YOUR HAP­PI­NESS CHECK­LIST

Hav­ing that can-do at­ti­tude Healthy com­fort food Reader's feel-good boost­ers & more

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Front Page - BY AZLINDA SAID & RACHEL XIE

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.”

Stay­ing Pos­i­tive

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.”

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