Most people have no control over their emotional well-being. We feel extremely happy when something good happens and depressed when things go wrong. Our lives are roller coaster rides: at times up, sometimes way down.
How can we work on becoming a happy person in general?
To stay calm when your flight gets cancelled or when your job interview didn’t go as expected? To never lose sleep over a relationship that isn’t working out or not feeling lonely if you have no one to talk to on a rainy day?
Here are 10 simple lessons for you to learn, to be in charge of your emotional state and lead a healthier, happier life. These lessons will help you change yourself completely.
1. Practise mindfulness and positive thinking.
What does mindfulness mean? It means that you concentrate and pay full attention to the present moment, and accept it in a non-judgmental way. This has now become a trend in psychology and medicine.
While done regularly it can boost mood, reduce stress levels, and lead to a better quality of life. Focus on the present moment means that you can savour touch, smell, physical sensations and also happy feelings.
Concentrate on the joy they are giving you. It is really effective in forgetting about the past and in stopping to worry about future. Your happiness depends on you completely.
It doesn’t depend on others, on your ownership of things, on better grades, higher salaries and so on. It’s been proven that positive thinking raises your energy levels, creativity and productivity by 30%. The secret is to use positive thinking now, rather than when you are rich and famous.
2. Exercise and get enough sleep.
There are many studies done about it. Exercising releases endorphins so you are always in a better mood after a workout. Or even just a walk to the supermarket. Who’s ever met a person in a bad mood after a workout?
What’s even more important is your sleeping habits. The researchers focused studies on the part of the brain which processes our positive thoughts. When we are sleep deprived it shows weakness and negative thoughts come out much more than before.
Researchers asked sleep-deprived students to remember a list with words. Highest scores came on all the negative words – 81%. When it came to the positive ones or neutral ones, they were only getting about 31% of these right.
Now you know why people are always grumpy when they do not get enough sleep.
3. Focus on yourself and what people think of you is none of your business.
No matter what people do or say, no matter what kind of lives they live, it doesn’t mean that your life should be any similar. You are the only one who is living it with your own circumstances.
You are the only one that knows how it feels like. Many times we stop ourselves from doing things we really want to do, due to fear that someone would be laughing at us for even trying. Or fear of being crucified if we fail.
It’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations. Please yourself first, some people may dislike you or laugh at you and that is fine! Your greatest critics are actually projecting their own fear, insecurities and envy onto you.
When people love to hate it’s their issues. Stay out of it and let them talk. No one can make you feel negative, other than you. Start to care less and less about what people might think. Stop trying to please everyone. Allow yourself to live the life you really want.
4. Don’t be stuck in the past.
Remember that no one is perfect and let yourself move forward. You need to change yourself mentally. It’s easy to dwell on your mistakes. You feel terrible that you acted this way and that you wasted your weekend?
The only thing you can do now is to learn from your mistake and move forward.
Dwelling on your flaws, on what you are not, rather than what you are, will make it very hard to be happy! Accept yourself and be kind to yourselves when things go wrong. It will improve your life quality and your well-being. It will also help you accept others.
The same goes about holding grudges or past bitterness. Let it go! Embrace forgiveness, move forward for the sake of your own health and peace of mind.
5. Don’t be a victim, don’t victimise yourself.
Stop being a victim! It might get you attention and sympathy. You will get to feel right because everything is someone else’s fault, but in the long run, you will ruin your own life.
There’s no doubt that bad things happen to good people. But the key to not developing a victim mentality is to adopt the mentality of a survivor. Accept complete responsibility for every part of your life. Refuse to blame others or make up excuses. Taking responsibility gives you a complete power and control over your own destiny.
6. Try not to take everything personally.
It may be hard to hear, but not everything is about you. Fear, paranoia, insecurity can lead us to believe the way other people react is directed to us. Sometimes people are insensitive, judgmental or just in a bad mood.
The most frequent reason why you take something personally is that deep down, you might silently agree with the person who is criticizing you. When you have no doubt in yourself and in what you’re doing, you have no problem to just move on.
If the critics are right, you should either accept the harsh reality and move on. Or if there is something you can do about it, start improving!
When you have a growth mindset you can’t take things personally. And that’s because you know you can improve and that effort is the road to mastery.
Once you learn not take things personally on the emotional level, your life will be much calmer and you’ll be able to move smoothly towards your goals even on days when somebody might throw dirt on you.
7. Celebrate the good things when they happen.
Don’t simply dismiss them or minimize them. Be grateful for right now. Being grateful helps to appreciate what you
already have. Make a list of things you are grateful for and you’ll immediately feel good.
There is no question some days have a few setbacks, obstacles, loss and pain. So, on the days we are blessed and have positive things happen, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem, allow yourself the time to enjoy them and then be inspired and motivated by them.
8. Expect very little.
The biggest disappointments in our lives are often the result of unreasonable expectations.
We expect others to treat us better than we treat them. We work out a couple of times and stress because we don’t instantly look like models. People want to live like rock stars, completely ignoring the fact that not many can sustain a similar lifestyle.
Tempering your expectations will greatly reduce unnecessary frustration and suffering, it will help you refocus on the things that truly matter. Accept life in its entirety!
Stop thinking in terms of what it should be and accept what it is. When you live without entitlement, every good
thing becomes a wonderful surprise. Even better, expecting nothing means never being disappointed.
9. Help Other people
Help someone. There’s a famous Chinese saying: If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody else. Helping others is good for you.
Even though at times we are with too much work and family duties in our hands, it will feel life-changing to contribute our efforts to something else than ourselves or our daily commitments.
There are uncomplicated ways you can help others. From volunteering or donating to people in need. To just as simple as listening to a friend or holding out the door for an elderly. Doing something helpful and kind to others will make you have a stronger sense of purpose.
10. When life hands you lemons – make lemonade.
When a bad situation happens to you, you have a decision to make: You can let it cripple you or you can move on as fast as possible.
The researchers discovered that an exercise of writing at least one benefit of a bad experience made people feel happier, less stressed, and it had a positive effect on their health.
Ask yourself “how did I benefit from this experience?” and it will make you feel better.
No matter how bad a situation is, we can choose what we want to focus on, which is so powerful and enabling. The world is full of inspiring examples of people who made lemonade out of lemons given in life.
Conclusion: At the end of the day, bad things will happen to you. You will have highs, lows and mediums in your life. You are only human, just like anyone else.
It’s easy and at times automatic, to look at the world with your glass half empty. It’s a human nature to focus on what has gone wrong. So, please, use these tips to do the opposite! Be on your way to staying happy – no matter what happens.