Winter Blues still lingering into Spring? Rainy Days got you down?
There’s still hope for happiness to bloom!
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn
Read on as we share our tips for cultivating feelings of contentment & lasting joy.
According to some experts, there are three things that most people need to feel content with their lives – a sense of purpose, goals, and strong relationships.
Research shows that having a sense of purpose is good for our well-being, improving our ability to handle and overcome stress and even our ability to think. Without a sense of purpose, we tend to feel less focused and restless, and to struggle more with anxiety and depression. Purpose provides a space for our energy to land and to manifest, providing motivation, discipline, and tangible evidence of our thoughts and intentions. Purpose validates everything we are, and everything we want to be. And one way we work to fulfill our purpose is by setting and working towards goals.
One reason that goal setting can make us feel happier, is that setting goals makes us feel more optimistic about the future. Setting goals gives a sense of control, meaning and direction, purpose, and gives us more reason to engage in things that we find enjoyable or fulfilling. Setting goals that are specific and measurable can transform your habits, your mindset, your confidence, and your daily actions. The goals we set can be long-term, or short-term, or both; when making goals, we should make sure that they are realistic, measurable and attainable. When we make progress towards reaching our goals, and when goals are completed, it provides a sense of accomplishment, and we also feel more confident and capable of handling other things.
Ultimately, the quality of a person’s relationships dictates the quality of their life. People who have one or more close relationships seem to be happier, and there is an incredible amount of research that suggest that social connections make people happier. Having strong relationships with people we trust increases our feelings of happiness, because it reminds us we’re not alone. We are creatures of connection, and it is important for us as humans to feel as though we belong and that we are supported. Satisfying relationships help us to feel valid: heard, seen, and important. And when our relationships are positive ones, we feel more calm and content. Satisfying relationships not only make people feel happy, but they also associated with better health and longer life.
Purpose, goals, and strong relationships seem to all tie in to each other; strong relationships add to our sense of purpose, which then influences our goals. Likewise, people with purpose and goals tend to engage in healthier and more active lifestyles, and to participate in more group activities, which creates stronger and more meaningful bonds.
Happiness is a feeling
that is created within you and by you.
No one else can create it and hand it to you.
Ultimately, though, happiness is a feeling that is created within you and by you. No one else can create it and hand it to you. If you’re looking alone towards relationships, goals, and purpose to fulfill you, then you will have extreme difficulty when relationships change or end, when you’re in-between goals, or when your sense of purpose gets interrupted. It’s vital to have a sense of identity, to be present and grateful in each moment, and to make happy-boosting choices, even when we are feeling anything but.
slow down & Be Present
Studies show that people spend more than half their time thinking of things other than what they are doing in the present moment. Daydreaming, reliving past arguments and scenarios, ruminating on past mistakes or disappointments, worrying about future tasks . . . this all adds up to feelings of depression, anxiety, and overwhelm. Slowing down and being in the present can alleviate stress and anxiety, and increase emotional awareness, leading to greater feelings of happiness. Mindfulness allows us to take each moment as it comes and to better appreciate things, or at least respond them more calmly, rather than worrying. And it allows us more focus on how we’re feeling, so we can better let go of negative self-talk, and improve our optimism.
Slowing down and being present also opens up space to practice gratitude. Research show that a daily practice of gratitude can considerably boost happiness and increase optimism and well-being. Gratitude helps us to cope with negative emotions, and, over time, it can reprogram the subconscious to be more positive and attract abundance; the more we practice thankfulness, the more we are to find things to be thankful for. To practice gratitude, spend time thinking of and being thankful and appreciative of at least thee things every day.
make happy-boosting choices
It seems a little glib, or perhaps too easy, yet one of the best ways to be happier is to make happy-boosting choices. Happy people smile. Happy people are kind to others and give genuine compliments. Happy people exercise and sleep well. Happy people are patient with themselves and others. Happiness is a habit, made up of intentional living, including things such as alone time, spending time with friends, and engaging in activities we enjoy, as well as cultivating practices that aid our health and increase well-being.
“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept
and what to let go.”
What Makes you happy?
Think about what happiness means to you. Think about people, places, things, and situations that make you feel happier. What can you do to add more of these things into your life? How can you connect to loved ones more often, or on a deeper level?
What is keeping you from being happy?
Identify anything that is holding you back from feeling happy. Are there any thoughts or beliefs that may be interfering with your feelings of contentment? Are there relationships that you may need to change or distance yourself from? Are there situations that you need to address or let go of? Are there habits that need to be broken, so that better ones can be made?
get help if you need it
Depression is a serious medical condition that is associated with symptoms such as melancholy, loss of pleasure, loss of energy, difficulty in concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. Depression is both a brain disorder and a state of mind. IT is an illness.
Depression is more common than you think; affecting more than 18 million adults (one in ten) in the US in any given year, and over 300 million people worldwide. It is one of the most debilitating conditions in the world, and is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
There’s no shame in getting help. If you’re doing all you know how to do to be happier, and still struggling with feelings of anxiety or depression, there is still hope for you.
Visit HopeForDepression.org for more information and resources for treating depression.
Happiness is a choice.
You can choose to be happy.
Happiness isn’t something that is readymade; it is a result of your own thoughts and actions. It is a mental attitude, a habit, a practice, that lets go of what you think your life is supposed to look like, and focuses with trust, contentment, and peace on what already is. It’s about finding and peace and joy in the now, and choosing things that add.
Whatever makes your soul happy, do that. As often as possible.
(As always, please check with your physician before starting any new exercise routines, supplements/vitamins, or diets.)