9 Ways to be Happier
These tips will help you to be happier at work and happier with life. All it takes is some activity and honing your inner game: Whilst the focus of this article is your personal life, personal happiness is a major contributor to business success.
- Get moving. Exercise is one of the quickest ways to boost your happiness levels. You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym – try a swim, a brisk walk, dancing around the kitchen or embarking on some especially vigorous spring cleaning. Get your heart pumping and experience the endorphin release! Choose whatever exercise you enjoy, or experiment with something new.
- Get some sunshine (even if the sun isn’t shining). A surprisingly high number of Brits experience Seasonally Affected Disorder (SAD), whether they know it or not. The sun is a proven mood enhancer, so if you aren’t getting sufficient sunshine, then look elsewhere. Whether it’s SAD, or a little bit of the blues, try a sun lamp. These magic little happiness-boxes replicate the effects of the sun, without the carcinogenic risks. You’ll feel amazingly replenished after basking in the artificial glow.
- Eat well. ‘You are what you eat’ is surprisingly true. Comfort food – high in fat, sugar and unrefined carbs – deplete the body of its natural energy levels and can leave you feeling guilty and sluggish. Conversely, eating a diet rich in proteins, vegetables, fruit and nutrients will boost feelings of vitality and make you happier. Research shows a striking correlation between the health of the body and the mind, so nourish yourself and feel lighter – both physically and mentally.
- Brighten up. In the UK, we live in a world of grey skies, beige walls and dark clothes. Turn up the contrast in your life with some colour-therapy. Wear bright clothing, buy some bright flowers – go the whole hog and paint a wall in your house, or at work if that is appropriate! Yellow is an especially warming and happy colour: perhaps because of the connotations and associations it evokes, Whatever you believe in, the bottom line is that we are highly affected by our environments: so brighten up your surroundings and redecorate your mind!
- Make a Happy List. Identify all the positive things in your life, including great qualities you posses and strong relationships you have. Now write them down – i.e. ‘two beautiful children, my health, my ambition’. Continue the list, from the strikingly important to the seemingly trivial: ‘a lovely home, a partner who loves me, a new pair of stilettos’. The list doesn’t have to be in order, or even written well, as it is totally private. Now put the list somewhere safe – and get it out to read whenever you are low. Seeing your own handwriting will trigger feelings of gratitude and happiness when you remind yourself of all the positive things in your life.
- Pick your thoughts. People often forget just how much power they have over their emotions. We are all subject to numerous external forces but the biggest thing affecting our happiness is the way we think. We can’t control the world around us, but we can take charge of our minds and resist cyclical unhelpful thought patterns. Misery can be contagious and can lead into a downwards spiral of confusion and despair. I sometimes invite clients to experiment with an invisible force field “as per Starwars” to prevent taking on board others’ negativity.
- Obliterate obstacles. Most people have barriers that prevent them from being truly happy. Whether from the past – such as the breakdown of a marriage, or the loss of a business– there can be a tendency to think: ‘If only X was different, I could be happy.’ There is no value to be had in regrets. Whatever you have suffered, or are experiencing, simply be open to being happy from now onwards.
- Be jolly. Can you remember the last time you laughed so hard, it hurt? Whatever made you so uncontrollably happy – seek to find it again. Was it a person you love, a movie, a book? Open yourself up to their occurrence again. Simply smiling makes you happier, as does laughing. Moreover, a grin and a chuckle are highly infectious. So surround yourself with jolliness and let it permeate!
- Live. Do whatever has you feel invigorated. Sing, laugh, dance, kiss, run, cry: let go, embrace the moment and feel alive.
What makes you happy? How do you reconnect with happiness when you aren’t feeling happy. Share your thoughts.
This article was written by Karen Skehel