us are guilty of this kind of thinking.

In fact, it’s been found that up to 1 in 5 of us feel depressed as a result of using social media. [1]

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The reason we feel bad when we see other people having fun on social media is simple:

We value big milestones more than small moments of happiness.

Luckily, we can fix this by altering the way we think about happiness.

Read on to find out how.

Are you only happy when something ‘big’ happens?

What’s the most recent happy memory you can recall?

If you’re like most people, it’s probably a big event. Maybe it’s a birthday, a graduation ceremony, or a party.

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While it’s great to enjoy this kind of special occasion, it shouldn’t be your only source of happiness.

After all, why would you only allow yourself to have fun a few times a year, when you could be finding joy in small moments every single day?

We’re here to tell you how you can start feeling happy every single day – not just on special occasions!

Happiness begins with a generous spread of gratitude

Happiness doesn’t have to be about the intensity of a positive experience – it can about the frequency of positive experiences instead.

In order to feel like we’re having lots of happy moments, we need to be constantly on the look out for them.

Keeping a gratitude journal can really help with this.

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Buy a new notebook, and keep it beside your bed. Before you go to sleep, take the time to list five things you’re grateful for.

Here’s an example:

1. I’m grateful for eating a delicious breakfast.

2. I’m grateful for spending time in nature.

3. I’m grateful for seeing a friend.

4. I’m grateful for drinking a warm cup of tea.

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5. I’m grateful for buying a new T-shirt.

As you can see, you don’t need to have reached any huge milestones to write in your gratitude journal.

Instead, you’ll learn to focus on the many good things that happen every day – the things we often ignore or take for granted.

Keeping a gratitude journal has been shown to: [2]

  • Boost happiness
  • Make you healthier
  • Help you sleep better
  • Increase empathy
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Make you mentally stronger

Don’t look far for happiness. It’s right next to us.

As well as keeping a gratitude journal, there are a few tricks that will help you to focus more on the positive things in your life.

Here are ten suggestions to get you started.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. They’ll help you to appreciate all the good in the world, and won’t drag you down with negativity.
  2. Create positive affirmations based on what you like about your life. Write them down or repeat them in front of the mirror each day. For example, “I have a great life.” “I love my job.”
  3. Be mindful. Try to bring your full awareness to everything you do. For example, breathe deeply and close your eyes when drinking a cup of coffee, appreciating the full experience.
  4. Spend less time on social media. Stop comparing yourself to others and start enjoying your own life.
  5. Take photos of small happy moments. Had a great donut from the shop near your house? Take a photo, and double your happiness by looking back and remembering the experience.
  6. Write about small happy moments. This is another great way to savour a good experience. Write down every small detail, focusing on all five senses.
  7. Decide to be positive. How you view situations is up to you. Try to reframe negatives. Instead of thinking, “I hate the commute to work,” try thinking, “I’m so glad public transport exists, and I don’t have to trek miles.”
  8. Plan treats for yourself. Don’t wait for special occasions to make you happy – create your own. Plan a fun day in the city, or a trip to that museum you’ve always wanted to visit.
  9. Help others. Helping others is proven to boost your mood, and is a great way to double the happiness you bring into the world.
  10. Set gratitude reminders. Set an alarm on your phone, and remind yourself to be grateful for something every time it goes off – even if you’re stuck in a boring meeting, or queueing at the grocery store.

Happiness isn’t just about big events and milestones.

Take the time to feel happy about small things every single day, and you’ll be healthier, happier, and mentally stronger.

Reference

More by this author

Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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