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How to Live a Happier Life: 3 Quick Things You Can Do Today

How to Live a Happier Life: 3 Quick Things You Can Do Today

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

“If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.”
Chinese Proverb

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”
Helen Keller

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 share 3 quick tips and habits that help me to live a happier life.

1. Start by setting a low bar for happiness.

When you wake up in the morning tell yourself: “Set a low bar for happiness today.”

When 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 becomes not everyday stuff but something I feel happy to have. The small things 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.

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 to give this one a try and to 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're like me. That's only natural and this still makes a big difference in my day.

2. Help someone out.

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.

Here are a handful of ideas for how to do that.

  • 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.
  • 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 things out 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.

3. Be kind to yourself.

Being kind to yourself is a very helpful thing for healthy self-esteem and for living a happier life.

There are of course many ways to be kinder to yourself, but here are three good ones that I've found to be powerful.

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.

Or it could be to spend more time in nature and in silence to relax and recharge yourself.

Compare yourself to 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 what you have accomplished. And on 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.

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's 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.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bernice

    Great ideas, good article. Thanks for the inspiration

  • greg

    Thanks for all the constructive and positive teachings. Today’s article ..living a happier life in 3 steps… was very timely with my current life situation. Thank you!

  • cleomom

    Hi, Great article. I read your articles almost daily. They are a source of great inspiration. Thank you!

  • Yahfaf

    Imagine I’ve known how to make my life happy regardless of the up and down we face….May Almighty bless u

  • Julia

    I enjoy this blog

  • Siobhan

    This was interesting and very positive.

  • Julia

    Henrik,

    I have been reading your emails for some time now. They are such a help to me! Thank you so much for your insight and encouragement.

    I am 74 years old. I am a licensed clinical social worker living in Albany, NY…just 3 hours north of NYC. I moved here 1.5 years ago to be near my son who lives in NYC. I took 4 years off to travel to India for 2 winters
    —had a serious fall, then surgery and have been applying for full-time jobs for 7 months now. Although I look 10 years younger and have always found a professional position in the past, I am not getting a job now. Very discouraging! I have fears that my working days are over. But when I read your very encouraging emails, it improves my day and gives me hope.

    Thank you so much!

    Julia

  • It is very refreshing to see a more positive take on how to look at life. We are constantly under fire by the media on all that is wrong with our country and it can be quite disheartening. In my place of employment (Juvenile Court Services) we only see those youth who are making poor choices and it is better to focus on what they are doing right, rather than always pointing out their flaws/mistakes (they are teenagers after all and are bound to make some poor choices). When I work with the youth, I do try to focus on what they can do to make their lives better…more on the good, rather than the bad.

  • Finding happiness is within us…that is so true. We need to define our own and it does NOT have to be based on other people ‘s standards.
    Great article.

  • Kim

    I’ll try this, I’ll try anything if it’s going to help

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for best ideas in this article and it was very helpful for me

  • Guen dadi

    I really thank you for these tips might change not only my life …but thé life of my family (by sharing it)

  • Chris Barsa

    Henrik always puts the hammer to the nail. Love reading your positivity blog always puts life into perspective in the best possible ways…

  • Ohida

    Tnx for the emails, its been of tremendous help. I would love to follow all the tips u’ve been giving out but considering am in Nigeria and the economic situation on ground ryt now, it will b a tedious task to achieve. but i will kip following and tryin to attain inner peace, cos thats my goal. tnx once again.

  • Resa David

    Hello Henrick,
    Just want to say that everyone of your articles has been helpful and full of good, practical advice. I signed up for your self-esteem course and have found that the program is well written and easy to implement into my daily life. Thanks so much.