How much time do we spend wishing our lives were different? How much time do we spend doing things which are mundane or just okay? The answer to these questions for many of us is too much time. Many of us rarely set the time aside for ourselves to do things we love that move us forward, challenge us or inspire us. Some of us might attend a weekly class for our hobby and go on our yearly holidays, but what about all the time in between? Are we loving life? This updated article aims to explore how developing a love and appreciation for life can increase our happiness. We introduce three challenges to work on for a happier you.
Life is precious and most of us don’t know how many days we have to live it. We know we are here now. We have the choice how we live right now. We have the choice to love and to be happy. Each of us can only be responsible for our own happiness, our own mindset and our own actions. Happiness begins within each of us. When we stop looking for happiness and start taking responsibility for our own happiness, we can begin to feel happy.
Appreciating the small things
Most of our day consists of many short moments in time from getting up in the morning to going to bed. We may go to work or study or look after our children, we may spend time with friends, exercise, shop, do chores, watch television, the possibilities of what we do in a day are endless. We can increase our happiness by noticing the small simple, everyday moments that we may take for granted. We can increase our happiness when we appreciate these moments. Like a friendly neighbour saying hello, or a song we love coming on the radio, or feeling the warmth of the sun peaking behind a cloud. A moment can bring us happiness when we notice and appreciate it. When we are caught up in our own thinking or busy with our day, those simple moments of happiness pass us by. We can be happier by noticing and appreciating the simple moments.
Challenge 1 – write down three good things that you appreciate everyday. Keep a log book beside your bed and notice how it impacts on you over the next few months. Don’t expect it to make a difference overnight, this takes time and practice but the results can be surprising.
Not getting caught up in the small things
It is easy to get caught in the grind of work or find ourselves moaning about things we don’t even care much about. We might hear other people complaining and join in. We may get caught up in worrying about the future or regretting the past. Being negative can be infectious. It can make us feel down beat, tired and uninspired. Negativity can reduce our love for life and our happiness. When we are able to notice our negativity at the time, we are better able to reflect and question how helpful this negativity is for our happiness. We can challenge our negativity by choosing to change our mindset, our focus and our actions.
Challenge 2 – spend 5 minutes at midday to reflect if there have been moments in the day so far when you have been caught in negativity. Breathe and let go without judgement. Then focus on how you want to act for the rest of the day. Over the coming weeks try increasing the number of times you reflect in a day, noticing negativity and refocusing on how you would like to act and respond. Track your progress over several months and see how this impacts on how you feel.
Big Passion and Inspirational Moments
Many of us allow opportunities to pass us by or are waiting for opportunities to come to us. We might allow other people’s plans and passions to lead our life, while our dreams and aspirations are lost in the everyday happenings. We may not even be aware of our passions or aspirations. We may be living our dreams but not appreciating them. We may be working in a job that we were inspired to go for but are no longer feeling that sense of inspiration. We may have achieved many of our life goals but are no longer feeling that excitement from achieving them. We may need to reassess what our passions and dreams are. We may need to spend time incorporating our passions into our life.
Challenge 3 – Questions for Passion and Inspirational Moments. Ask yourself if you are inspired in the different areas of your life such as:
Diet, fitness, health, hobbies, career, holidays, leisure time, family, friends.
- How can you be inspired in these areas?
- What activities/things make you happy?
- What inspires you?
- Who inspires you and why?
- What are your passions?
- What do you love in this world?
- Where are your favourite places?
- What things get you excited?
- What or who do you care most about?
- What can you not live without?
Life is mostly filled with the simple moments that can bring us happiness when we notice and appreciate them throughout our day. Noticing when we are caught in negativity can help us let go of what is not serving us and instead focus on what is valuable to us. The big inspirational moments are important as they help to drive us forward, bring excitement, passion and keep us dreaming. These moments need planning. It is important for us to stop and reflect in our busy lives to make the time for us to love life and increase our happiness.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this updated article first published in February 2018. For more information on how to increase your happiness, please see other posts in this series:
If you would like to work with a Coaching Therapist for a happier you, please get in touch and check out our services. We look forward to hearing from you.
With thanks to Barbara Alcada for this week’s feature image.