How can we be happier?

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

Happiness is a feeling that everyone strives for. The definition of happiness is ‘ feeling or showing pleasure or contentment’. When you're young happiness comes very naturally. Children play and laugh and make up games all the time, you can see they are filled with joy. But as we get older we lose touch with our inner child, we realise that the world can be a dark scary place full of war, judgement, uncertainty, bills and disease. All these factors that we are faced with every day can take their toll on our happiness. So how do we reconnect with that inner child? The one who plays games and does silly things without being judged?

It all starts with our mindset. So many of us believe that we can chase happiness and that if we get this car, or own a house, or get married that we will be happy. You cannot put a finish line on happiness. Yes, if you were able to buy your dream car or dream home, you will definitely feel a sense of joy, but once that new item becomes the norm, you will be back at square one waiting for the next item or holiday to bring you joy. We need to find happiness in the everyday tasks, chores and conversations. We need to worry less about being judged and be ourselves. I wasted so much time at school trying to be ‘cool’ so that I could fit in. If I’d have just been myself I would have still had friends but it would have been true friendships, without the struggle of trying. As I have gotten older I give less of a shit about what people think of me, I just wish I’d have known that when I was younger.

We cannot put our happiness in the hands of others. Yes situations can seem to take your happiness away with bad news or an argument but to be happy you have to work on that yourself. Find inner happiness. When you are happy, the people around you will be happy. Think of the last time you did something for yourself that made you happy, maybe it was a bath, a walk, a workout or a TV programme (for me that was Love on the Spectrum on Netflix - go watch it). Once you know what makes you happy you can invite people into this happiness circle and your happiness can blossom. Your mindset in certain situations is what makes you happy, your response to others is what makes you happy. It is not the actions of another person, it's your attitude!

This is a hard one for me, as you know if you have read this post I really do take things way too personally. I feel victimised by people's actions, I easily get hurt and this is something that I need to work on, I cannot expect people to change their ways just to please me. I need to better respond to situations rather than react to them. Sometimes I need to take a second before the inner critic sets in so that I can better choose my response. How I react will determine how I feel and if I want to feel happiness I need to respond in a way that does not cause harm to myself.

So what can we actually do to be happier?

  • Smile more - you know how smiles are contagious, even smiling at yourself in a mirror can help lift your mood

  • Get plenty of sleep - being tired makes us groggy and irritable

  • Exercise - we know this releases those happy endorphins

  • Eat nutritious foods - there is a known link between gut health and mood, if you eat shit, you will feel shit

  • Start a gratitude or happiness log - everyday write down three things that made you grateful each day (I recommend an app on Android called Gratitude)

  • Be kind to others - maybe give someone a compliment, being kind helps us to feel satisfied

  • Keep a journal - this is a great way to work through any negative feelings

  • Be present - stop looking at what might happen and what you could have done and be fully present, take a few breaths, smile and go about your day!

The takeaway

You cannot depend on others to be happy, do something every day for yourself, tune into your inner child (next time you go for a walk try skipping - it’ll make you laugh!) just be yourself and spend less time worrying about people judging you - I promise, for the most part they are not, and if they do that says more about them than it does about you. Stop putting a finish line on when you will be happy - you can be happy every single day just as you are with exactly what you own.

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