I don’t know that most people are happy, and I suspect that if this is true it is because most people don’t know what happiness is or how happiness works.
I recently read about a study on happiness, sponsored by a U.K. based charity called Action for Happiness. Happiness has been on my mind quite a lot the last couple of years. How it works, why I am happy, what makes me happy, is some of what makes me happy actually good for me?
In general I have been trying to identify the habits of happy people, to see which I have and discover those I need to develop.
According to the study by Action for Happiness, one of these disciplines, and the hardest to master is #9, “self acceptance”, believing you are okay, accepting who you are and liking yourself.
Here are the others.
- Giving. Making time and giving freely to others makes us happy.
- Relationships. Spend time with your family and your closest friends. Consider who you spend your time with, are they positive influences?
- Exercising. Makes sense.
- Appreciating or feeling Grateful. Look around, you probably have it better than a lot of others. There is nothing wrong with ambition, there is nothing wrong with wanting more but you should use the word “need” sparingly. There isn’t very much any of us actually need. Just a word of caution, the more you have, the more you have to pay for, work for, service and live enslaved to. More to come on this.
- Learning new things. Don’t stop learning. Buy a guitar. Do something new, different. I became a really good skier in my late 30s, long after most people had stopped learning I was throwing myself at the most difficult terrain I could find. Everyone else was settling into bottles of wine, I wasn’t. Some of the happiest days of my life.
- Working towards something. What are your most important life goals, and what do you do daily to achieve them? Imagine if you suspected that for the most part, you were just spinning your wheels?
- Resilience. Learn to bounce back quickly from your failures, problems or challenges.
- Reward. How often do you do things that make you feel good? Taking long weekends. Going on trips. Rewarding yourself with something that means something to you.
- Acceptance. Be kind to yourself. You are really not a total screw up, you just like to tell yourself you are
- Find meaning in what you do. Do more things that contribute to feelings of meaning and purpose. This is obviously related to giving.
Here is a start … Be kind to yourself. Schedule some time to spend it alone, get in touch with what you have been thinking about.
It’s a start.