Happiness in Ten Easy Steps: Part Two
Are you ready for more ways to make yourself happy - completely free?
Here's the second half of my article that shows you how it is possible to stay contented, just by taking the time to consider what needs to be done.
6. Find Your Flow
These days tennis balls travel so fast that top-flight professional players can't even see them. They react instinctively, a result of hours of practice and intensive training.
Sports psychologists call it getting in “The Zone”, that place where things just flow and reactions become automatic and intuitive. And the same thing happens when you're doing something you love.
Any activity that brings you pleasure will take your mind off the everyday problems. It could be a hobby or time spent with other people, either in an activity-based environment or simply at a dinner party or get-together.
Perhaps you're a keen gardener, enjoy a trek in the hills, or are a member of a local group. What you do or who it's with doesn't really matter. The important thing is getting immersed in something that occupies your mind.
So now there's absolutely no reason why you shouldn't get out and paint that fence in the back yard, is there?
7. One Good Think Deserves Another
Is there something you've got that you're particularly happy about?
Some people survive on very little money, but they've got their health. Others have to live with the pain and anguish of disease or disability, but they've got a close circle of loving family and friends. Still more have a hard time building lasting relationships, but they're doing a job they love.
Whenever we see someone less fortunate than ourselves, perhaps someone who's fallen on hard times, we often say: "there but for the grace of God go I." We count our blessings, because if you look hard enough there's always someone worse off than you are.
Think about something you have in your life that you're lucky to have, whether it's money, love, health, friendships, a great job or a beautiful house. Then acknowledge your good fortune with a silent statement of affirmation, such as "I've got a brilliant marriage."
It's a small thing, but the small things all add up in the end, don't they?
8. Lean-on Library
Imagine a world with no other people in it.
How scary is that?
Fortunately, that's not the way it is. And that's a good thing, because we need other people to talk to, to smile at, to flirt with, to get angry at, or even just to have a good moan with.
You know what I mean: the friends and family you can always rely on for a chat. They listen to you, you listen to them, and you both feel better for it.
Sometimes it helps to get things off your chest - or your mind - and for that you need people. They're your own personal lean-on library, a group you belong to that supports each other in good times and not-so-good ones.
Without this release mechanism, emotions build up and stop you from enjoying life. So whether you need to share a moment of success or have a good cry, people will always be there for you.
9. Put Yourself First
There's always enough time for work, for paying the bills, for cleaning the house or car, and for all those jobs and chores that just have to be done.
But what about the most important thing in your life: YOU?
Every now and then you need to recharge your batteries. You need to switch off, leave the world behind and concentrate on you and you alone.
Some people like to go for a walk, or read a book, or take a long soak in the bath. Just a few minutes to yourself can restore your energy and make you feel better. It's not selfish: it's vital.
And once you've got your get-up-and-go back, you'll be able to deal with whatever comes along calmly and efficiently. It's better for you, and it's better for the people you interact with.
In short, it's a win-win situation.
10. Score A Few Goals
Ever thought you might like a better job?
To spend more time with your family or friends?
To save up enough money for a special occasion? Maybe a holiday or a party?
Everybody needs something to aim for. Having a goal gives you a target to work toward, and every step closer to the target increases your feeling of satisfaction.
As long as your goals are realistic and achievable, you will reach them. You might set yourself a few short-term goals that are easy to achieve, as well as one long-term goal that takes a bit more dedication and perseverance. With each of the smaller goals you achieve you'll get a buzz, and you'll also be bringing yourself closer to reaching the Big One.
Nothing is quite as rewarding as the feeling of satisfaction you get from accomplishing something, no matter how small. Each achievement becomes a milestone, a landmark, a reason to look ahead with anticipation and expectation.
And that's often enough to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face.