Have you ever wondered what the secrets of happy people are? After all, there seems to be some people who can just take anything on the chin, and others who have to make a concentrated effort to break out of the blues. If you aren’t blessed with a natural smile all the time, how can you change that? Here’s the latest secrets of happy people that could help you turn that frown upside down.
I don’t mean to shower, or to spend five minutes tidying up the kitchen, either. One of the biggest secrets of happy people is that they get more leisure time. They actively prioritize doing the things that make them happy, that give them exercise and stress relief and make them feel alive. Try to find the same for you. Whether it’s a game of tennis or a walk through the woods, prioritize some time for you, and your natural happiness levels will increase.
Human beings are born spectators, but what would it take to get you actively involved? Next time you watch something, make an effort to actually do it, too. If you love Dancing with the Stars, for example, try and copy some of the moves with your kids, or join up for a dance class. If you love watching the horse-racing, get yourself into the saddle. You’ll create memories, get busy and be happier, and it doesn’t take much effort to find something you’ll love.
I’m really bad at this one. I feel guilty at everything: not leaving the office last, getting ill, taking a day off, not seeing my nephews enough…but guilt is just projected anxiety. It serves no purpose, other than to make you slave away all the time. Ignore it, and do what you know is right for you. Take a day off work to recharge your batteries; you’ll be on top form when you come back. Leave the kids with your parents for a few hours to recharge your batteries. Stop working at 5pm and go home to your family; you can finish up tomorrow. Say no to guilt, and you’ll say yes to happiness. Cheesy? Yep, but true, too.
Everyone gets the blues occasionally. Whether you feel rubbish or you’ve had the day from hell, being in a bad mood can feel never-ending. It doesn’t have to be, though. Next time you are in a mood, visualize yourself feeling happier, and work towards it. Take a few deep breaths and let the anger go as your breathe out. Now work on getting happy: play with your dog, put a work-out DVD on or play with your kids. Your mind will readjust, and you’ll be feeling happier in no time.
Last month, I went snowboarding. This is a terrible idea for me: I break bones far too easily, and I’m as weak as a kitten. Everybody tried to talk me out of it…but I loved every minute of it. I did hurt myself, of course, but it was still great fun. The brain loves to try new things. While it craves comfort (and that creates fear), it thrives on engagement and new opportunities. Go abseiling, try an assault course, learn a new language, read a book in Russian, climb a tree. It’s great fun, and the glow you get will keep you happy for ages.
When was the last time you opted for long-term gratification over a short term fix? We like to get results quickly, and rewards are no different. It’s why fast food is so popular, and people spend more when shopping in person than online. The I-want-it-now attitude dominates everything in our lives. But long-term gratification satisfies much more of your core needs, and is a real achievement. Commit to doing something that will take time and effort, but be so worth it in the end. Teach your children to cook every type of cake you know. Learn a new language. Try a new sport. Mentor someone. It’s so worthwhile.
One of the most interesting secrets of happy people was their ability to play. They weren’t running around after a Frisbee thinking about everything they need to be doing, or that the washing needs to go out…they switch off completely, and have a play mind that doesn’t justify itself, or worry, or require a purpose. Everybody needs one. It isn’t really time off if your mind is still in the office, so train your mind to come home when your body does.
There’s one last important thing about the secrets of happy people. Remember that you won’t love everything straight away. You have to give things a go, and practice at them, and stay long enough that you can develop a competency. Passion comes next. You won’t love falling over on the treadmill any more than I enjoyed breaking my knee falling face first into snow, but if you give yourself chance to get good at it, you could love it. Enjoy that you are a little less bad than you were last time, and keep going. It’s worth it! Do you know any secrets of happy people? I’d love to hear them!
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