Humanity seems to be on an eternal search for happiness. Everyone wants to be happy, and we all deserve it. But as we know, happiness is a journey, not a destination. The person focused on being happy in the present moment will probably be more successful in her search than the person doing everything it takes to be happy in the near future.
Happiness is different for everyone, yet nobody can experience a full life of total happiness. Life will always have ups and downs, which is why we love it. It would be so boring otherwise.
That said, some people are happier than others. The good news is that we can actually control our happiness levels.
Only 10% of our happiness is accounted for by extrinsic factors. And while 50% of our baseline happiness level may be determined by our genes, the remaining 40% can be determined by things like our activities, relationships, jobs, sports, and hobbies, all of which we can control.
Here are a few simple things I'm practicing in my own life, and in my holistic recovery and health coaching practice, which can improve your happiness levels.
1. Have gratitude.
Being grateful for what we have instead of focusing on what we want is so important! It brings you back in the present moment and makes you see how amazing life is.
However, I know that being grateful doesn’t always come naturally if you don’t practice regularly. Some people recommend writing in your journal every day at least three things you're grateful for, but what I found is that having a gratitude token is much more efficient.
For example, I am using a ring I always wear. Each time that I see it, I stop, touch it, and express gratitude for what I have in my life. The more you do it, the better; soon it will become automatic.
2. Practice random acts of kindness.
We all come from a place of love and kindness. You'll see that practicing random acts of kindness can change your day.
Give a compliment to one colleague, smile to people in the street, surprise your partner or your family, send postcards, thank people for being in your life, give gifts, etc. All these little things can actually have a great impact on how you feel.
3. Make room for self-love.
Making room for "me-time" and self-love is absolutely essential. You can’t give love or help others if you don’t start with yourself.
If you want to enjoy others, you first have to enjoy yourself. If you want to love others, your first have to love yourself. This doesn’t work the other way around! So start today. What can you do to take care of yourself today?
4. Be positive.
When you find yourself dealing with negative thoughts and feelings, acknowledge them and recognize that it’s all right to feel this way. Then take a few deep breaths and try to get back to the positive. If you manage to shift your focus to all the positive things you’ve got in your life, you win.
5. Focus on the present.
Focusing on the present moment and what you’ve have right now can be a huge step toward getting back to positivity and gratitude. Since we often worry about the past or the future, getting back to the present moment brings you back to a state of enjoyment and happiness. Ask yourself simple questions like, "How does it feel to breathe?" or, "How does it feel to see what I see?" and, "How does it feel to be with the people I am with?"