In this world of constant interaction with social media, it’s easy to get consumed by all the so-called “happy” moments in everyone else’s life and think poorly about your happiness factor. There are 5 ways to unlock your happiness in everyday life!
How to find happiness
Have you ever compared someone else’s apparent happiness to yours? Most of us have. It’s natural to do this, especially when life updates bombard us through social media.
However, this comparison is probably incomplete because social media is only a snapshot of someone’s life. It includes the highlights they chose to post, perhaps skipping over the low moments in life that we all experience.
Even if you take a step away from social media and think of a friend’s happiness, you only know as much as they share.
Finding happiness starts with a self-evaluation, and requires you to stop comparing yourself to others. Feeling better about yourself begins from within.
Once your heart is happy, the feeling is contagious. Your family, coworkers, and friends feed off it. Take time to think about what’s important to you, your “essence,” and “the real authentic you.”
How do you do this? It’s requires some self-evaluation. Several well-known thought leaders have exercises to help you through this self-exploration so you find your purpose and passion in life. So, let’s start unlocking your internal happiness.
How to find your purpose and passion in life
Take a moment, find a quiet spot, breathe and reflect. Think about your life. Is it filled with things and people who make you happy? Or can you fill it with more people, events, and things that make you smile?
Ask yourself, “What is my life’s purpose” or “What’s life all about?”
To get to the true answer, work through these exercises to find your purpose.
Kaihan Krippendorff is an internationally recognized speaker and author on business strategy, innovation, creativity, and growth. He put together fast exercises you can do to find your purpose and passion for work. While his focus is on improving your work passion, many of these exercises have the same value for your personal life.
For example, Krippendorff suggests making three lists including everything you’re good at, things you like doing, and those tasks that give you a sense of purpose. Are there any themes from your lists?
Also, he writes that meditation helps you find your inner passion and desires.
This next exercise from Michael Gerber, the author of E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work, is a little dark but it’s powerful at the same time. He asks you to imagine what people will say at your funeral. What highlights of your life will your friends and family remember? Usually, it’s the things you did in life that made a difference. Is your life highlight reel what you want it to be or could it be better?
Then, answer 15 questions about yourself. ThinkSimpleNow asks common things like what makes you smile. These simple questions unearth your passion for life and help you form a mission statement for your life. Once you have that, you can set goals and manage your stress.
Want to try these exercises? Download Krippendorff’s free workbook where he guides you through these techniques.
Creating a mission statement for life
While you’re working through your passions in life, you’ll probably find what makes you happy. Reaching this state of bliss, makes you feel good!
While we talk about finding your purpose or passion, in a singular sense, it doesn’t have to be. It can be multi-tiered.
Why do you do the things you do? Is it for a job promotion, recognition, or is it for the benefit of others?
Don’t stop with yourself. How does what you do impact others?
You’ll not only feel happier when you find your passion, you’ll work harder to achieve it consistently.
Finally, summarize your findings. What are three things that truly make you happy? Incorporate them into a mission statement. Write it out and look to it for inspiration daily!
Take small steps! Total happiness won’t come overnight. Look for ways you’re finding more happiness in life, and remember it can come in small packages (or no packages at all), or even in moments of joy and experiences that bring a greater sense of balance and harmony.
By working through these exercises, what have you found that makes you happy? Comment below!
Celebrate your unique gifts
There’s no one else exactly like you in the world, even if you have an identical twin. As part of the exercises above, you likely found your unique gifts. Celebrate them! They make you special. Focus on how they make you feel, rather than the feedback you receive from the external environment. Remember, happiness comes from inside!
Recognize that we’re all our own worst critic! We can be especially cruel and judgmental especially when we see our friends “appear” to be so happy all the time online. Remember, social media is not always reality. It’s often a highlight reel of the happiest moments in life – births, marriages, and life milestones.
Give yourself grace because no one can be good at everything (or at least not all at once or overnight.) Face the reality of constraints related to time, money, or job/family responsibilities.
Take small steps as you begin celebrating your unique gifts. For example, look for opportunities to declare your uniqueness to yourself. Are you paying attention when other people tell you how great you are at certain things? Are you the one everyone turns to when they need someone to listen and be there? Do you make the magic happen in bringing people together?
If you can answer yes to these questions, you’re celebrating your unique gifts.
Start saying no to things that detract from your ability to leverage your special offerings to the world. Do you find yourself spending a lot of time doing things you don’t like that someone else could or should be doing? Do you need to be in every single one of those meetings at work, even when your attendance is optional?
If you spend a few minutes each day noticing things you do not need to be doing or could be done more efficiently or less frequently, you will begin to identify ways to increase the amount of time you have to do the things that make you unique.
Finally, consider letting go of the struggle and stress of trying to be all things to many/all people.
Exercises to celebrate you:
- Congratulate yourself for all you’ve done.
- Be kind to yourself. It will then make it easier to be helpful to others. Kindness relieves stress.
- Remember to stop and observe without judging. Notice how your body feels, how you feel, the language you are using in your interactions with others, and also the “mind chatter” you may be voicing to yourself.
- Give yourself a break and sit still. Disconnect from technology and non-stop activity.
- Resist the urge to multitask.
- Just breathe and take a few moments to let go of worry, tension, and physical discomfort.
- From time to time, ask yourself if the choices you are making right now are the ones you want to make tomorrow. If not, change them.
Make a difference
Have you ever noticed how often those who are self-absorbed and focused on their own wants and needs are unhappy and desperately trying to fill a void?
Think about how content you feel when you engage in an activity you know will make a difference in the lives of others.
Once you’ve found your purpose and passion in life, you’ll be happier. Spread the contagious feeling! It will allow you to be the stone that is thrown into a small pond with subsequent cascading and expanding ripples.
Consider ways to utilize your gifts for the good of others who do not have your constellation of skills, talents or way of being.
We’ve all heard “treat others as we would have them treat us.” Well, the Golden Rule is golden for a reason. Have you noticed how much better you feel when you are around people who are just naturally kind, considerate, actually listen, and make eye contact with you? They seem to be happier, more relaxed, less bothered by life’s little irritations and are more resilient when something bad happens.
Though there will always be grumpy grinches and evil people in the world, kindness and compassion are infectious—just like laughter and the flu—and are gifts that keep giving. Never underestimate the power of a smile, opening the door for a person burdened with packages, or saying hello in passing in the hallway. These little gestures may be just the thing that a person needs at that moment to make the difference between a good and a bad day.
Gratitude is the perfect medicine for a difficult or uncertain time, for you and others. Try these 20 gratitude ideas to cheer up others and take a step toward improving your well-being too.
A study reported in the Journal of BMC Public Health found that helping others can reduce early mortality by up to 22 percent. So finding your “bliss” and sharing it with the world not only feels good but is good for you!
Need a little inspiration? Listen to what NFL Hall of Famer, Jim Kelly, said when he accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2018 ESPYs. He’s been battling cancer since 2013, yet still knows how to make a difference, and will hopefully empower you to do the same no matter the circumstances!
Exercises that make a difference:
You can make a difference with even the smallest gestures – a smile! Take 5 minutes at least once a week to:
- Let someone know you appreciate them.
- Thank someone.
- Tell them they’ve done a great job.
- A gesture that feels right for you.
You can let anyone know you appreciate them — a friend, family member, co-worker, or the person who bagged your groceries. A quick e-mail or text (no more than 3 sentences), phone call, or in-person thank you should do the trick.
Amazing things can happen when you take the time to “simply” acknowledge someone’s efforts or communicate gratitude for what they mean to you. And you will make someone’s day (and that someone might be you!).
Don’t forget to find gratitude in your own life too. A journal can help you focus on three things that went well with your day or week.
Find time to be happy
Find time to focus on the three things that make you happy. Is it listening to your favorite songs, calling a friend instead of texting, or posting photos on Facebook or Pinterest? Is it a round of golf, having a massage, or reading a book to your child?
Select a few you can realistically incorporate into your life at least once a month.
While engaging in an activity, consciously notice the positive feelings that come up and how your body feels. Remind yourself of the importance of doing what makes you happy more often.
Practice makes perfect
Write out your happiness mission statement and look to it every day for inspiration.
If you need to, create a schedule to do what makes you happy more often. You’ll feel more relaxed and energized, as well as more content, as you face the inevitable challenges in life.
While you may need to schedule a time to make a difference, over time it will become second nature. Start by taking small steps toward a world of happiness.
No doubt, life will throw you curve balls. Even the most well-intentioned plan takes detours. When faced with stress and unexpected challenges, try these relaxing and calming exercises to get back on track.
Exercises to find your inner happiness:
- Here are some great ways to take small steps toward a happier you! For one week, suppress the urge to complain to others verbally. I think you’ll notice a change in yourself. Is some of the negative energy gone? Do you have fewer complaints?
- Take the time to smile and say hello to colleagues, neighbors, and friends. See how much better you feel, and notice the positive impact it has on many people.
- In this day and age when civility is sometimes in short supply, see what magic can happen with a simple please and thank you.
- In your next interaction where you find yourself at odds with someone, stop for a moment to take a step back and try to see things from their perspective. You may find it is a simple matter of misunderstanding or misinterpreting their actions.
By focusing on you, what passions have you uncovered that make you happy?
As a physician, healthcare executive at a Fortune 100 company, and integrative health practitioner, Z. Colette Edwards, MD, MBA knows the unique value of a holistic, whole-person approach to health and well-being. She also understands the challenges health inequities can present. Known as “The Insight Doctor,” she offers guidance and powerful tools that prepare your body, mind, and spirit for menopause, stress, and inflammatory bowel disease. Lastly, Dr. Edwards coaches individuals in the development of self-advocacy and health system navigation skills.