Tag Archives: appreciation

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that we possess…

I have been thinking about happiness a lot recently, especially this past week.  Everywhere I have looked there have been articles and posters about how gratitude is the successful attitude, about how happiness is essential for stress free living, all sorts of things like that.  And today, on my Flipboard App on my phone, there was an amazing article about the 5 skills you need to increase your happiness.  Okay, thought I, I am giving in to the signals I am being sent.  Here is a blog post all about happiness and getting more of it.

happiness 2

So, according to this article that I read this morning, the first skill you need in order to increase your grin quotient is the ability to savour things.  If you savour a meal, you take your time over it, you enjoy the flavours, the textures, the time and energy which it has taken to prepare and cook the food.   You linger, you prolong the experience and you intensify your enjoyment of the moment, making it last for as long as possible.   You should do the same in your everyday life.  You can savour the past, by reminiscing.  You can savour the future with positive anticipation of what might happen.  You can also savour the present moment – by using that often trotted out modern phrase, mindfulness.  Apparently, savouring life boosts optimism, reduces stress and gets rid of a whole lot of negative emotions, making you happier, more optimistic and more satisfied with life.   And the more you recognise the good stuff, the more good stuff you see.

thank you

The second skill which is required to increase happiness is to say thank you.  This is the attitude of gratitude writ large. If you can identify and appreciate the things people do for you, and the things themselves, and then say thank you… well, the result is sheer magic.  Not only does it increase your optimism and self confidence, but it has also been shown to dampen your desire for more “stuff” all the time (well, why do you need the newest and latest gadget when you are really thankful for the one you have in front of you?  Makes sense to me!).  Of course being sincerely thankful for the people in your life as well means that you can have a deeper relationship with them.  That is always worth it.  According to research, it can also give you longer and better quality sleep.  I am soooo up for some of that!!

goal quote

The third skill we need is to aspire.  This is a bit trickier – but basically it boils down to having a reason for being, a sense of purpose and to be hopeful.  It enable you to be optimistic about the future.  People who have created meaning in their lives are generally happier and more satisfied.  If you have ever experienced genuine (and not forced and false) optimism, you will know that you are drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  It is a magnet almost.  When you have that sense of purpose and a goal to aim towards, it makes goals seem attainable and challenges are easier to overcome.  You will feel more successful, and you will be more successful!  Also, if you use the skills you have in every day life, all the time, you will increase your self esteem, curb stress and increase your vitality.  So, if you have a skill, show it off!  And smile about it!

giving

The fourth thing to do to increase you happiness, and arguably, it is the one which ought to come first in this list, is giving.  Of course the person you are giving to will reap a reward, but did you know that the giver gets one too?  This is one of the reasons that every major faith has an aspect of charity to it.  Habitual givers have less stress, less isolation and less anger.  When you see what your gift can do for someone else, that makes you happier, more connected to the world and more open to new experiences.

compassion

Finally, happiness can be increased with the use of empathy.  Empathy is the ability to care about others.  If you can imagine and understand the thoughts, behaviours or ideas of other people, then congratulations, you are empathetic.  It is easier for some people than it is for others, but the good news is that compassion can be taught.  Empathy means that you will feel less judgemental, less frustrated, less angry and less disappointed about people.  Apparently it helps you to develop patience (Umm… I am very empathetic… I am just extremely impatient as well!).  Empathy also helps to solidify bonds between human beings, which is essential to the building and maintaining happy and healthy relationships.  This compassion needn’t just be for others though.  You need to be compassionate to yourself as well – the old “cut yourself some slack” argument.

I am definitely going to take up these five practices to increase the happiness in my life.  I could do with the extra boost, and especially if there is an upswing in the amount of patience that I might have.  To finish, I want to leave you with a quote from Terry Prince which I found on my Facebook timeline this morning…

“Your life is your Garden,

Your thoughts are the seeds,

If your life isn’t awesome,

You’ve been watering the weeds”

Here’s to happiness folks!

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More about change …

As I said yesterday, I have so much change going on right now,  I need as much help as  I can get.  From my research, here are some other tips I have discovered.

100%

Quite often people don’t roll with change and feel discomforted because they have a deep seated need to be right about everything.  The problem is, you will never be right 100% of the time.  Aim for success, but if you get something wrong, well, so be it.  Learn from the mistake and get on with it.  If you don’t allow yourself to make mistakes, how are you going to learn something new or experience a new adventure?  Let go of the need to be right and have fun with the possibilities.

Another tip for managing change is trying to control the “Ooh, shiny” reflex.  You know the one where you are doing one thing and then get distracted onto something else and maybe even something else and then you suddenly realise that you have three unfinished jobs rather than just one?  Well the advice here is to stop running.  Face the problem, do the job, fix the issue.  Also, make sure that if there are other people involved in the changes that you communicate with them, appreciate them, forgive and love the people in your life.  Changing circumstances can cause a lot of relationship stress, so it is important to keep the lines of communication open, even if that communication can sometimes be “Stop doing that” or “For Goodness sake HELP!”.

decisions 2

Back to those decisions again.  It is very tempting, if things don’t get started when they should do, or if they don’t turn out quite the way you had hoped, to make excuses.  However, the reason the target was not reached is largely down to the decisions you made.  If you didn’t start when they should do, then generally it is down to a decision you made.  It might be because of an external factor you didn’t factor in, but again, that was a choice for you to go for it without factoring in variables or having a plan B in case.  In most cases of long term failure, the problem is the number of excuses that were made.  “It didn’t happen because I got ill” or “I was constantly undermined by someone else” are still just excuses.   Stop them.  Deciding is so much easier.

Change can be depressing. Especially if it feels like it is constant and there is no bedding in period between them.  Quite often, all it needs is a shift in the viewpoint.  Stop concentrating on the negative (I have 6 rooms to redecorate, I have to declutter the house) and start concentrating on the positive (Our lives won’t be cluttered up with all this junk anymore!  We get to move to a gorgeous house with space and storage!) .  I am going to count my blessings when I get down in the mouth.  This change is going to be AWESOME!

eat an elephant

And finally… there needs to be a focus on the small things.  Sometimes, a big goal can look just too big.  It is a bit like trying to eat an elephant.  It is too big a target.  Well, fear not.  Look at the small things.  Eat the elephant, one bite at a time.  The biggest thing is made of small things first, so look close and be grateful.

If I can remember HALF of these while I declutter, redecorate and move house… I will be LAUGHING!  Hope they help you too.