How to Be Happier
I want to learn how to be happier is one of the responses I commonly hear from life coaching clients, when I ask about what they would change about their life right now.
First of all, you need to begin by identifying what being happy means to you, before you can learn how to be happier. Happiness is going to look different for everyone. We all come from different backgrounds and have different environments, expectations, and experiences. These things will shape our view of happiness. Once you know what it will look like to be happier, you can then learn how. You will likely find yourself to be more content.
How to Live Happier
1. Be grateful – I know that this one can seem cliche or like it’s the current fad, but anyone who has genuinely practiced gratitude will tell you that it is a game-changer. Therefore when you decide that you are going to start being grateful, it forces your brain to do a scan, and the more we do it, the more it comes naturally. Our creator didn’t wire us to look for the positives for survival reasons, so we must make an effort. If you are someone who regularly sees the negative, know that there is an evolutionary reason for that.
You can learn to focus on the positive.
Things you can be grateful for can be as simple as a cup of coffee. Remember, before COVID 19, when we could go to the store freely without restriction or worry. Did you ever think to acknowledge before how grateful you were to be able to run to the store for milk?
When my fiancé died, I remember thinking how much I missed the simplest things. Things like having someone else’s belongings on my kitchen island. To be able to wake up in the morning and see the proof of life in your home can be something we all take for granted, but when you start to focus on it, you become more grateful.
2. Smile – it’s scientifically proven people. When you smile, you trick your brain into believing you are happy. What I am referring to is called facial feedback theory, and if you have never heard of it, you should look it up.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
3. Spend time with the right people – We all know the above saying, I don’t know who said this initially, but I know it’s true.
Don’t spend time with people who make you feel shitty about yourself or who deplete your energy. Doing so will significantly affect your ability to be happy. If your entire circle of people includes those who do more harm than good, please find new people. There are so many ways you can branch out these days, and it will change your life for the better.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
4. Find a passion – Are you passionate about anything? Do you know your purpose? If you could not fail and money was no issue, is there one thing you would want to do regularly?
If you don’t know what you are passionate about, take some time to figure it. Discovering your life purpose and then acting on it can be the most empowering and life-changing thing you have ever done. Don’t wait.
5. Be Kind – seriously, people, just don’t be an asshole. Don’t judge, don’t gossip, don’t criticize. Stop thinking the world owes you anything or that you are better than someone else.
I know it can be so easy to put ourselves up on a pedestal when we think someone else is less than desirable, but the truth is, we don’t know their story. If more people showed compassion, this world would be a far better place. You don’t have to like or agree with everyone. Not everyone will like or agree with you. If we could all agree just to be more kind, a lot would change for the better; including your level of happiness.
“The books wouldn’t be what they were if she hadn’t died – because I loved her and she died.” – J.k. Rowling
6. Find Silver Linings – Sometimes, it can be so challenging to find a silver lining. You don’t have to do this in the thick of things. As you begin to grow you might notice something that is holding you back. Perhaps you may view it as being a very negative experience. See if you can reframe it and find a silver lining.
If you want to cultivate happiness, you must do the work, and the work can be messy but it’s worth it.
How to Be Happier and Less Stressed
7. Laugh – science has proven that laughter decreases stress and triggers the release of endorphins. I am not saying laughter can be the sole thing that helps you be happier, but it can certainly change your mood and promote an overall sense of wellbeing while you are doing it.
When I was in the darkest days of my life, I can’t even tell you how many hours I spent watching Ellen and funny panda videos. On days where I was legitimately contemplating whether or not life was worth living, I found so much joy and hope by looking for things that made me laugh. That took a conscious choice, and you should choose to try it, even just once a day.
Move Your Body
8. Exercise – Moving your body and getting exercise is known to decrease cortisol levels and the production of endorphins. I know alcohol seems to make you feel better faster, but honestly, people, is it helping?
My relationship with exercise is always changing. For this reason, I go through phases. Sometimes exercise is my life, and other days I can’t seem to be bothered. Even so, I know when I do stay on top of it and move my body, I am far more productive and much less stressed out.
9. Acknowledge when you are unhappy– make sure you acknowledge when you are unhappy and take the time to identify why. Once you know why, work through it. Suppressing experiences that have hurt you or caused you stress is not going to help you be happier.
Life happens; thus, you must learn to face it when it’s not ideal and work through those emotions as well. In the end, you will be much happier because of it.
You will also become more resilient.
10. Keep a journal – I could write a whole book on the benefits of reflection and journaling. Therefore, if you haven’t tried it, PLEASE DO. It should be noted, it’s not for everyone. However, for those who are willing to give it a shot, I will bet you see benefits.
Sometimes we have so much going on in our heads that it’s impossible to process until we get it out and on paper. In some cases, getting it out is enough, and in others, you may need to do a bit more reflection on what you wrote down.
Writing saved my life and was the primary catalyst for my healing.
11. Ditch your phone – I am not sure how many blogs I have written where I have suggested ditching your phone. Clearly, there is a reason for that, you know.
Personally, I have significantly decreased the amount of time I spend on my phone and social media and I have become far happier and far more productive.
Most of the time I don’t even have my phone on me. I think most of my friends and family know now that if you call, I will answer or call back fairly quickly. On the other hand, my response time to text messages can sometimes be days and chances are good I didn’t see all the posts on Facebook.
I use social media for business and as a way to serve people. When I am on social media, I am sharing things that I genuinely believe will make someone’s life better. Still, I had to create boundaries to prevent myself from going down the rabbit hole of mindless scrolling and the overconsumption of toxic shit.
You should create some limits too.
12. Let go of what isn’t serving you and create boundaries – This can refer to both people and things. If something is making you feel worse or is doing nothing to help you be happy or to promote growth, ditch it. Do a complete overhaul of your life. People, pastimes, habits, etc., and then stick to clearly set boundaries.
You owe it to yourself to take this one seriously because only you can decide what is right for you and what isn’t.
13. Be mindful of what you are thinking – Guess what everyone, your thoughts do matter. When you become more aware of the thoughts you are having, the easier it will be to work on reframing them.
Sometimes you may need extra help with this one, but it’s crucial if you want to live happier. We all have negative and unhelpful thoughts. The only difference is, some are better at controlling them.
You can be too; it just takes practice.
How to Be Happier and More Productive
14. Declutter – When you need to be productive, ‘stuff’ can be so distracting. Having a beautiful and tidy place to work can change your mood for the better.
Start by taking twenty minutes to declutter a space where you often spend your time. See if that helps improve your mood.
If you aren’t one to keep clutter in the first place, maybe try adding something to your space that makes you smile, this too can change your mood.
15. Plan – Don’t get me wrong, I am still one who spends a lot of time flying by the seat of her pants. Things change daily, but if I don’t have some kind of plan, I lose focus and become stressed.
I like to know what the top few things are each day that I MUST get done. These include items that are beneficial to my soul, not just work. Plan it out and always schedule time for yourself. If you have it scheduled, show up. If you wouldn’t ditch a friend, don’t ditch yourself.
Don’t tell me you don’t have time. We are all busy, many of us have kids, and we are all juggling multiple responsibilities. Still, we all deserve to find time for ourselves. If you find yourself not having any, pay attention to what you are giving your time to. You might find out you do have time if you cut out something else.
How to Be Happier and More Confident
It all starts with taking care of you
16. Choose you – If you want to know how to be happier with yourself, start by choosing yourself. Spend time with yourself, get to know who you are, get to know what you want.
Do you want to know how to be happy alone? Learn to love yourself and your own company. There are so many people pleasers out there. So many of you have no idea how to honour yourself by making it a priority to do what makes you happy instead of what you think others want of you.
If you think you might be a people pleaser, have a look at the Dangers of being a people pleaser. You are deserving of so much more, and unless you have identified your values and the things that make you feel good, it will be impossible to behave authentically.
This one is so incredibly important and one that I see so often in clients.
17. Know that it’s possible – One way to start being happier is to know it’s possible. Have faith that there is a light and have confidence in yourself that you are capable of being happy again and more often.
Believe that you can change your mindset and that you have the self-discipline to improve. If you struggle in this area, maybe seek out help, which brings me to the last tip.
Sometimes taking care of you, means finding the right support.
18. Find a therapist or a life coach or an accountability group etc. – invest the time and money in yourself if you think it will help. If you struggle with showing up for yourself and following through on what you say you are going to do, then get help.
When you don’t have someone you trust in your circle who can help, then look for someone who can. If you are grieving, find grief support.
Yes, you might have to pay for it, but think of all the things you have wasted money on that haven’t done a damn thing for your growth and happiness.
I had to decide to invest in myself too, and it can be hard, but a little bit of perspective goes a long way, and you will reap the benefits.
Becoming a happier person may not happen overnight, but the sooner you start making it a priority, the sooner you will see yourself and your life in a whole new light.
Becoming happier when you have faced hardships and tragedy can be a daunting task, and it’s not always straightforward when you have suffered. However, with that said, I know it’s possible, but it takes effort, and it takes a choice.
Start by following some of these tips on a day to day basis. Don’t just finish reading this and go on to do what you have always done. Take it seriously and know that it’s coming from someone who has had to do the work.
Don't Just Exist; Live
She dedicates her time to helping others who have suffered hardships, tragedy, or pain, by giving them the foundation to live life to the fullest.
Her purpose is to encourage others to take control of their lives and not let circumstances destroy it. Find your passion for life again and receive the support you need from someone who may not know what you are feeling but knows how hard change can be, especially in the face of adversity.
If you are wondering if you are ‘ready’ to hire a life coach, you can check out the link below to download a free PDF that explains how to know coaching is for you.
If you would like to know more information on coaching or one of the Grief Support programs, you can book a FREE consultation to determine your next steps.
Email: [email protected]