Learning to celebrate every day life and develop happiness like it is a skill, that is what today’s blog entry is all about.
“Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.” – Yogi Bhajan.
Have you ever heard someone say “children smile 400 times a day, but by the time they reach adulthood they only smile 10 times a day”?
I know it sounds sad, but it’s also verging on being true. I’ve explored the evidence for this and studies that have examined this tend to suggest that for adults it is a range of 0-80 times a day, but averaging at around 17 (Martin and Kuiper, 1999).
Somewhere between being a child and growing up, some of us lose a little of our joy along the way. We lost the ability to feel happy about the ‘little’ or every day aspects of life and our ability to be in the moment withers somewhat.
There’s good news though. You can choose to bring more happiness into your everyday. Recent research by economists at the University of Warwick suggests that happier people are more productive at work, and more creative and energised than less happy peers. I know that seems obvious. It just takes some awareness and to develop happiness within your every day life – and this article offers some science-backed ways to do so.
What is Happiness, anyway? Yes, happiness may be smiling until your cheeks are sore, laughing until your stomach hurts, and enjoying the moment so fully that sometimes you forget where you even are – but what is happiness, psychologically? True happiness is considered by some as the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile. Let’s break that down for a moment. We already know that happiness is joy, being content, and having an overall positive mindset about life, but what is it that makes our lives doubtlessly meaningful? Researchers like Roy Baumeister (who I have mentioned in previous week’s here on the blog), have compared people’s perceptions of happiness to meaningfulness. The research tends to show that people who see their lives as meaningful are happier, and vice versa. They also highlight that happiness tends to be a transient state whereas meaningfulness is more enduring.
For example, having more money may make you somewhat happier, but whether it makes your life meaningful tends to depend more on how you spend it.
Finding Everyday Happiness
We all benefit from freeing ourselves of some things that drag our everyday happiness down. Aim to reduce some of these elements in your life….⠀
Reduce numbers of negative people:
Being around people who are negative all the time, definitely brings you down. The notion of “misery likes company” has some truth behind it, it helps some to feel better about themselves.
If you find yourself surrounded by complainers, then do your best to avoid being drawn into conversations that affect your feelings detrimentally. Instead, surround yourself with people who inspire you and lift you up. It is unrealistic to expect to have only positive influences in your life, but if there is too much negativity, you can seek to lessen it.
Anyone who makes you feel anxious, or stressed out, is draining you and your time. Reduce the number of negative people in your life and then watch how your outlook on life improves as a result.
Reduce the fear:
The most common type of fear is imaginary fear. It’s sometimes an emotion that is fueled by people imagining scary things happening or even the worst that can happen to them.
Real fear, however, is primal. It’s that sense of warning or rush of adrenaline your body gets, when you step out onto the road, only to realise there’s a car heading right for you. That ‘rush’ is there to protect you, so you can jump out of the way.
Unfortunately, most people let themselves succumb to imaginary fear. Whenever they want to try something new or put themselves out there, they feel the imaginary fear and let it stop them moving forward. Recognise that your thoughts are just thoughts and are not necessarily reality, so fear less.
Reduce wrath and anger:
Rage and anger are two things that describe the same (or very similar) feeling. They represent a profoundly resentful indignation that’s likely to involve taking vengeance or punishing others. We live in times whereby anger is easily generated by a number of sources – be aware of it, distract yourself, buy some time before reacting with a cooler disposition, breathe deeply, count and learn how to reduce your anger, it’ll help you greatly and will lead to a happier experience of every day life.
Similarly, reduce slander or ill-meaning gossip and focus on being an honourable version of yourself.
Embrace the following attitudes and approaches to enhance your every day experience of life…..
Research shows that giving to others can make the giver and the receiver feel happier. It can be done through your actions, words, and thoughts. All these three parts of you should be in agreement. What you think about someone should be what you say about them. Moreover, what you do for them is because of how you feel about them. People will never forget your kindness.
Learn to be happy now:
We’ve heard it all before. People say ‘I’ll be happy when I buy a new house.’ ‘I’ll be happy when I lose some weight.’ ‘I’ll be happy when I get my dream job.’ ‘I’ll be happy when I find my perfect life partner.’ But what about being happy right now? Happiness is a feeling that is available to you right this very second. You don’t need the dream house, dream partner, dream job or dream body to be happy. Focus on feeling happy right now and much more will seemingly magically fall into place.
One way to truly be happy within the moment, is to practice gratitude. There is a lot of research (go and google scholar it) that shows that writing daily or weekly in a gratitude journal or writing letters of appreciation can improve your levels of happiness and well-being in a number of ways.
Have a sense of purpose:
Don’t know what your true purpose in life is yet? That’s completely fine. You can find joy in your life through the uncomplicated things it has to offer. Offering someone a compliment or doing a small deed for someone is enough to make someone feel fulfilled in their everyday lives. Tell someone how great that lipstick looks on them, or how nice their new haircut looks. Maybe even pay for the person’s coffee behind you in line. Happiness can cost nothing, and making someone else feel good can be enough to make yourself feel good as well.
If you really want to delve deeply into having a life purpose, then read this article for more on this subject:
What Is Your Life Purpose? 5 Ways To Discover It Today.
Appreciate the small things:
There are so many things that can bring you joy in your day-to-day life; singing in the car where no one can hear you; indulging in your favourite food or snack every once in a while is enough to remind you of the sweet things in life; re-watching your favourite film (or TV series) over and over because it never gets old; reminiscing about vivid and loving memories with friends and family; getting lost in a new book; taking a walk and feeling the cool breeze brush against your skin. All of these things are so very simple but enough to rivet your mind and soul for a while.
I recently read Matt Haig’s book “Reasons to stay alive” and he recommends enjoying finding beauty each day and listing your favourite things that enhance your daily experience of life.
Do savour your daily experiences. Enjoy the smell of your garden roses, the sight of your dog coming to greet you, the cheekiness of your children, the way your favourite fluffy socks feel when you relax in front of the telly in the evening.
I’ve written in more detail about this point before, read this article:
The Beautiful in the Ordinary – And How That Relates to Hypnosis.
Be with other people: Social interaction is one of the biggest contributing factors to laughter and happiness according to most of the research I could find when I was looking to substantiate the earlier mentioned disparity between the amount that children laugh compared to adults. Adults laugh much, much more when they are in good company (Vettin and Todt, 2004). We also find more meaningfulness in quality relationships, so cultivate those.
Is there a way to look at your life with more hope or appreciation? Can you reframe your experience in a useful way? Can you focus more upon your strengths and achievements?
Read these articles for more on being optimistic:
a) 11 Ways to Be More Optimistic and Increase Optimism.
b) Have Increased Optimism: Using Self-Hypnosis To Be More Optimistic.
Use Self-Hypnosis and Meditation:
I share the evidence about how good self-hypnosis can be for you in my books and within my research publications.
Meditation has been proven to change areas of the brain that are responsible for regulating mood and regular meditators have been found to be more able to achieve and maintain positive states like joy and compassion. Studies by Richard Davidson et al. found that long-term meditators also have increased brain activity in areas related to happiness.
Sit back and honestly ask yourself this: Am I happy? If your answer is yes, you are doing something right. Things have culminated well in that moment. If you answered no, practice things that you believe give you meaning and purpose in life. Give, strive, love, and live for the happiness you deserve. Feeling unhappy at the moment? Buy that coffee, sing that song, dance to that beat, watch that film. Do whatever you have to do to perfect your own art of happiness. We all have an individual recipe, find yours and revel in it.Remember that finding joy in life does not happen overnight. Also, lasting joy takes time because it requires practice and behavioural change, which will result from doing what you ought to do.
Start your mission to find more happiness in your daily experience of life – because that is the lion’s share of your life.
Have some of themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life? Need to embrace chaos?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.