Take control of your happiness
One of my favorite quotes is, “Happiness is a choice.” Much like anything else in life your attitude is the most important factor for your success or failure.
No person or thing is going to make you happy. You need to create a life that makes you happy. I don’t mean smiling from ear to ear like a Disney cartoon character every day but rather finding ways to be content, grateful and positive for your life.
Here are seven tips to help you create happiness.
Start using a gratitude jar
Every day drop a note in the jar detailing something happy or positive about your day. These do not have to be monumental things because as we know most days nothing monumental (either good or bad) happens to us. Life is made up of everyday small moments.
Start documenting what makes you happy. I have also seen many people choose to go through the jar on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day to review what made your year special.
Daily 3 things
Many people enjoying journaling. You can write down three things that make you happy each day at the end of your day before you go to bed. Some families incorporate this as part of their daily dinner conversation with their children as well. You can ask your spouse, partner or child to tell you about one good thing that happened to them that day and share these moments with each other.
Face to face interaction
Social media has certainly had a huge impact in many positive ways. Yet as far as happiness there is no substitute for in person contact. We are all busy but there are many studies that show the more you see and spend time with friends and family, the longer you live and the happier you are.
Try to incorporate this into your week by blocking off time whether it’s a cup of coffee with a friend on Wednesdays or Sunday morning brunch with your family, try to have some routines built into your schedule to see key people in your life.
Say thank you
Take the time to be appreciative for things that others do for you. It is great to verbally thank people but I personally love writing people personalized notes. It is a lot more special and thoughtful than an email and in this day and age when there is much less paper mail, people really appreciate getting a card. It will have a positive impact on you to write these notes. You will also take the time to appreciate being thankful.
Daily gratitude group
A few years ago I started a daily gratitude group on Facebook. I post questions to prompt group members to think about what makes them happy, grateful or thankful.
Sometimes I post articles or stories as well. I also encourage those in the group to share things they are happy or grateful for with other group members. It is a safe and personal space for all of us to be connected and share.
I’m a big fan of Gretchen Rubin who has written several books including The Happiness Project. She discusses how making plans ahead of time can make you happier because as your week or month goes on you have something to look forward to.
From a happiness perspective planning a vacation three months ahead of time and looking forward to it as the months pass actually has a more positive impact than if you got up today and decided to take an impromptu trip. There are many additional benefits to be had just from the anticipation of what will take place according to Rubin. You can read more about this here.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. When you give back there are always two benefits. You are helping someone else, but you are also bringing positive benefits back to yourself. Often when people tell me they are having a bad day or in a bad mood I tell them to make a small donation to a cause they care about or go volunteer somewhere.
Get out of your own head and your own negative thoughts and make a positive change in the world. Your day and someone else’s day will be better.
Keep this quote in mind as you go about your day today and I guarantee you will be a bit happier,
“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day.” – Alice Morse Earle