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11 Things You Don’t Need to Give Up to be Extraordinarily Happy

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11 Things You Don’t Need to Give Up to be Extraordinarily Happy

Feeling depressed or less-than-happy in life for extended periods of time often makes us think that we need to make a change. And that’s true.

You probably do need to change one or more things about your current outlook or perspective on life to be happier. But you don’t need to give up every part of your routine in order to be happy.

Here are 11 things you can cross off your things-to-give-up-to-be-happier list:

1. Your job

yourjob

    While you may think that storming out of your office with a big “F you!” to your boss is a blissful dream that will surely lead to a happier life, you’d be mistaken. Try changing your perspective about your job instead.

    There are so many people out there right now who are desperate for work, without the opportunities to put their skills to use. Be grateful that you have a way to earn income and, if you really hate your job, look for a new one like the super adult you are.

    2. Your bills

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    Balancing The Account By Hand

      I know you can’t realistically just give up your bills, but I’m putting this in my list anyway because you need to stop wishing you could.

      You can’t really live in the modern world without paying bills, and that’s just the way it is. Come to terms with that and move on. You’ll be happier every day if you stop dwelling on the aspects of life you can’t control.

      3. Video games

      video games

        I am a firm believer in video games as a constructive hobby. Whether you’re playing the latest COD MOD or scoring mad points on Peggle, video gaming is a great way to relieve stress, escape the pressures of reality, and exercise your fine motor skills.

        4. Caffeine

        caffeine

          Unless caffeine gives you the shakes or causes you to break out in hives, don’t stop drinking it although even if you do get hives–what are a couple of bumps, right?). Studies show that drinking caffeine (and, specifically, coffee) can make you less stressed, boost your antioxidant levels, and even help you live longer.

          5. Lazy time

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          lazytime

            Being happy doesn’t mean that you need to give up your time-to-do-whatever time. Having a few hours of unplanned free time each week is a great way to unwind and let yourself go wherever the wind blows. Plus, knowing that you have free time to do whatever you want can make the daily tasks you have to do feel much more manageable.

            6. Netflix

            Netflix

              Some would say that marathoning your way through the first three seasons of Dexter on a weekend is a sure way to leave yourself feeling unproductive, depressed and lonely. I disagree.

              A good Netflix marathon can be a great way to relax and unwind. If you must feel like you’re doing something productive, though, watching one of the many informative documentaries Netflix has to offer is a good compromise.

              7. Sleep

              sleep

                Do not give up your sleep if you want to feel happier. Some people get so caught up in making time for hobbies, work, and their families that they routinely sacrifice their 8 hours a night. Don’t do that!

                Studies show that people who get less than 8 hours of sleep regularly are more prone to mood disorders like depression, have worse cardiovascular health, and are more stressed and anxious than people who consistently get a regular amount of sleep.

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                8. Your friends

                yourfriends

                  You certainly don’t need to give up time with your friends to be happier. Quite the opposite. The people close to you are those who truly make life worth living, so don’t neglect them.

                  You might not be able to hang out with your girls (or guys) every weekend, but a couple dinner dates or game nights a month should be enough to keep good friends close by and to keep your happiness levels at their max.

                  9. Your spouse

                  yourspouse

                    Assuming you and your spouse are in a healthy relationship, there’s no reason why giving up your romantic time together should make you happier. Neglecting “us time” in favor of work or a busy schedule is no excuse.

                    If you really care about the person you are seeing/dating/married to, you need to learn how to make time for them. You’ll both be a lot happier for it.

                    10. Your planner

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                    yourplanner

                      You don’t need to become a flower-child who lives in the woods in order live a stress-free and happy life. Of course, if you think that’s the best option for you I’d encourage you to try it out anyway. You can be a modern, functioning adult with your planner, calendar and phone alarms without being miserably overwhelmed by it all.

                      If you need to write something down to feel less stressed about it, fine. But let it go after that.

                      11. Your inner child

                      innerchild

                        Take some time to reconnect with who you are at heart. Make cheesy jokes, eat cake now and then, and stop caring so much about what other people think of you. What would your 10-year-old self say if he or she saw you now? Would you think you’re no fun and boring?

                        Doing things that your younger self would approve of is almost always a surefire way to feel happier, more alive, and just more like you. So act like a kid from time to time!

                        I hope you’re already feeling happier after reading this post! I’d love to hear what other things you don’t think you need to give up in order to be happy, so tell me in the comments section below!

                        Featured photo credit: charlie’s angels – Stranger #7/Terence S. Jones via flickr.com

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                        Kayla Matthews

                        Productivity and self-improvement blogger

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                        Last Updated on November 18, 2021

                        10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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                        10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

                        We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

                        A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

                        So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

                        • honest
                        • reliable
                        • competent
                        • kind and compassionate
                        • capable of taking the blame
                        • able to persevere
                        • modest and humble
                        • pacific and can control anger.

                        The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

                        1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

                        All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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                        But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

                        2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

                        How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

                        I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

                        “The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

                        Abigail Van Buren

                        3. How does this person take the blame?

                        Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

                        4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

                        You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

                        5. Read their emails.

                        Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

                        • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
                        • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
                        • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
                        • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
                        • Too many question marks can show anger
                        • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

                        6. Watch out for the show offs.

                        Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

                        7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

                        A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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                        Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

                        8. Their empathy score is high.

                        Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

                        People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

                        9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

                        We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

                        “One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

                        Stendhal

                         10. Avoid toxic people.

                        These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

                        • Envy or jealousy
                        • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
                        • Complaining about their own lack of success
                        • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
                        • Obsession with themselves and their problems

                        Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

                        Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

                        Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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