The pursuit of happiness is an endless one, yet it remains a journey many of us choose to walk. We see happy people around us- or people that appear happier than us, at least- and we want to be like them.
Now, as the old saying goes, the only person you can be is yourself, because everyone else is taken! So what you need to do to be happier within yourself is to make those changes yourself. Sure, family, friends and loved ones can help you. But it starts and ends with you.
Happy people have something in common. They have all adopted habits that help them to feel the way they do, and to exude the happy energy that they do. So, while you can’t transform yourself into them, you can adopt the same habits. Here are five habits of happy people that it is about time you adopted too.
Habit 1: Making the most of the time available to them
Are you constantly saying to others and to yourself ‘I don’t have time!’. Then it could be that you need to check yourself. Do you really not have time, or are you just not making the most of the hours that you do have? Do you complain that the weekend is always over too fast, but stay in bed until after midday on both days? Do you say that you don’t have time to go the gym before work, but wake up thirty minutes before you need to catch your train? Are you always eating out because you can’t find the time to cook, yet you spend three hours in front of the TV each night?
The examples of not managing your time well are endless. You might recognize yourself in the examples above, or you might be able to think of some of your own. However, if you aren’t using your time well, it’s time to acknowledge it. It’s then time to do something about it.
Happy people value just how precious time is, and they make the most of it. Why don’t you start waking up 60 minutes earlier each morning? That extra hour will give you time for a proper breakfast, or even a couple of errands or some exercise. If exercise is something you are wanting to find time for, how about your using your lunch break for it? It might be preferable to another boring conversation with that woman from HR who is always in the kitchen when you are!
In freeing up more time, and utilizing your time more effectively, you will become more productive. Helpful articles such as http://www.thealternativedaily.com/do-these-things-everyday-for-productivity/ take it one step further. They outline specific things you can do within your new found hours to make your life even more productive.
All of a sudden, just by doing the things above, you have a longer day. You have a more fulfilling and productive day, and in turn, will find yourself less stressed. What does less stress lead to? More happiness!
Habit 2: Taking breaks
Now, this point may seem like it goes against what is said above about making the most of your days and being productive. However, the key is balance. Happy people have the ability to balance hard work and breaks. This is because they know just how important it is to allow your batteries to recharge. Working hard is fantastic. It leads to career progression and perhaps even greater financial stability. It allows you to provide for your children and family, and to treat yourself. However, there is absolutely such a thing as working too hard! Ever heard of burning the candle at both ends? That is exactly what you are doing if you don’t take breaks. If you aren’t careful, you’ll eventually burn out entirely!
The breaks that happy people take can be put into three categories. Quick breaks, daily breaks, and extended breaks, if you will.
Quick breaks last about five or ten minutes. If you’re working at a computer each day, every hour get away from the screen. Make a coffee, stretch your legs, go and talk to that colleague instead of emailing them.
Daily breaks? The clue is in the name. You should be taking at least one of these a day. It can come at any time. End a stressful day of looking after the kids will half an hours meditation or Yoga. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57lGM-ksZyE is a thirty minute guided meditation video you could try out. Take a bath, instead of a shower, and light some candles. Turn off the TV and spend an hour devouring that book that you’ve ignored for the last few weeks.
Finally, extended breaks should be a day or more. You should have these as regularly as you need. For some of us, we only need a weekend off every few months. However, there is absolutely no shame in taking time out more often, or less often. The point is, take these extended breaks before you need them. They don’t have to be expensive, or luxurious. The point is that you get away from your current stresses and strains for an elongated period of time. Whether that’s a weekend at your parent’s house, or a week in Bali, get away! You’ll be so glad you did. http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/wellness/advice/a4283/14-ways-to-relax-93568/ has 14 suggestions of how you can spend a day relaxing.
Habit 3: Being kind to strangers
There are dozens of great stories out there about always being kind to strangers. Ever hear the story about the man who was rude to another man on the train? Who then turned up to his job interview and realized the man from the train was the interviewer? Ouch- you can almost feel the mortification!
It’s not just for potential future employment opportunities that mean you need to be kind, however. Have you ever met a truly mean and nasty person, and felt that unkindness radiating from them? Just think; after you walk away from them, they will still be that person. They will still be surrounded by that negativity. You don’t want to be that person. You want to be a person that exudes positivity and kindness. Give people that to walk away with instead.
Be kind to your boss; maybe they’re giving you a hard time because they’re having issues at home. Be kind that that waitress with the bad attitude; you don’t know what she is hiding to be at work. Be kind to strangers too. Read more about being kind to others- http://tinybuddha.com/blog/being-kind-to-others-is-being-kind-to-yourself/.
Habit 4: Living a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle encompasses multiple different facets. Happy people adopt positive habits in terms of their diet, their exercise routine, and their sleeping patterns. They keep hydrated because they know their body needs it. They use sun protection because they know their body will get damaged without it. They keep their dental and eye appointments? Why? Because they recognize that maintaining these things is key to these things being healthy and functioning in the future.
Mimic them and do the same for the same benefits. Ditch the car and start walking to work. Stop poisoning your body with sugars, fats, and chemicals that slow you down and blur your mind. Instead, pack your diet with superfoods. Articles like http://creativemagma.com/top-5-superfoods-for-a-healthy-lifestyle/ offers five superfoods that you help you out. Treat yourself to that big slice of chocolate cake occasionally, but no when to stop. Stop making those excuses mentioned in point one about why you never use your gym membership. Find a sport or activity that you look forward to doing, and don’t dread. If you thrive on company, do a spin class. If you like to be alone, take a solo bike ride. Pretty much every form of exercise can be adapted to better suit your personality and preference. There are some scientific ways to make exercise more fun here- http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/scientific-ways-make-working-out-fun.
Why does doing these things make you happy? Because it is an undeniable fact that if you are healthier, you are happier.
Habit 5: Knowing how to say no
Unhappiness often comes from doing too much, from spreading yourself too thinly. Rather than focusing all of your energy on a few key things, you do everything. A key reason for this is because you don’t say no enough.
It could well be that you have become the sort of person who everyone else will always ask something of because they know you’ll say yes. As a result, they are taking advantage of you. They are taking more from you than they should be, and you are feeling the strain.
Happy people know how to say no. They know when to tell their boss that no, they cannot take on another project, or train another intern. They know when to their kids no, they are not driving them to and from yet another friends house that evening. They know how to say no to the demands they make of themselves, also.
This is not to say that happy people and you should say no to everything. It’s about not being taken advantage of. It’s about maintaining balance. It’s about respecting yourself and your own time, and asking others to do the same. https://medium.com/@_scottish_/say-no-more-4f100a9d8099#.pmo5q7m16 is a great article on learning how to do this.