What’s the deal with happy people? How do they just seem to be so happy? What do they have that we haven’t got? Here are some of my best tips in helping you achieve happiness (despite anxiety).
Now, I’m not proclaiming that I am happy ALL of the time. No one can be happy all of the time. sadness, anger, frustration, etc. are all valid emotions that we should feel as a human. Unfortunately, those feelings are part of daily life and if you don’t feel these emotions, you’re probably a lamp post. Haha.
But these tips will certainly help you along the way. Anxiety and poor mental health can really bring you down (plus bring out those not-so-nice emotions we try to avoid), so these tips will surely help you.
This post today is part one (as I got to 750 words and only addressing point 1-3!) You can read the next post soon.
But first, there’s a freebie with today’s post! Just pop in your details below to have a FREE gratitude printable. It’ll help you on your journey to a happy life:
1. They don’t dwell on the past
When your anxiety strikes, have you ever spent time thinking about what’s happened in the past? Maybe that time you failed at something and you beat yourself up about it? Or that time when you thought you upset someone and spent the rest of the week/weekend worrying about it?
I know I have.
This very act of thinking about your past is bound to bring your mood down (having long-lasting effects that might not just be in the short term). And we don’t want that now, do we?!
So how do you stop yourself from dwelling on the past? I know it’s not easy getting out of this habit. But remember this:
“It takes 21 days to make or break a habit”
Okay so this statement above isn’t always true and actually it can take around 2 months to form a long-lasting habit (James Clear). But, my point is, dwelling on the past can actually be a thing of the past if you so choose it. Your mind is a powerful thing and you can control how you think, and it’s not that hard either.
See once you start developing good habits like focusing on the here and now, it becomes easier to dissolve the old bad habits.
Start by recognising when you’re dwelling on past situations. This exercise is hard to start off with and takes some real practise when you’re not used to it. But spend time being more aware about your thoughts. Listen to them and don’t let your mind run away with you.
As always, write down your thoughts if this is easier. I’m not going to guess here about what you think about day in day out, but starting this is the hardest part. Like a new habit, once you start it becomes easier over time.
Now that you’re more aware of your thoughts, focus on the thoughts from your past.
Once you’re aware of the thoughts dwelling on the past, you can work ignoring them, or replacing them with focus on the here and now.
2. They focus on the here and now
The above point leads me nicely onto my next point.
Once you’ve had time to push the thoughts from your past away, you are now in a better position to dwell more on the here and now. Lots of meditation techniques teach you how to focus on you breathing and what is around you and that’s for a very good reason. In fact, Buddhism promotes living in the here and now for the below reasons:
- When you’re focusing on the past, you’re distracted.
- We miss moments in our lives that may have been the happiest.
- We’re letting our thoughts control us and we’re not fully aware, resulting in feeling unbalanced
- When we’re aware of our surroundings, we feel more empathetic towards others, have high self-esteem, and can reduce impulsivity (reducing mental health issues – Psychologytoday.com)
Some of you may be rolling their eyes at me mentioning Buddhism. I’m not religious but I am open to other people’s beliefs and spirituality.
As such I feel comfortable advising above, and has been backed by scientific studies (yoga and meditation are as a result of Buddhist techniques and show to decrease stress – Harvard Medical School).
How do you do this then?
Well, I’ve written bits on meditation and grounding before but a simple exercise to focus on your present is this:
Some tips when doing this exercise:
- If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t worry, keep trying
- It can be hard to block out your usual thoughts to start off with (just because we’re so used to our internal thoughts), don’t give up if you struggle
- Don’t feel silly like I did when I first started. It’s not worth it!
See how you get on.
3. They recharge
Another tactic that happy people have in their armoury is spending time recharging. You can’t be amazing all of the time!
Not sure what this means? Well, it means a lot of different things to lots of different people. But what do you like doing in your spare time? Maybe one of these:
- A good book and a cup of coffee
- A nap
- Exercise of some kind
- Spending time in a spa
- Eating chocolate in front of the TV
- Pretty much anything that makes you happy
See, we spend our lives in overdrive, but we also need time to relax. If you’re busy with your schedule and don’t enjoy a bit of down time once in a while, do you feel happy? I’m guessing not.
What I’m getting at is that if you feel like you don’t have time for yourself, make time. I know it’s hard when you have children, but when they’re napping, grab out that book you’ve been meaning to read. Or on your lunch break at work – read your favourite magazine (whether that’s online or paper).
Happy people value their time and know that cultivating happiness is important.
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