Happy February. I was sent an article by a friend at the first part of the year, and it moved me so much I wanted to pass it along. The full article is “12 Things Happy People Do Differently.”
When I received the article, I was sitting down by myself at one of my most favorite downtown restaurants contemplating on my New Year’s resolutions. In my teens and twenties, my resolutions were selfish in nature – usually all about how I could make myself look better or grow professionally. As I have matured, my resolutions are more about setting goals to be a better person and a better steward. When I read the article, I immediately began to take action towards becoming happier because it has such a powerful trickle effect. Below is a summary of the things happy people do differently and how it has impacted me personally. I hope that some of these tips help you find happiness. A happy boss, employee, spouse, parent, sibling, etc., can truly impact others in ways you could never imagine.
- Express Gratitude: Being grateful for the goodness that already exists in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. It puts things in perspective. I have challenged myself this year to end each day with a gratitude statement. They are not big things but things that I sometimes take for granted. You can check out my facebook page to see the daily posts.
- Cultivate Optimism: No matter what the situation, the real winners are the ones who see the good in everything. Failures are only an opportunity to grow and learn from life. When I make mistakes or something goes wrong, my approach is to admit the mistake and see a way that I can learn from it so that it does not happen again.
- Avoid Overthinking and Social Comparison: Comparing ourselves to others never really leads to anything good. You can have goals or aspire to be like someone, but comparisons can give an unhealthy sense of superiority or create negative thinking. Be grateful for what you have, set goals for what you want, but stop comparing yourself to others because no one person is the same and you never have the “full” story.
- Practice Acts of Kindness: Helping others is a powerful way to feel better. We can all probably think of one random act of kindness that we have done over the past year and how good it felt. Challenge yourself to seek out ways in which you can help others whether it is delivering a cup of coffee to a homeless man, going above and beyond to help with a resume, or holding a door open for someone who might appreciate the assistance.
- Nurture Social Relationships: I have found that the unhappy people also tend to be lonely. Seek out deep, meaningful relationships. If you do not have any, or if you do but are like me and get a little lazy about feeding those, nurture them. Reach out to those people to take time for coffee, lunch, or just a chat. Friendships need time and attention just like we need food and water. Nurture them.
- Develop Strategies for Coping: In the article, the word “craptastic” was used, and it made me laugh and think about a real life situation that happened this weekend. It was Sunday and my girls had done an awesome job at removing every single toy they have and spread them around the house. If I did not know better, I would have thought they had some secret missile they used to literally explode the toys. We were cleaning up, and our 2 year old was screaming because she was ready for dinner. The 5 year old was crying because she did not want to help clean up. The fire alarm then went off because I forgot about the tator tots in the oven, and our Labrador puked because he ate his dog food too fast. It was a “craptastic” moment and the way I coped was by clapping and saying, “Bravo!” Doing this helps me cope. Find what works for you and practice it.
- Learn to Forgive: Harboring resentment and not forgiving is a sure fire way to squelch the gratitude and optimism. It is a negative emotion that can eat away at you. Forgive and if you don’t know how, seek out some experts that can help you learn how to let go.
- Savor Life’s Joys: Happiness cannot come to those who never allow themselves to slow down and enjoy the day and its occurrences. Each night, Brett and I have some time slated for our girls to just get on the floor and play. They are in charge, and it might include dressing up or just chasing them and tickling them. Our 2 year old is now so accustomed to it that when dinner is over, she gets down and says, “Yay! It’s tickle time!” This simple statement always makes us smile but is also a reminder to slow down and be in the moment.
- Practice Spirituality: When we believe that life is bigger than us, it is humbling. Humility grounds me. It is what allows me to be grateful for the little things and to appreciate each and every day.
- Take Care of Your Body: When I started Part-Time Pros, our oldest was 6 months old and I simply put my personal health and wellness on the back burner. I did this for 3 years and almost burned myself out completely. I remember telling Brett that I felt like if I continued down the path I was going, I feared I would not see 40. It was at that time that I took control of my health and wellness. I started exercising in small increments and now am in the best shape I have ever been in physically and mentally. If you take care of yourself physically, it will feed into your mental and emotional state as well. Don’t delay because your presence is important to a lot of people.
All my best,