Real talk: Are you happy?
Since one of the top Google searches is "How to be happy," chances are you aren't where you'd like to be.
And it is no wonder.
We live in a world where we have forgotten the art of enjoying the journey.
And while the instant gratification and convenience of this new age is, well...convenient, it has also caused us to slide down the slope of constant dissatisfaction.
We consume more food, entertainment, and information than any other generation in the history of the world, yet we still aren't happy.
We never have enough.
- Not enough clothes.
- Not enough money.
- Not enough minutes.
- Not enough possessions.
- Not enough "likes."
If you've found yourself looking for ways to be happier in our "never enough" culture, then you're not alone. And though happiness may seem elusive, here are 7 simple steps you can take that will make you a happier person.
Step #1: Don't Compare Yourself to Others
Laura Williams said, "Comparison is the thief of happiness."
In today’s world of Facebook, Instagram and the perfect Pinterest-styled life, comparison runs rampant. It is really easy to feel like you are the only one in the world who doesn’t have it all together. Well, let me just ease your mind. You are not alone!
Remember, people capture and document the things they want to remember...and no one wants to remember that grocery-store meltdown or the fight they had yesterday with their spouse.
Despite what the magic of the photo filter tells us, no one has a perfect life. So hear me now, THE ONLY PERSON YOU SHOULD BE COMPARING YOURSELF TO IS WHO YOU WERE YESTERDAY.
Step #2: Don't Talk Negatively About Yourself or Others.
We are inundated with this idea that we must look, act and parent in the way of the "perfect person," or we are subpar.
And God have mercy on the soul of the person who steps outside of this circle of perfection. That's where the trolls quietly sit waiting to devour the next one who falls out of line.
It's exhausting to toll the line of perfection, and it is exhausting to keep watch for the next person to stumble.
So if you want to be happier, shrug off negativity. It doesn't serve you, and it doesn't serve anyone else.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said,
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."
So, in a world of small minds, be great.
Step #3: Surround Yourself with People Who Make You Better
I love when Tim Ferriss says, "You are the average of the five people you associate with most."
So I’m asking you, who are your five?
Do they make you better? Or do you find yourself constantly drained by their company?
If your answer is the latter, it might be time to reconsider who you're allowing in your circle.
Surround yourself with people you want to be like.
Step #4: Do Something for Someone Else
If you have ever willingly given your time or resources to help someone, I don’t have to tell you the benefits. Doing something for someone else is a guaranteed way to multiply your own happiness.
And here's the good news...It doesn't have to take a lot of time or planning.
Next time you're looking for happiness, do a random act of kindness: Buy someone's coffee, write a thank you note, take time to hold the door open for someone.
Need more inspiration? Here is a great collection of 103 Random Acts of Kindness.
And remember: If you've lost your smile, help someone find theirs & you'll find yours again on the way.
Step #5: Unplug
There are times when I am so attached to my phone and laptop due to the nature of my work, that I miss out on could-be-incredible moments.
But something magical happens when I turn off my screens and take time to be 100% present with my family.
When there are no temptations to check messages or Facebook or email, our minds are free to make connections on a much deeper level.
This weekend, I needed a tech-free day.
So on Sunday I tucked away my phone and didn’t open my laptop...it was fabulous. I enjoyed family, had cartwheel races in the yard, played tag and giggled with the kids.
In a time when we live with our iPhones in our back pockets (when they aren't in our hands), it is incredibly freeing to cut ties with the digital and reconnect with reality.
So pick a day, pick an hour, pick 10 minutes...and unplug.
I love this quote from Arianna Huffington:
Disconnecting from our technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential.
So don't forget the essentials.
Step #6: Practice Gratitude
Practice gratitude. I wrote it like that for a reason. Because gratitude is a practice.
If you want to raise your level of happiness, then make gratitude a daily practice in your life.
You can do this in several ways, but I suggest starting with a gratitude journal.
Now, journaling makes some people feel super intimidated, but fear not. A gratitude journal doesn't have to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook you keep by your bed or at your desk.
All you do is set aside a few minutes at the beginning of your day (or at the end) to write down a handful of things that you are grateful for.
Practicing gratitude has many proven benefits including improved physical and psychological health, better sleep, and higher self-esteem. You can read more about these benefits here.
Step #7: Grow Yourself
The feeling of being “stuck” can be an extreme hurdle in the search for happiness. One of the greatest ways to overcome that feeling is to feed your mind and never stop growing.
If you want to feel un-stuck, here are a few places to start:
Or simply start by learning from someone who knows more than you.
All of these are excellent ways to continuously GROW YOURSELF.
Remember these words by Max DePree,
“In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be, by remaining what we are.”
Here's the thing about happiness...
There's no big secret to it.
Happiness can be found in any of these small daily habits. We just have to do them.
Now that you know where to start, go be happy.