Ever since the beginning of time, people have spent their lifetime in search of happiness. No matter what we have in our lives, grass always seems greener on the other side. Someone’s life may seem perfect, more organized, happier, or stress free. Some people seem to be born with the luck on their side, never having to struggle for anything. Others seem to be fighting for every little benefit in their lives. Nothing would seem to come their way easily. Lots of us spend our life wondering why life is not easier, filled with unsatisfactory options that no matter what we do, we still are not going to make great choice.
Some people think that being rich is the key to the happiness. It may certainly help not to worry about what you will eat for dinner tonight or if you will be able to afford your next Caribbean vacation, but having too much of or excess money may lead to boredom. That’s certainly not to say that every rich person is bred to death by default, but in our human nature is carved in desire for challenge, and thirst for more. We need excitement in our lives, otherwise no matter how much money we have and no matter how happy we may seem overall, we risk in falling into the pit of depression as we lose that interest and desire for more, as we struggle to remain curious, while we no longer care to fight.
Here are some basic steps that you can start doing right now and enjoy immediate benefits:
- Find a hobby – if you work 9 to 5 in an office, life can become tedious after a while. Whether you work shift work, or are a manager of a financial institution, your happiness radar may go off after years of repetition settle in. Unless your job absolutely excites you on a daily basis and you can’t get enough of your work (many people don’t like their job), it would be wise to find yourself a hobby and unleash your inner creative self. Start painting, rock climbing, dancing or writing a book – anything that would satisfy your personal craving for more, where you will feel like you’ve accomplished something after it’s completed. Master a new skill today, and you will definitely feel happier than you’ve been in a while.
- Spend quality time with your family – you may be living with your family, but ask yourself about the actual quality time you spend together. You should aim to have one meal a day together, where everyone is seated around the dining room table, without the distraction of TV or other electronics. Talk to each other, ask your spouse and kids how their day was. Read to your kids before bedtime. Play board games. Go hiking together. If you live by yourself, get in touch with your closest friends on daily basis. We all need personal interaction to help us unwind.
- Avoid toxic people – We all have those toxic people in our lives that are not necessarily bad people, but just give out that negative vibe or are constantly stressed in their lives that they tend to poison everyone else in their surroundings. Limit interaction with those people to minimum, life is too short to waste it on people that feed of you and drain off your energy. Don’t be shy to cut that interaction to the minimum even if it concerns your family members. Some people enjoy being miserable and constantly complaining. Nothing is ever good to them and they are critical just about everything. Avoid those people.
- Laugh more – Our personalities tend to attract different people. If you are generally a happy person, you may find that you have lots of friends that want to be by your side and have your happiness rub off of them. If you are a person that tends to worry more, find that balance in your life and surround yourself with friends and family you can laugh with. And if you are by yourself, watch a comedy show on daily basis. Research has shown that daily dose of laughter is indeed the best medicine for not only depression and anxiety but any other illness. Laughter tends to strengthen our immune system which in turn fights various illnesses better.
- Become one with nature – Researchers claim that enjoying a daily hike on your favourite trail may be just what you need to completely relax and have a better quality of life. It is said that green colour relaxes our eyes the best, as it reminds of trees and leaves. Even if you can’t go on a hike, bike ride or run every day, try and do it few times a week. You will feel immediate results and come home relaxed with most of your tension completely gone. Enjoy the seasons, even if it’s cold outside, go for a walk to refresh your mind and body. Just a daily walk of 15 minutes is all that we need to feel better. Bring along a book and relax by the water if you can.
- Find a balance in your life – if you work in an office and sit all day long, when you come home, aim to spend more time on your feet doing some physical activities. Go for a hike, do some gardening or join your local gym. If you spend your day working mostly on your feet, don’t be hard on yourself, relax and put your feet up when you get home. That doesn’t mean you should be lying down all evening but rather once rested, engage your muscles in different types of physical activities that are not as rigorous as the one you had at work.
- Enjoy early daylight – while highly efficient light therapy lamps for treatment of depression are the entire craze these days, you could try and wake up early and enjoy the sunrise. Natural sunlight reinforces production of happy hormone, serotonin, in our brain and this is why we always feel better after spending some time outdoors. Try and take your first morning coffee or tea outside, on your deck or balcony. Read a magazine and relax while your eyes and soul are getting benefits of the daylight without you even needing to do any work.
- Focus on yourself first – it is often said that we can’t help others unless we help ourselves first. We need to focus on becoming happier and more relaxed, so our mind has strong and solid base to deal with everyday life. Only then we can tend to other people and listen to their problems and worries. While it is great to help with advice your family and friends, make sure you’re not everyone’s sounding board as it will stress you out. Focus on yourself; give yourself some downtime too, from life and everyone else. Relax with a good book or a show, whatever makes you happy.
- Declutter – yes, it sounds too basic, but it really works. If you get rid of unnecessary things in your life, and just declutter regularly, you will feel cleaner and lighter in your mind. Seems weird, but it’s true. Get rid of anything you don’t need or haven’t used or worn in more than a year. Donate gently used appliances and clothing to local charities. Giving away to community makes people feel good. You start feeling good by doing good deed to other people. And the bonus is that you will live clutter free life.
The list above may sound a little bit selfish as we only have so many hours in a day and we can’t spend every waking hour tending to ourselves and our needs. That being said, while we do need to make room for important people or tasks in our lives, we need to keep in mind that we also need to recharge our batteries from time to time, otherwise we will experience a burnout. And if we’re burned out, we won’t be able to be good parents, kids or friends. We all need to recharge and the more we take care of ourselves, the better quality of our lives will be.