Happiness is something that we all seek. Every goal we set, every achievement we pursue, every relationship we engage in, and every journey we embark on is really just an attempt to feel happiness.
All of us seek happiness, and it comes in various forms. However, our habits have a major impact on whether or not we experience happiness. This article will list 10 “Happiness Habits” that, if consistently practiced, will create a measurable difference in our lives.
1. Align Our Goals With What We Really Value
Quickly ask yourself these questions: Are my goals authentic? Why do I want to achieve [insert goal]? Do I truly value what I am pursuing?
If our core values are not properly aligned with our goals and daily actions, there will be inner conflict. It is difficult to sustain happiness with a perpetual sense of inner conflict. Our goals and actions need to be aligned with what we uniquely value as individuals. So if they aren’t aligned, we need to make a change today. Either set a new goal that is aligned with something we uniquely value, or stop pursuing something that has little intrinsic meaning.
2. Visualize The Absolute Best Case Scenario
It is natural for us to envision “what could possibly go wrong” in a given situation. In many cases this actually isn’t a bad thing. It allows us to make peace with the “worst case scenario” and plan appropriately. However, it doesn’t get us excited. So if we feel so inclined to prepare for the worst, we should also have the habit of “seeing the best” as well. When we see the best, it gets us excited, and it provides us with a sense of hope, confidence and creativity.
3. Give Our Very Best In Everything We Do
Inner conflicts are often at the heart of unhappiness. A great way to create an inner conflict is to give a half-hearted effort in what we are pursuing. We can’t always control our immediate circumstances. Things happen to us that are outside of our control, but we can control how we react to situations. We can control our actions, and we can control our attitude‒no matter what happens to us. When we live each moment of our life with a sense that we are always giving our best, we will feel at peace. We won’t have regrets, and no matter what happens to us we will hold our heads up high knowing that we did our best. This makes us happy.
4. Move Towards What Scares Us
Fear stops us from fulfillment. It also inhibits happiness. When we move towards what scares us, we achieve a powerful personal victory. It is the victory of the self over the self. When we achieve this victory we feel fulfilled, and we feel happy. Moving towards our fear also increases our complexity as individuals, and causes us to learn. Both of these are results that make us feel good. A habit of moving towards fear should be done in small, measurable steps. Are you afraid of public speaking? Don’t sign up for a TED talk quite yet (perhaps that will come later). Start first with a small venue. Expand your comfort zone a small step at a time. Over time (as this becomes a habit) you will be amazed at your growth, and one day when you stand on that TED stage, it will seem surreal, but you only get there one step at a time. One victory over fear at a time.
5. Be Present. Live For Today
Living in the past can sometimes be nostalgic (and memorable), but it can also be painful and depressing. It is so easy to recall past mistakes and missteps. It is so easy to dwell on failures and the things that we “should have done.” Living for the future can sometimes be exciting (if we are proficient at visualizing a compelling future), but it can also make us anxious (and scared) when we start to think about all the things we must do to make that future a reality. The solution to the dangers of past and future living is to live completely in the present. The present is all that we have anyway. When we live in the present, we experience flow. We do better work. We eliminate anxiety and we thwart fear.
6. Learn Something New
If we believe that learning leads to happiness, then we have an unlimited opportunity for an exciting and fulfilling life. There are literally limitless opportunities to learn. You can learn a new skill or a new language. You can learn strategies and tools that will help you to cultivate your existing talents and abilities. You can expand your knowledge of the world, and other cultures. You can live your entire life, immersed in learning related activities, and still never know it all. The reality is that learning does make us happy. It gives us confidence. You don’t need to go back to school to learn (although that can be fulfilling as well), just go to your preferred search engine, type some keywords of things that you’d like to learn and start reading. Build on what you know every day.
7. Exercise and Eat Healthy Foods
The better we eat, the better we’ll feel. The more we move, the better we’ll feel. This habit is also one that will create immediate results. Sometimes, when we are in a bad mood, or perhaps we’ve had a bad day at work, the solution is a simple one: get to the gym, go for a walk or run, get on the bike, or go for a swim. Whatever our preferred method is, the results are the same. We feel better after we exercise.
8. Detach From The Opinions of Others
Relationships bring meaning, purpose and richness to our lives. They also can be a significant source of pain and frustration if we become fixated on the opinions of others. The reality is that not everyone is going to like us. Sometimes, just by being ourselves, we unintentionally push people away, and if we try to change this (by being someone who we aren’t) we unintentionally push others away (who like our authentic version better). There is only one of us, and that is the person who we need to be 100% of the time‒the real, authentic self‒and if it means that not everyone likes us, so be it. We will be much happier over time if we live as who we really are, and detach from the opinions of others.
9. Detach From Results. Focus Only On Actions
This is a difficult one, but if we master it, it will change our lives. We pursue goals because we want a result, and there is nothing wrong with this. All of us do it. However, if we become completely fixated on the result, and fail to achieve it, then we may look at the endeavor as “wasted time.” We also may be so disappointed in not obtaining the result that we won’t see all of the growth that we experienced. Some people feel that the saying “the journey is the destination” is simply a cliche, but if we truly live it, it is far more. When detaching from results‒and focusing only on our actions, on being present at each moment, and on giving the very best that we have‒becomes a habit, we have great possibilities for happiness.
10. Live Life As A Great Experiment
When we are kids, anything is possible. Life is one giant experiment and we are the great scientists. There are no failures. There is only feedback. We are willing to experiment and try just about anything that interests us. There are no limits. Unfortunately, for many of us, this enthusiasm, and willingness to experiment, fades with age. We get risk-adverse. We start worrying about failure, especially if that failure is visible (and could lead to criticism). We start doubting what is possible. We believe that we are being “practical” and “pragmatic” and we hypnotize ourselves to think that this is the grown-up way to act. However, it often doesn’t make us happy, and we’d be happier if we just retained the curiosity we had as a child. If we can capture the child-like innocence of treating life like a giant experiment, and we are the amateur scientists, then the world will remain a wonderful mystery, and we will constantly feel intrigued and happy.