Happiness

20 Lessons for Happiness

After having a roof over their heads and food in their belly, happiness is usually the goal that most people aspire to reach. It may sound simple enough however many things can get in the way. If you are looking for ways to feel happier in your own life here are some things to remember.

  1. Stop caring about what others think. (Especially strangers) Embrace the quote: “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard Baruch  
  2. Learn how to deal with endings. Endings happen ALL the time, you move, a friend moves, you change job, a relationship finishes. Ideally we should be able to learn from all of our experiences (even the hard ones) and move onto something better.
  3. Find a physical activity that you enjoy. Staying fit doesn’t have to be about looking a certain way, it will help make you feel better emotionally as well. If the gym isn’t your thing, try running, yoga or join a team near you so you can make friends as well as breaking a sweat.
  4. Notice how food affects your mood. Serotonin is the brains natural mood regulator, depending on what foods you eat it can increase or decrease. Food also affects our energy levels, food high in sugar will give you a boost followed by a crash. Once you become aware of the impact of your diet it will be easier to choose food that keeps you on an even keel. 
  5. Let go of people who bring you down. Having a negative person around can make the world seem like a pretty bad place. Try to limit the amount of time spent with that kind of personality. If that’s not possible then try to be around in body but not in mind. 
  6. Find friends who you can have real conversations with. There are so many facets to life, make sure you have people who you can debate the big questions with, it will make you feel less alone.
  7. Don’t believe everything you read/see/hear in the media. Often you are being sold to, be critical.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to others. Like you, everyone is just trying to get through each day. You can’t know the journey of another at first glance so don’t make assumptions.
  9. Start speaking to yourself like a friend. If that sounds too difficult try speaking to yourself like an acquaintance who you would like to get to know better. Therefore it would not be in your best interest to constantly put them down.
  10. Everyone feels like they are a little crazy. And in truth we all are, I am convinced there is no such thing as ‘normal’.
  11. Just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. 
  12. Don’t judge your feelings. Our emotions don’t have to be good or bad, they just are. Telling yourself that you should feel any different then you do isn’t helpful. If a friend came to you upset would you tell them they are being stupid? I doubt it and remember, you are talking to yourself like a friend now.
  13. Be comfortable with your own company. Who do you spend more time with but yourself? 
  14. Embrace change. Change is constant, the better you can adapt to it the less overwhelmed you will feel.
  15. Be positive. You’ll live longer.
  16. Be aware of your ‘baggage’. We all have our own emotional issues, that’s okay. Knowing what yours is will make it easy to connect.
  17. Find your passion. 
  18. Let go of ‘should’ and ‘should not’. Why shouldn’t you be exactly where you are, doing exactly what you are doing?
  19. It’s never to late to change. If you don’t like your life/relationship/job etc. then change it. Yes it may be difficult but if you don’t want to be in this same place in 5 years time then change has to happen.
  20. Fear is a liar. Fear will gain your trust and make you think it knows best, it doesn’t. Be hopeful and excited about things to come.

“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.” – Ayn Rand

 

Nice Stuff

Here in Dublin the sun in shining and I am feeling hopeful for Spring. It has put me in a good mood and I want you to feel the same. With that in mind I’ve put together a short post of things that are nice. If the sun isn’t shining where you are I hope the clouds clear soon.

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Fan of House Of Cards? Check out this Dublin version

This is both beautiful and heartbreaking.

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“Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.” – Maxim Gorky

Having a Rough Day?

It’s grey and rainy out there. It makes me want to stay in bed, read, drink tea and bundle up. I would prefer to feel all warm and fuzzy and counteract the chill in the air outside.

Here’s some nice stuff to make you smile and to warm you from the inside out.

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If you are having a hard time, it’s okay, keep going. You’re on the right track.

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“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

What does success mean to you?

We can put a lot of pressure on ourselves. It can be hard to accept yourself for who you are. There is usually a long list of things we want to accomplish before we feel like we’ve ‘made it’. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals, that is something I would encourage. However, what can often happen is if we don’t reach certain goals at certain times we beat ourselves up.

Sometimes the goals we have in mind aren’t ours. We feel pressure from others to be a certain way. It’s important to ask yourself – How do you measure success?

Everyone will measure success differently, look what you value. Around the world what matters most is:

  • Life satisfaction
  • Health
  • The environment
  • Education

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Most people would say they consider being happy in their lives the ultimate goal but how many actually chase that? Are you doing what makes you happy? Society would have us believe wealth and fame is what we should be striving for. Until you decide what is important for you it’s hard to know if you are living the life you want. Take time to choose your own path, then choose what makes you happy.

“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” – Herbet Bayard Swope

“Is that normal?”

This is one question that as a therapist I get asked time and time again. Are those thoughts, feelings or behaviours ‘normal’? It ties into the fear that we are not the same as everyone else. The comparisons we can make to friends, family or even strangers can be incredibly damaging as they can make us feel like outsiders.

What is normal?

Personally, like perfection, I do not believe ‘normal’ really exists. Normality is based on cultural, social and personal constructs. Depending on what country you are from, the town you grew up in and family you were raised, normal can look very different. Instead of asking yourself is something normal or not, ask instead, ‘Is this helping me or hurting me?

  • Do you feel the need to drink alcohol when you’re feeling sad? (help or hurt)
  • Do you internalise your anger until you want to explode? (help or hurt)
  • Are you scared of happiness in your life because you are waiting for the other shoe to drop? (help or hurt)

We often go through life one way, not knowing things could be different. It’s okay to feel sad and want to cry. When you are angry you are permitted to express it as long as you aren’t hurting someone else. Feeling happy doesn’t mean fear is waiting around the corner to take it all away.1235048_10151844828924190_420843887_n

Instead of beating yourself up because your thoughts are weird or your dreams seem unrealistic, embrace it! The truth is, we’re all a little weird, which makes weird ‘normal’. We can all have those bizarre imaginings that makes us shake our heads. But isn’t that amazing? As far as we know, we are the only beings on the planet who can create these worlds in our mind.

The only time you should feel concerned is if these imaginings are bringing you down. If you are always worried about how you are stacking up how can you enjoy the weirdness that is you? Today allow your mind to daydream and go easy on yourself. Life can be such a challenge, you don’t need that voice in your head to add to the struggle.

“There is no such thing as a weird human being, It’s just that some people require more understanding than others.”  – Tom Robbins

The Stories We Tell…

For each and every person on the planet the only reality we know is the one shaped by our own mind. Throughout our lives that reality may have become skewed because of the words and/or actions of others. Perhaps your parents were cold, you never felt heard, or you were abused by someone you loved. All of those things can lead you to believe that you aren’t good enough; or that you aren’t deserving of love.

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When the truth is, you do deserve love. You deserve to wake up every morning feeling okay in the person you are. Many people don’t feel that way. That friend of yours who you love so dearly, most likely spends a majority of the day putting themselves down. Saying they are stupid, ugly or a host of other awful things and believing it’s true. How would you feel if you heard someone you love speak like that to themselves? Why is it okay to speak to yourself in that way?

 Often times the words that hurt us the most are the ones we always believed about ourselves but hoped no one else could see. That’s why one remark can cut us down and ruin our day. Those are the things we can believe so easily. What if at your core, your personal truth was that you are deserving of love and happiness? Because you are, everyone is, you just need to believe it.

Start to notice the way you speak to yourself, without judgement. Be aware and decide if you want to continue to do that to yourself. Choose to believe in the good you have within you.

“Happiness is always there. You just have to choose to see it. There’s no point dwelling in the dark and ignoring the light of the stars.” – Carrie Hope Fletcher