In life, certain people want to make you feel bad about yourself every single time. Sometimes, these are people we hold in high regard and have a lot of respect for. They can be family members, partners, friends, colleagues at the workplace, etc. These people see no good in people and are toxic to people around them.
How to Be Happy
Behavioral scientists have spent a lot of time studying what makes us happy (and what doesn’t). We know happiness can predict health and longevity, and happiness scales can be used to measure social progress and the success of public policies. But happiness isn’t something that just happens to you. Everyone has the power to make small changes in our behavior, our surroundings and our relationships that can help set us on course for a happier life.
Conquer Negative Thinking
All humans have a tendency to be a bit more like Eeyore than Tigger, to ruminate more on bad experiences than positive ones. It’s an evolutionary adaptation — over-learning from the dangerous or hurtful situations we encounter through life (bullying, trauma, betrayal) helps us avoid them in the future and react quickly in a crisis.
Don’t try to stop negative thoughts. Telling yourself “I have to stop thinking about this,” only makes you think about it more. Instead, own your worries. When you are in a negative cycle, acknowledge it. “I’m worrying about money.” “I’m obsessing about problems at work.”
Challenge your negative thoughts. Socratic questioning is the process of challenging and changing irrational thoughts. Studies show that this method can reduce depression symptoms. The goal is to get you from a negative mindset (“I’m a failure.”) to a more positive one (“I’ve had a lot of success in my career. This is just one setback that doesn’t reflect on me. I can learn from it and be better.”) Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself to challenge negative thinking.
Science is just beginning to provide evidence that the benefits of this ancient practice are real. Studies have found, for example, that breathing practices can help reduce symptoms associated with anxiety, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and attention deficit disorder. For centuries yogis have used breath control, or pranayama, to promote concentration and improve vitality. Buddha advocated breath-meditation as a way to reach enlightenment.
Rewrite Your Story
Writing about oneself and personal experiences — and then rewriting your story — can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness. (We already know that expressive writing can improve mood disorders and help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, among other health benefits.)
Some research suggests that writing in a personal journal for 15 minutes a day can lead to a boost in overall happiness and well-being, in part because it allows us to express our emotions, be mindful of our circumstances and resolve inner conflicts. Or you can take the next step and focus on one particular challenge you face, and write and rewrite that story.
We all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. But sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it right. By writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way of our personal well-being. The process is similar to Socratic questioning (referenced above). Here’s a writing exercise:
Numerous studies show that writing and rewriting your story can move you out of your negative mindset and into a more positive view of life. “The idea here is getting people to come to terms with who they are, where they want to go,” said James Pennebaker, a psychology professor at the University of Texas who has pioneered much of the research on expressive writing. “I think of expressive writing as a life course correction.”
When people get up and move, even a little, they tend to be happier than when they are still. A study that tracked the movement and moods of cellphone users found that people reported the most happiness if they had been moving in the past 15 minutes than when they had been sitting or lying down. Most of the time it wasn’t rigorous activity but just gentle walking that left them in a good mood. Of course, we don’t know if moving makes you happy or if happy people just move more, but we do know that more activity goes hand-in-hand with better health and greater happiness.
Optimism is part genetic, part learned. Even if you were born into a family of gloomy Guses, you can still find your inner ray of sunshine. Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring the reality of a dire situation. After a job loss, for instance, many people may feel defeated and think, “I’ll never recover from this.” An optimist would acknowledge the challenge in a more hopeful way, saying, “This is going to be difficult, but it’s a chance to rethink my life goals and find work that truly makes me happy.”
And thinking positive thoughts and surrounding yourself with positive people really does help. Optimism, like pessimism, can be infectious. So make a point to hang out with optimistic people.
Spend time with your loved ones
If you have depression and anxiety, it can be easy to fall into the habit of staying at home unless you have to leave. But tasking yourself with visiting loved ones at least once a week will begin to get you out of the habit of saying no and keep you socialising.
It’s important to have meaningful relationships outside of obligations and not shut yourself away from society. Maintaining a strong relationship with friends and family is much more likely to help you achieve ultimate happiness than staying in bed (no matter how appealing it might be).
With so many things being accessible at the touch of a button, it’s easy to take advantage of what’s at your fingertips. Take a day to leave the confines of your house and go outside by spending the day with a friend.
Or simply take a walk with the family pet through the park and enjoy the sights. Even just a few minutes of fresh air has been proven to brighten your day. It even has physical benefits by improving blood pressure and boosting your mental health.
It not only encourages more exercise into your daily routine, but many find it incredibly beneficial to their concentration and productivity at other times of the day. It can be suffocating to stay in one place all the time, therefore going outside allows you to physically take yourself away from those stressful situations until you’re in a better frame of mind to deal with them.
Part of the problem with many mental health issues is the isolation. If you feel able to force yourself out of the house, it’s well worth scheduling part of your day to leaving the house, even if you don’t have a particular direction to go in.
How To Make Yourself Happy Today And Every Day
Make yourself happy and do it with no regrets. Happiness is a gift from life that you should protect daily. Doing this will help you see more of the pleasant things in life even in the face of the toughest of challenges.
Life is a journey full of ups and downs, and everyone will have a share of joys, sadness, disappointment, and other kinds of feelings associated with living. Moreover, each encounter can help you discover how to make yourself happy.
The secret to navigating through life’s challenges is by remaining happy intentionally and always wearing a smile because sadness does not help solve any problems. It only makes a person so miserable that they won’t be able to think up solutions to the issues being faced.
It is important to know ways to make yourself happy irrespective of the situation you are currently facing. James Oppenheim once wrote, “The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet.”
When you make your happiness dependent on someone else, you are very likely to get disappointed a lot. Likewise, when you attach your happiness to material things, you will never find happiness until you get that particular material thing you seek.
Understand That Life Is a Process
People sometimes put a lot of pressure on themselves by setting their goals alongside a certain age. You hear people say things like, “I should be earning six figures at the age of 27,” or “I should be married at 25” and similar things. If these things fail, they begin to hate themselves or feel ashamed of themselves.
This is a very vital tip on how to make yourself happy. Most people make the mistake of comparing where they are at a particular time with their school mates. And when they see them live what they perceive as a better life than them, they begin to hate themselves for that single reason.
Social Media, on its own, has increased the pressure people feel when they see their mates posting their success. You should learn to find happiness in the little things life has offered you, yourself, your family, and many other simple things.