While life is hard, even extremely hard at times especially during a pandemic, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find happiness and be happy. This is month two in the Year of Freedom – freedom from depression, anxiety, overwhelm, feeling stuck, worry, anger, resentment, suffering, negativity and your past – stepping into love, happiness, peace, contentment, increased self-esteem, personal satisfaction, control over your life and your destiny. All of that is possible with new skills, habits, practices, attitudes and beliefs. And for the next year you can win prizes in the Year of Freedom Giveaway, so please enter to win.
The theme for August theme was being AWAKE and AWARE. Are you awake and aware to how you live your life? Are awake and aware to how you are feeling moment to moment? Are you aware of how you spend your time? In the Awake & Aware month of August, I covered the absolute critical nature of self-care and dug deeper into self-care with a post on Pandemic Sleeping Tips since so many more people are having trouble sleeping, which is extremely important to happiness if you look at the research.
Happiness doesn’t have to be an elusive, someday-maybe you will be happy. You can learn what it takes to be happy. It’s not just one thing that usually makes people happy. Overall happiness is a function of several things, which I am covering today. There are things you can do – actions you can take every day to be happy just like there are actions you can take to stave off depression, deal with low self-esteem, or deal with feelings of overwhelm.
Benefits to Happiness
Happiness feels great
Happiness is good for your heart (protects your heart).
Happiness helps build your immune system.
Happiness helps you combat stress more effectively.
Happy people have less aches and pains.
Happiness helps combat disease and disability.
Happiness can lengthen your life span by up to 10 years.
Happy people are less likely to get sick.
Happy people have more friends.
Happy people are more successful.
Being happy makes life easier.
Happy people have more rich and meaningful conversations.
Happy people smile more, which makes them perceived as more generous, trustworthy and extroverted.
Happy people exercise more and eat better.
Happy people are more productive.
Happy people are more creative.
Happy people earn more.
Happy people are more satisfied with their jobs.
Happy people are kinder.
Happy people are more loved.
Happy people are viewed as better, well-regarded leaders.
Happy people are happy with themselves and what they have in life.
Happier parents engage in more positive parental behaviors and also influences positive outcomes in their children (child’s motivation, achievement and peer relationships).
Happiness is sexy and an attractive quality.
Reasons Why People Are Unhappy
There are many, many reasons why people are unhappy in life. These are just a few of the more common reasons.
Lack of purpose or meaning in life
Comparing yourself or your life to that of others
Lack of social connections or friends
Lack of self-care
Lack of sleep (in particular even though sleep falls under self-care)
Feelings of remorse, shame, guild, anger, resentment
Negative thinking or being a pessimist
Being unhealthy either physically or mentally or both
Blaming others for your state in life or problems
Not setting attainable goals
Not being present (living in the past)
Unresolved (current or past) trauma
Difficult life circumstances (financial, relationship, job, caregiver, etc.)
Lack of assertiveness (you get exploited, used, etc.)
Lack of gratitude
Poor time management
You don’t know how to manage, process and deal with your emotions effectively
Being overly self-critical
Self-sabotage or addictions
Being a people pleaser at your own expense
Having disempowering beliefs, attitudes or thinking
Engaging in catastrophizing or over-thinking
Feeling alone in life
Living in fear of rejection, failure
Being a perfectionist
Having a victim mentality
Living in resignation
While most everyone says that they want to be happy, in my experience not everyone is willing to take the appropriate actions necessary to bring happiness into their lives. I believe that happiness is both a choice and a function of how you live your life. I am also sure that you can learn to generate your own happiness separate and distinct from your circumstances, which you can hear about in this video. I know that you can eventually be happy if you are willing to take the actions and build the habits and practices that help you be happy.
Suicide Warning/Mental Health Waiver
If you have any thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or others please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911 immediately. Please call someone, tell someone or post it on social media and ask for help right now! We have more people suffering from depression, anxiety, and negative emotions than ever before, which means that you are in good company. I am asking that you take a specific action if you are feeling suicidal or that harming yourself because your life matters more than you realize and because there is help available to you. I am not a licensed mental health professional or in the field of medicine. You should get your medical advice from a licensed medical professional. Although my posts are research and experience based, they do not constitute medical advice since I am not a medical professional in any capacity.
September Theme: Building a Base for Happiness
I selected building a base for happiness for the September Year of Freedom theme because constructing your life is much like building a home – you get to pick and choose how you are organized, what you do with your time, how you view life, who you spend your time with, what goals you set and so much more. Thanks to the science field of neuroplasticity, we know that you are not stuck in life being the way you are now. You can teach an old dog new tricks (video). The science on neuroplasticity is so exciting. You can change. Your brain can develop new pathways leading you to a whole new life. You can be happy. You can be freed up from old hurts and wounds. This month I want you will dig in and start to build a base in the most critical areas of having a functional and happy life.
This month I am asking you to begin building your base for happiness in these key areas:
Building a base routine of self-care: Everything you need to know about self-care is covered in this post on self-care including why people don’t do it, and why it is important as well as what it is. Personally, I just don’t see how you can be happy if you are not taking care of yourself. In my post on Pandemic Sleeping Tips I shared that the research shows that people are more emotionally and socially sensitive when they don’t get the proper sleep. Yet the negative consequences for insufficient sleep are way more serious than just being “touchy” or sensitive. This month go to work on establishing a routine of self-care that helps you be energized, rested and recharged. A solid self-care routine will go a long way to happiness and having more energy.
Building a base of social connections and friends: The research is very compelling that dealing with feelings of loneliness and isolation are more positive for human health than dealing with obesity and other health issues. If you are one of those people who possibly needs to make more friends you can find out more here or watch this video on making friends. Even with the constraints of the pandemic there are ways to be connected to your friends or family by phone, by video calls or with social distancing. The important aspect of this is that you establish a foundation or a base of social connections because that will help you in the area of happiness and good health.
Building a base of emotional vocabulary: While you are building a base for happiness I highly recommend that you print out an emotional vocabulary sheet and begin increasing your emotional vocabulary because that will help you increase your emotional intelligence, which is extremely valuable in the area of happiness. I explain the emotional vocabulary sheet this in a video here. You can find an emotional vocabulary word sheet here. Really, this is so important. Do it!
Building a base of hobbies or enjoyable activities: On the road to happiness it is very helpful if you have hobbies or activities that you enjoy and that make you happy! If you don’t have an array of hobbies at this time, I have a post about getting a hobby because they really can help you love your life as I discuss in this video. If you don’t have the time to start a hobby right now you could at least begin to explore what hobby you would begin when the time is right. Beyond hobbies you can find enjoyable activities that you appreciate and make you happy. Walking is one of my activities that I just love. Find activities that light you up even if it is volunteering, doing charity work, or helping those in need – all really great activities that can boost your sense of wellbeing.
Building a base of integrity: We live in a world where integrity is sadly often lacking. I am a huge fan of integrity because I believe that living your life with integrity gives you huge emotional and psychological benefits. I have written about integrity including 10 benefits of a life of integrity. One benefit not listed in that post was you will probably sleep better and that is just an opinion not a fact. Look at yourself and how you live your life. Do you keep your promises? Do you do what you say you will? Where can you add integrity into your life? This month start to boost your integrity and do what you say you will do.
Building a base for a reward system: When you are working on establishing new habits or behaviors it is extremely helpful to have a personal reward system or watch my video here. Last month I recommended to people to have a buddy to make the most of the Year of Freedom and changing their life because it’s helpful to have a person who is committed to changing their life as well. I really, really hope that you will implement a reward system because I have confidence that a well put together reward system will help you stay motivated as you start to build the base for happiness with your new habits and practices.
Some of the Reasons Why I am Happy
My belief and faith in God
Reasonably strong in self-care
Having an attitude of gratitude
Being present or living in the NOW
Able to deal with, manage and process my emotions (emotional intelligence)
Healed from the past by doing my own personal growth and development
I purposefully do things that make me happy (intentionally)
I have a vision and life plan for my life that makes me excited and happy
I am working on my life plan on a regular basis
I rarely do things that make me unhappy OR I find a way to be happy doing something that I don’t particularly like (like ironing for example)
I don’t watch the news
I have a child-like sense of wonder about life and the world
I have strong time management skills
I have a solid prayer life
I have amazing friends and family
I avoid negative people and situations whenever I can
My heart is filled with love for people and humanity as well as the human condition
I don’t compare myself to others
I am not materialistic
I appreciate life and just being alive
I have empowering beliefs and attitudes (like good things happen to me)
I appreciate my imperfections
I have firm boundaries
I am assertive (distinct from being passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive)
I deal with problems directly and head on
I appreciate and value all of the difficulties and traumas I have had in my life and how I have grown from them
I choose happiness and love
Call to Action:
What are you willing to do to increase your own happiness? What support do you need to make the changes in your life that will lead you to being happy? Who can you get to be your buddy in changing your life? Who do you know that needs to read this blog post? How can I support you in building your base of happiness? Will you share this article on your social media so that you can help someone who needs to see this? Please let me know how I can help you with your journey because that would make me happy!