“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.”
“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.”
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.