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Create your own happiness

To be happy, I think you have to take ownership and create the feeling. I like to do things weekly that make me happy. I’ve written before about Danielle LaPorte’s concept of creating your core desired feelings and then trying to incorporate something into your daily routine to help you achieve this feeling. Creating a list of things that make you happy and incorporating these into your schedule is along the same lines. Thrive Global created a list from happiness experts in one of their posts last year:

1. Prioritize positive activities. Take a look at your schedule for the day. Are you excited about it? Make a habit of including joyful activities in your day, whether it’s going on a walk, doing yoga or cooking a meal. Find something you love and build it into your schedule.

2. Flip the switch. Ever feel cranky for no reason? Science tells us that if you spend time reflecting on what you’re grateful for (instead of on what makes you miserable), you’ll quickly adopt a more positive perspective. Simply list three things you’re grateful for when you wake up each day or before you go to sleep. Get specific for better results.

3. Meditate for 10 minutes. We’ve all heard that mindfulness and meditation can have a huge impact on our stress levels. Did you know that just 10 minutes of meditation a day can make a big difference? Taking a moment to sit and reflect can inject a big dose of calm into your day.

4. Make social connections. Many of us work or study alone and don’t realize how isolated we’re feeling. Research has repeatedly shown that connecting with others is necessary for happiness. We need each other. If you’re feeling low, call a friend or get to know the barista at your coffee shop. It’s surprisingly energizing!

5. Lend a hand. Ever ruminate on a story over and over again, spending so much time in your head that it’s about to explode? Try being of service to others and see how quickly this can shift your perspective. Find a cause you believe in and volunteer your time.

6. Create time affluence. We’re all so busy, but giving yourself a little bit of extra “me” time (even just an hour) can be an incredibly powerful way to boost your mood. Even better, it may help you be more efficient processing all of that stuff that’s on your plate.

7. Soften your expectations. Often, we think we should do or achieve certain things at a particular age and when we don’t meet those milestones, we feel deflated. The research on this is pretty clear: achievements don’t sustain happiness. Try letting go of your expectations and open your mind and heart to what really makes you happy.

8. Create random acts of kindness: Want to spread a little happiness of your own? Try a small act of kindness. The next time you’re in a coffee shop, buy a cup for the person behind you. They’ll be tickled and you’ll feel great, and who knows what might happen when the next person pays it forward!

9. Celebrate mistakes: Many of us feel sad or even angry when we make mistakes. It takes us back to that time when we got too many red marks on a 2nd grade spelling test. The truth is that most successful people have made tons of mistakes. Whether you’re learning something new or trying to improve yourself, a growth mindset involves tripping up from time to time. Go for it and celebrate those mistakes. They are moving you in the right direction.

10. Savor the meaningful moments: Many of our experts reminded us that our brains have a nasty habit of holding on to negative thinking. Instead, try savoring the happier, more meaningful moments in your life. When you see a sunset, lock it in by focusing on it for a few minutes. Soak in those positive moments so that you can recall them whenever you need them.

Other sources of happiness

Of course, things that make you happy will be individual to you. In addition to the ideas above there are: making art, crafting, cooking, playing a team or individual sport, walking, running, gardening, swimming, star gazing, cloud gazing, reading, writing, teaching, playing games, home improvement projects, etc etc etc.

Further ideas

Have a look at these websites and books:

Shawn Anchor, author of Before Happiness a book which asserts that before becoming happy we must first learn that positive change and seeing the world through a positive lens is possible.

Gretchin Rubin, author of the Happiness Project a book which presents the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research on happiness.

Over you to now to create your own happy list and incorporate one or two things in your weekly schedule and keep the handy for times when you need a reminder of what makes you feel happy.


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