YOUR HAPPINESS CHECKLIST
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Happiness, elusive? Nah. You’ve just been looking in all the wrong places. That thrill you get from buying something? It’s fleeting, to say the least – and it wears off even before you can cut the tags off it. So, if you’re not going to find happiness from external things, then logically, it must be inside you. Still don’t know where to look? Read on.
Know Who You Are
The missing piece of the puzzle to staying happy, says life coach Joe Lee, is to have a purpose in life. “When you have that and are doing the things that reflect who you are, happiness follows. When you are unsure of your life purpose, you’ll search for happiness in external activities like shopping, drinking or holidays,” he adds.
Temper Your Expectations
Expectations, whether set by you or others, create unhappiness – especially when you can’t live up to them. At the same time, you do need expectations in your life, to help you improve.
To minimise your chances of feeling small each time you fall short, detach yourself from the outcome of the expectation, advises Joe. “We’re always setting the bar for ourselves – a bar that constantly moves – which means we’ll never achieve what we initially set out to do. So tweak your expectations to get the best results from it – results that will make you happy.”
We all have bad days where all we want to do is curl up in bed and indulge in a pity fest. To get back on your happy feet quickly, Joe says you need to plan ahead. “Think of two or three activities beforehand. Whenever you need a mood-booster, do these activities you’ve lined up.”
He shares his personal happiness plan: “One of my ‘get happy’ activities is to play games on my Playstation 3 – I smash monsters in some virtual game or score goals in a football match. Or I go for a leisurely swim or watch a brainless comedy to recharge my mind. Surrounding myself with positive-minded friends is an antidote too.”
“Go ahead and laugh at yourself. Life is too short not to have fun, even by yourself.”
– Joe Lee, life coach
Live in the Present
Many of us tend to stop doing that once we hit adulthood. We worry constantly about the future, about what hasn’t or may not happen. We need to stop fretting over what we can’t control and start thinking like a child, says Joe.
“When you were a kid, you had neither expectations nor troubles. You didn’t worry about the future, you lived in the present,” says Joe. “So don’t overthink things. Sometimes, things may turn out better than you expected.”
Laugh It Off
Instead of getting upset and angry when things don’t go your way, learn to take it easy. Says Joe: “Life isn’t a struggle – we just make it so in the way we interpret things. Let’s say you’re caught in a traffic jam. You get angry as you’ll be late.
“Switch this thought around. Imagine what a child would do. He might focus his attention on playing more games or listening to the radio. Learn to shift your interpretation of an event. Learn to laugh at the outcome, just like a child would.”
Life Is What You Make of It
Remember, nothing out there can bring more cheer to your life than what you already have inside you. “We keep chasing one joy after another, but all of them are temporary – the kind of happiness which leaves a void in us when the euphoria is gone. So dictate your own happiness by knowing what you’re passionate about.”