To live a happy life means something different to everyone. You might search for peace and simplicity, while others prefer constant action and challenge. Regardless of how you perceive it, there are common factors that contribute to happiness by fostering the right mindset. This, in turn, leads to the type of thoughts that create deep, lasting joy, without the need to rely on external circumstances to provide it.
Here are 9 ways to live a happy life, by putting steps in place to change negative mindsets.
1. Spend Time With the Right People
Often we’re forced into situations, whether it be at work, school or in family groups, where the people we associate with act as negative influences on our lives. It’s important to take notice of the way other people make you feel, whether or not they’re encouraging of you and if they benefit your life by increasing your happiness.
By surrounding ourselves with people who want the best for us, as opposed to those who drain us of energy, we’re more likely to succeed in our endeavours, give back to those around us and, in turn, live a happier life. Though it’s not always possible to avoid contact with negativity, it’s always possible to change our thoughts about it.
Know that negative behaviour towards you, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with you. When you don’t take it personally, you can take a step back and allow others to express how they will, without emotionally investing in issues. This way, it’s easy to respond and perhaps even turn the situation around, for both yourself and others.
2. Be Honest With Yourself and Others
If we’re not honest with ourselves, we’re constantly led towards scenarios we’d prefer not to experience. If you want to lose weight, for example, it’s important to be honest with yourself about your current state, in order to effectively devise a strategy to change it.
Being honest with the others is equally important, in order to maintain a sense of self-worth and self-confidence. We need to be able to say no to things we don’t wish to do and yes to things we’d like to do, without fear of differing opinions.
If you often feel irritated, frustrated or angry about decisions you’ve made, or that you have little choice over what you have to do, it’s time to drop a few truth bombs and get back to authentic living.
3. Be Your Own Priority
We can’t be of service to anyone else until we’ve learnt how to make ourselves our own top priority. By doing so, we learn about ourselves and deal with our own issues, making it easier to deal with life’s ups and downs. By making ourselves the most important person in life, we’re not being selfish, we’re extending our growth by fostering our own happiness, which in turn creates happiness for everyone around us.
If you always do things for people in your life at the expense of your own, feel like you don’t have enough time to do what you love or rarely fulfill life goals, it’s time to make yourself Number One.
4. Live in the Present
‘Live in the present’ is a cliché that’s mentioned in every self-help book on the planet. The point is, we do live in the present, so there’s really no point trying to. However, while in the present, having thoughts about the past or the future is often the cause of unnecessary suffering, which is why it’s so important to mindfully live in ‘the now’.
After all, the past can’t be undone by thinking about it and the future is of your own creation, therefore thoughts of the future, that you have in the present, need to focus on the outcomes you want. This, in turn, helps you live a happy life.
5. Value Your Mistakes
How would we ever know we’ve done something wrong, if we didn’t make mistakes? Further to that, how would we ever improve? Mistakes are gold in terms of personal growth, as they ensure we continually break new ground by learning to do things a better way.
If you feel like a failure every time something goes wrong or struggle to even try, you must embrace mistakes as your new best friend. When all’s said and done, a little embarrassment along the path to success never hurt anyone. Instead, it serves to point the way towards the right direction.
6. Enjoy What You Have
We all have so much right in front of our noses, yet we’re often too busy thinking about what we want, in order to enjoy it. We even forget about things we’ve accomplished too quickly, in our hurry to move on to the next desired thing.
Life is not a race. It’s really not. We need to savour each moment with intensity, to live a happy life.
When you go to sleep, each and every night, think of all the things you have to be grateful for. Train your thoughts to head down the gratitude path, rather than the ‘wanting’ road, on a consistent basis. Before you know it, you’ll be in a state of fulfillment more often than not and everything else becomes a delightful bonus.
7. Takes Steps Towards Your Goals
Even if we think our goals will take 50 years to accomplish, one tiny step today will lead us in the direction of it. The problem is, we tend to focus on the end result, which stops progress because it all just seems too hard. Rather than create mountains, we simply need to start climbing, like the intrepid explorers we all are, in one way or another.
Don’t delay in giving your dreams the respect they deserve. You have them for a reason – and that reason is to live a happy life! Even if your first step is to simply buy a book on your favourite topic, you’ll learn something that’ll propel you forward, rather than send you back towards regret.
8. Be Happy For Other People
Jealousy, envy and resentment not only create unhappiness, but emotions such as these can lead to illness and disease when they’re fostered for a long time. Remember that although it seems we live in a competitive world, we’re really only here to compete with, and better, ourselves.
Forget about ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and know that all dreams and goals are as worthy as each other. Be happy for other people and rejoice in the accomplishments of those around you and it’ll lead you closer to fulfilling your own dreams.
9. Forgive Yourself and Others
A lifetime of mistakes can be hard to forgive, especially mistakes we’ve made ourselves. It’s a whole lot harder, however, when we choose to focus on resent, instead of moving forward. Honesty makes forgiveness much easier to achieve, so work to get to the bottom of situations, to find the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s far too easy for misunderstandings or ignorance to result in long-term grudges, so it’s always worth the effort, even if the process is painful.
We’re all in the same boat, when it comes to screwing up in life, so that part isn’t going to go away no matter how happy you are. When you think about it, there wouldn’t actually be much to do, if we were all Grade A students of life, all the time.
So, rather than strive for impossible perfection in yourself and others, simply aim to take your next step forward and try to do better. Give others the same space, and forgiveness, to learn and grow.
When you dedicate yourself to growth, your world expands exponentially, to live a happy life.
Nicole Leigh West is a travel & lifestyle writer, novelist, Reiki practitioner and founder of The Spiritual Room.