.“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
Happiness must not always come from big things and events. It can come from smaller, daily habits too.
So today I’d simply like to take a look at 3 quick tips and habits that help me to live a happier life. Pick one and see how it works for you.
Helping someone out is one of simplest but also one of the most powerful things one can do to live a happy life.
How can you help someone out? By giving them value in some form. Such forms could be:
- Offering some practical help. With for example work, moving houses or cooking dinner.
- Giving some good advice. People may not always want advice but if they ask then give your best advice based on your experience.
- Being understanding instead judgmental. Two questions that can help with that are: What parts of this person can I see in myself? How is he or she like me?
- Hugs. The comfort of one hug or more can make the other person’s situation at least a bit better.
- Encourage someone. There is much discouragement in the world. So instead, be an exception and encourage people to believe in themselves and what they want to do.
- Just listen. Sometimes people don’t want any help. They just want to vent or for someone to listen as they figure out things and release pent up emotions. It may not seem like much but it can be an immense help for someone who needs it. So be there fully – don’t sit there thinking about something else – and listen.
- Put things into perspective. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a problem and to make a mountain out of a molehill. But you can help out by adding your perspective. The two of you can talk about it, perhaps laugh about it and even find the hidden opportunity within the problem that in one person’s head may have almost seemed like the sky was falling.
And remember to pat yourself on the back and appreciate yourself for helping someone out. Do not brush it off or make it smaller than it is. Pause and take a moment to quietly reflect on how you did something good.
Have a low bar for happiness.
This is something I have experimented with lately.
I tell myself this when I wake up in the morning: “Have a low bar for happiness today.”
As I tell myself this and try to keep it in mind during the day I appreciate things more. The food, my work, the weather, the small events of the day becoms not everyday stuff but something I feel happy to have. The small or what may be something one takes for granted becomes something I now often pause for a moment or two to take in and appreciate.
But if I become happier in my everyday life for the smaller things does that mean that I become unmotivated to keep working towards the bigger things?
Not in my experience so far.
This way of looking at my life instead fuels me with more energy and inspiration, life becomes lighter and I feel less inner resistance as I explore and work towards both small and bigger things.
I recommend giving this one a try and see how it works for you. You’ll of course forget about this low bar for happiness from time to time during the day if you are like me. That is only natural and this still makes a big difference in my day.
Be kind to yourself.
Being kind to yourself is a wonderful things to live a happier life and a life with high self-esteem. There are many way to be kinder to yourself, but here are three good ones that I often use and have found to be powerful.
1. Change your input to things that are kind and constructive.
Destructive messages from the people around you or from people further away such as media, advertising and society in general does not help you to be kind to yourself. So, bit by bit, replace them with other daily and weekly input.
It could be the encouragement of friends and family and the help from someone close who has been in a situation that you are in now. It could be practical personal development books and blogs that help you out with real solutions to the challenges you face and the goals you want to achieve. It could be spending more time in nature and in silence to relax and recharge yourself.
2. Compare yourself with yourself.
Comparing what you have and your results to what other people have and have accomplished can really kill your motivation and keep your self-esteem at a low level. There are always people ahead of you.
So focus on you. On your results. And how you can and have improved your results. This is important because it’s a great motivator to see how much you have improved and how far you have come.
3. Give yourself a break.
I sometimes hear that you should always be positive or always be winning or working towards your goal. That may sound inspirational in theory. But reality is not ideal or perfect and neither are you and I. Life gets in the way sometimes. You may get in your own way. And sometimes you simply don’t have the energy or the courage or the time to do something. And that is OK.
Instead of trying to live up to some perfect image that other people and/or you may press upon you, choose to set human standards for yourself. Choose to give yourself a break when things don’t go as you may have wished and choose to cut yourself some slack. Instead of beating yourself up mercilessly.
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