Often we disregard synthesised happiness – that is happiness we have fostered from positive habits, thinking and behaviours, as being less valued than natural happiness. Why is this? Surely, as long the end result is that we are happy; then the means by which we get there doesn’t matter, as long as we harm no one.
We have to create happiness from within, re-condition our minds until it becomes second nature to us. And it is possible to cultivate happiness. This is true for everyone, even for those whose happiness doesn’t come so easily. But to be happy we need to put in intentional effort to do the things that give us purpose, fulfilment and will make us happy. Ultimately we are the ones responsible for our own happiness.
Negativity is a slippery slope. Like a glass of water held for too long; the initial minute problems get heavier. Small, negative but seemingly insignificant things build up over time if you don’t deal with them. As they persist, they accumulate into an immense burden. Once you get too deep into negativity it is hard to find your way out.
When you are at this point, you must try everything in your power to get out, to create happiness because your life depends on it. Doing anything is better than nothing because I can guarantee you, by not doing anything things will not get any better.
So it is critical to have activities planned every day, incorporated into your daily schedule, especially when you feel low because that is when these activities will benefit you the most – when you won’t want to do the very things that will make you feel better.
This happiness routine will be your get out strategy, your survival plan to pick yourself up and turn your life around. It may sound foolishly simple and optimistic, but you’d be surprised, implementing small changes every day creates profound and long-lasting change.
It won’t be easy by any means. You’ll struggle, become tired and want to give up. Sometimes even when you try your hardest, you will have set backs. And just when you think things are getting better, the negative thoughts will evade your brain again and make you feel bad. But don’t give up. Don’t stop trying. Yes, you will have good days, bad days but overall things get better.
Progress will be slow, change always is.
Make a conscious commitment to doing these activities everyday. Commitment is an unwavering decision to do something. A commitment means one option only – to do that of which you set out to do. Accept nothing less. Give it your all now that you have committed yourself to it.
Below are some of my practical suggestions of things you can incorporate into your day and schedule some time for them to make yourself happier:
- Waking up early. Wake up just 10 minutes earlier than the day before for a week to give your body time to adjust, with the eventual goal of waking up hours earlier. The earlier the better!
There is something magical about the morning, when everything is still and quiet. You are at your mind is at its most pure, and you feel at peaceful bliss, happy to be alive.
- Do the most important thing first thing(s) in the morning, not only will you have not think about it throughout the day but you will find it a lot less stressful to do in the morning, when you are the freshest and unaffected by the stresses of the day.
- Say affirmations in the morning in the mirror, in your head or aloud to yourself when you are getting ready in the morning. Make them positive, short and specific. Keep repeating them every morning until you start to believe them. They will leave an imprint on your subconscious, which will transform the way you view yourself and your world.
- Exercise. Exercise is great because, as we all know, it causes our bodies to release ‘feel-good’ chemicals endorphins, giving us a natural high. Schedule thirty minute of exercise into your week a few times to help boost your mood. Ditch the car and walk to work, take the stairs instead of the lift, find yourself a running buddy – be creative, have fun!
- Tidy! De-clutter your living space; throw out all your junk. Live simply. The true benefit of tidying is not to clean your room but to de-clutter and make sense of your inner world. Each day keep your desk space clean, put everything back in its designated space and make your bed! For a guided explanation on how to tidy; read my Kon Mari post.
- Schedule time to do at least one enjoyable activity that makes you happy and relaxed, even if only for an hour. Don’t think of it as wasting time, it’s not a waste of time if it makes you happier for it. You must do this one. Your mental well being is a priority.
- Contribute and give back to the world. This could mean anything from volunteering your time, effort and skills to being conscious of your behaviour and treating others with kindness. Consider how you can show small acts of kindness to people in your day – the strangers on the street, the people we are with everyday, to make their day a little better.
Our greatest gift is not in receiving but in giving. And paradoxically the more we give, the more we can receive.
- Make time for the people who are important in your life. Meet up with friends, family once a week to catch up if you can. It’s important to surround yourself with positive, aspirational, supportive people who build you up and help you become the best you can. So eliminate unnecessary people in your life who talk trash, who are negative and toxic.
- Keep motivated, create a mood board of all your dreams you want to achieve, listen to motivational speakers. Re-discover why it is you want to do what you want to do, Let that be your motivation to keep going when you feel discouraged.
- Write down the things you have achieved in the day, no matter how small they are. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose, the drive to succeed tomorrow.
- Keep a gratitude journal in which you write what you’re grateful for each day. It will help you to release any bitterness, anger and disappointment you felt in your day. I find this helps before bed. Don’t go to bed not being grateful for the things that day.
There is something very powerful about being grateful. More good things happen to you when you are aware and grateful for the good that already exists in your life.
- Keep a diary, a thought journal (lots of writing, I know) to write about how your day went, your feelings and anything you want to get off your chest. Putting pen to paper helps you to organize your thoughts, clear your mind and make sense of your feelings. When you express yourself in writing, you feel much lighter.
- Close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes. Focusing on your breath entering and leaving your nose, your mouth, and filling up your lungs. Acknowledge your mind as it begins to wander, observe the thoughts and let them pass, and return to observation of your breath again. Quieten your mind to feel at peace before you go to sleep.
There is a saying “success is a small thing done well day in day out”. Do these activities every day, day in day out; you’ll feel better for it. Don’t give up – you can’t now that you’ve committed to it!
I believe if you are happy then you are successful. Success is a product of your happiness. And for me, being happy is the greatest success achieved.
San Ya sunset
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