Five steps to a happier life

Happiness isn’t something that just happens to us as a result of luck or circumstance, it’s mindset that we choose. Sometimes feelings of happiness can be short-lived and we may not even notice them. The trick to finding happiness is about practicing small habits every day to make being happy your natural mindset.

 Here are five things you can do every day, especially when things in life become tricky.

1. Live in a great community
In order to be truly happy, a person needs to have their three basic psychological needs fulfilled. These are autonomy, competence and relatedness. Studies have shown that all three can be satisfied by a person’s community. When you surround yourself with family and friends who give you a sense of belonging, you feel more positive and look forward to being part of that community.

2. Be aware of others’ emotions
People who are able to pick up on the emotions of those around them can often have their own mental state influenced as a result. They can almost ‘catch’ another’s joyful (or sorrowful) experiences. Think about how it feels when a perfect stranger on the street gives you a genuine smile. Usually when you smile back, you get a warm, happy feeling inside. Therefore, in order to be happier, you could try engaging with the positive emotions of other people (and avoid being swept up in the negative feelings of others).

3. Think on the past fondly
As humans, we are unique because we have the ability to relive special memories from the past, as well as imagine our future. Thinking back on the past and envisioning a bright future enables us to build a positive picture of our lives. We all have our good and bad days, but maintaining happiness is all about being able to focus on the good days that have passed and those that will come, while avoiding dwelling on the bad days.

4. Mange your money well
Failing to manage your financial responsibilities can lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. People who make a budget, know their expenses and who have clear goals for paying off debts generally feel more organised and calm. When you do a little work to manage your money better today, you will be happier tomorrow.

5. Spend money on experiences not things
Perhaps one of the greatest myths in our culture, consumerism does not lead to happiness. There is robust evidence showing that people who spend money on life experiences rather than material items are happier and feel the money was spent on something worthwhile. The thrill of buying a new dress or gadget fades quickly, but the memory and joy of an experience, from monumental events to fleeting encounters, can last a lifetime. 

Related articles:
Five things happy people do differently
10 curious facts about your brain
Can money buy happiness?

Written by Amelia Theodorakis

A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.

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