Feeling down? Give yourself a happiness boost this new year with a few sure-fire and unexpected ways to get happy!
Unexpected Ways to Happiness
1) LEARN TO BE ALONE
Facebook envy – where images of our friends’ “perfect lives” gnaw away at our self-esteem and satisfaction with life – is only one of the ways in which social networks make us feel that we constantly need to surround ourselves with people, activity and “Instagramable” experiences. Psychologists call this behaviour an “existential vacuum” because we are forced to examine the meaning of our life, which can be daunting. But being alone doesn’t mean feeling lonely; and conversely, being surrounded by people doesn’t guarantee happiness. Spend some time each day sitting down and just noticing the thoughts and the emotions that come and go. Eventually, you’ll begin to enjoy not only your time out with quality friends, but also equally enjoy time for yourself.
2) FAKING IT CAN MAKE IT
Feelings follow actions. If you’re feeling low, deliberately act cheery and you will find that you may actually be feeling happier. If you’re angry with someone, do something thoughtful for he or she and your feelings toward them will soften. It is an uncannily effective strategy that just may save you a lot of grief.
3) GIVE UP YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS
(just for a couple of days, not forever!)
Eric Barker, author of the Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog says, “Denying yourself something makes you appreciate the things you take for granted.”
The idea is that the things that you really like a lot, stop. So, if you love, every day, having the same coffee, don’t have it for a few days and, when you wait, and then you have it again, it’s going to be way more amazing than all of the ones that you would have had in the meantime.Interrupting our consumption is free. It actually saves you money and gets you more happiness out of the money spent. Find more happiness by practicing patience with the things you love.
4) THINK ABOUT DEATH
One of the most important meditations for Buddhists is on death and impermanence; it is no coincidence that studies have found that Buddhist monks are some of the happiest people alive. Far from being depressing and morbid, acknowledging and thinking about our limited time on earth can inspire us towards leaving it more meaningfully and imbue us with a sense of purpose. An understanding of impermanence is helpful for dealing with any situation more positively. Alvin Tan a clinical psychologist from the Rekindle Centre for Systemic Therapy says, “Knowing that both the positives and the negatives are the ebb and flow of life will make us more accepting of difficult circumstances and more grateful for happier times that we have, as we know that such conditions are temporary.”
5) PREPARE FOR THE WORST, HOPE FOR THE BEST
This is the Samurai approach to happiness. Samurai warriors had two essential elements to performing their best: They trained extremely hard and they prepared for the worst. The latter element, so-called “negative visualisation,” has its roots in Stoicism. Oliver Burkeman , the author of a book on counterintuitive happiness explained: It’s what the Stoics call, “the premeditation” — that there’s actually a lot of peace of mind to be gained in thinking carefully and in detail and consciously about how badly things could go. In most situations you’re going to discover that your anxiety or your fears about those situations were exaggerated.
In the end, wholeness is the keyword if you want the kind of happiness that can’t be taken away. Having spent so much time trying to be happy the old way – and not truly succeeding – we should realise that there is a new way and it could change your life right now.