You are not happy and you cannot work out why. You are striving to further your career, to become more successful and earn more money and you think that will bring happiness. It won’t.
You work harder, you work longer hours, you push hard but still, the emptiness is inside you. That feeling you are chasing is eluding you or if you do feel it, that sensation doesn’t last. Leaving you emptier than before. It seems like the more you strive for it the further away it gets.
On top of all this life is hitting you hard, relentless emails, work pressures, home pressure, stuck commuting, the drama is everywhere; no one seems to understand what you are going through. So you just put your head down and keep going day in day out, dealing with it and not ever addressing it. You push it down but that feeling creeps back up then you suppress it.
You have no time for your thoughts, no time to deal with what needs to be dealt with. It’s starting to affect your relationships, your motivation levels are dropping and your normal enthusiasm for life is fading. Leaving you at a complete loss on how to improve your circumstances. You wonder how you ever got this way.
So you buy something; a new toy or decide you need a bigger house or a car. It feels good for a while and you get that feeling you have been chasing but then it fades. The short-term happiness didn’t last; it felt so good to be happy again. Then it leaves you wondering where it went and why can’t you be happy.
It’s not the car, the boat, the big house or the new clothes you are chasing its the feeling it gives. We sacrifice our happiness now for a later goal. We think short term gratification and happiness will solve our problem.
We put rules and conditions on our lives;
I will be happy when….
Once I get … I will be happy
I will do more exercise when…
I have always wanted to do…. but….
So what is happiness?
Momentary happiness is shopping, chocolate, activities, distractions (wine, gambling etc). It does not last though when we seek external things to provide a vehicle for our happiness. We get used to these new things and a new way of life (think of people who win the lottery).
Long term happiness is living your life purpose, being fulfilled, connected, contributing and living in the present moment.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” Denis Waitley
Aristippus a pupil of Socrates believed in hedonism; a life of pleasure and the meaning of life was pleasure and the pursuit of pleasure.
Aristotle, however, believed that a life of purpose was the key to happiness. Virtue, wisdom, growth and inner flourishing were the keys to living happy and life of meaning.
“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.” Thomas Jefferson
So why lasting happiness so important?
Happy people tend to be fitter and healthier, are more connected with those they care about, increased wellbeing, improved immunity, lower blood pressure, enhanced marriages, and relationships.
Happy people are more productive at work and have a higher emotional intelligence leading to increased earnings. They cope better with stress and are less reactive.
There are many factors that affect our happiness and many of these are in our control. Meaning we can choose whether we are happy or not based on how we respond to certain situations.
Sonia Lyubomirsky states that:
50% Set Point – This is our natural state of happiness, hereditary.
10% Life Circumstances – Age, Ethnicity, demographic, childhood trauma, religion, job status and where you live.
40% Intentional Activities – Choice, our behaviors, what we do
She believed that we cannot change the first one and limited in how we can affect on the second, so to have the biggest impact on our happiness we needed to change our intentional activities and our behaviors.
So how can we become happier? There are some many factors that can improve our happiness and wellbeing and it could become overwhelming to consider all of them. Based on my own experience and research I have come up with the list below.
I put this first because if there were a magic bullet on the key to happiness this would be it. The more we are grateful for the more we realize how much we have to be grateful for. Gratitude is the healthiest of all emotions; it’s impossible to feel sad when in a state of gratitude.
How: Write in a gratitude journal each day. List 5 things you are grateful for. Tell someone close to you how much you appreciate him or her. Take time to acknowledge yourself for everything you have achieved. You have done more than you give yourself credit for.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie
Forgive yourself and others. Hanging on to past failings or dramas with family friends does not serve you in any way. Forgiveness in Greek actually means to “let go”. It is time to let go, let go of the burden. In the Bible, it even states that when we forgive it can improve our health and happiness.
“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” Marianne Williamson
3. Remove yourself
Stay away from what makes you unhappy and remove yourself from the drama. Understand what makes you unhappy, so you can avoid those situations or people. There are drama and negativity everywhere: On the TV, where ever we go, on the radio. Write a list of all the things that make you unhappy, then read through them so you can avoid them.
“Avoid cynical and negative people like the plague. They are killers of potential.” Rick Pitino
4. Relax your rules
What does it take for you to be happy? What rules and conditions have you put on your happiness? Are they too strict? If you softened them it how much happier could you be? If the world ended tomorrow would some of these rules really matter?
“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.” Marcus Aurelius
5. Get healthier
World Health Org defines health “As a complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing. A healthy body is directly linked to a healthy mind. Research shows that happy people eat healthier, exercise more and get better sleep than people that are depressed and stressed.
Don’t feel you need a personal trainer or all the right equipment just start doing anything. Move more whenever you can, play with the kids at the park, use the free exercise equipment at the park when ever you can sneak something in, do it.
“The groundwork of all happiness is health.” Leigh Hunt
6. Morning routine
With a morning routine, you start your day with the best possible chance of success. You create a more mindful and positive state of being before life starts to hit you from every direction, you become less reactive and more in control of what emotions you feel on a daily basis. Our emotions affect our decisions so, therefore, our decision-making abilities improve. Many of the world most successful people credit a morning routine as a part of their ongoing success and wellbeing.
My morning routine
1. Wake at 5 am
2. Drink 2 glasses of water
3. Exercise for 40mins
4. Stretch for 20mins
5. Meditate for 15-20mins
6. Write in my gratitude journal
7. Visualise my goals
8. Write a to-do list and prioritise
9. Listen to motivational content on YouTube
10. 7 am Eat a good breakfast and have a coffee
Now you might not want to wake at 5 am, that’s fine try to wake 30mins earlier and adding some of the above in shorter time blocks. Experiment with what works for you. If you miss a day, who cares just reset and go again the next day. After a few weeks, it will become a habit. If you had have asked me if I would get up at 5 am 6 months ago I would have laughed at you.
“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” Mike Murdock
7. Discover your purpose
Dr. Denis Waitely says that we all have 5 – 7 unique abilities and that we need to find them and express them. When we strive for something bigger than ourselves we are more fulfilled, happier and more engaged in life. Of the six core needs developed by Tony Robbins: Growth and contribution are the needs of our spirit.
Answer these questions:
What’s your major dream in life?
What are you most passionate about?
Where would you like to go?
What would you like to create?
Whom would you like to become?
What would you like to master?
What do you intend to give in return?
Whom are you going to help along the way?
What’s important to you?
What has meaning for you?
What legacy do you want to leave?
What don’t you want to do?
What would take you out of your comfort zone?
What would get you out of bed when the going gets tough?
“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” Napoleon Hill
Life challenges us all each and every day. I am not saying don’t strive hard to make lots of money and have incredible success. I think that is very important in life, to have holistic success. Just don’t sacrifice your happiness now until you get all the things you want. The law of resonance states we don’t attract what we need we attract what we become. Get a happy healthy mind; body and spirit and the money and success flow as a result.
If you are reading this and things are ok but you know they could be better, lets talk. Take a chance you might just find what you are looking for. https://thephoenixexperience.youcanbook.me
One of the top regrets in life, when people die, is that wish they had allowed themselves to be happier.
About the author. Daniel is a motivational speaker, facilitator, mindset coach and takes busy professionals on life changing experiences. A chance to press pause on your busy routine and reflect on what is truly important.
Join me on this journey by following below.
Researched from Positive Psychology @The Coaching Institute and my own personal experience.
Daniel is the owner of The Phoenix Experience is a Qualified Coach, Facilitator and Motivational Speaker. He survived a car accident at aged 20 which left him with a shattered spine and paralyzed. He was told he might never walk again. He proved medical staff wrong walking out of hospital 6 weeks later, although weak and brittle. This shake-up led him to leave his career, partner, apartment: his entire life behind him. After being homeless and unemployed for 6 months he rebuilt his life. He has since had a family and after having a high pressure and busy career he now helps busy professionals get back out and experience life.