Each person’s definition of happiness is different. Below are eight ways that can be used to cultivate happiness. A combination of some (or all) of the tips below have helped me find a greater happiness than I’ve ever had.
I used to think it was a waste of time to sit down and write down goals for the coming year, 5 years, or more. Looking back on this, I am mad I thought this way. 2020 brought motivation to put the goals I kept floating in my head down on paper. Make them more “real” if that makes sense.
The first thing I needed to conquer was a planner – should I use digital or traditional pen and paper? I opted for a bit of both. For the family, I use Cozi, an app that I share with my hubby outlining appointments, baseball games, date nights – you get the idea.
For work and personal goals I needed to stick to pen and paper. There is something about writing something down that makes it much more permanent (and easier to remember!). After looking around for the perfect planner to imprint my goals, I decided on the Commit 30 planner (thank you, Jami, for the recommendation).
Aside from the obligatory calendar pages, there are also pages designated to lay out your vision, monthly goals, and action steps to achieve the goals.
Your goal could be big or small – starting a new career or drinking enough ounces of water per day. You can jump right in or take baby steps. No one is judging – I think the people that support you want you to succeed whatever the speed may be.
When I was growing up, more so in my teens and college years, I admit that I felt a bit entitled. Maybe entitled is too strong of a word because I was taught from a young age that hard work pays off, and that I needed to continue to work hard in school and later in my career to succeed.
By showing appreciation to the people that make your life happy is one of the easiest ways to cultivate happiness! Saying “thank you”, gifting a bouquet of flowers, sending an email of appreciation are just a few ways to show gratitude.
When most people first hear the word boundaries, they think it is something restrictive in a negative sense. Boundaries are restrictive, but can be so in a positive way.
It is important to set these boundaries, or ground rules, in the beginning of any relationship be it friendship, romantic, or work. By setting boundaries you are creating the framework for a happy relationship/work atmosphere. An example would be to clearly set in place ahead of time what your expectations are, whether it is availability as a friend, expectations at work, etc.
This can be somewhat hard because you don’t want to come across as bossy or rude, but one of the more important ways to cultivate happiness. You set it once and everyone’s then on the same page.
You don’t have to be all “butterflies, rainbows and unicorns”, but if you haven’t noticed already, having a positive attitude is SO powerful.
When you walk into a room, smile and greet someone – be it your best friend or a complete stranger – your positive-ness rubs off on them. You may notice a slight smile cross their face or their shoulders drop a bit.
My goal (hehe) is to rid my life of negative people. When I am around negative people, I feel it all over. I get sluggish, in a crappy mood, my muscles tense, I feel uncomfortable, and want to remove myself from the situation entirely.
But be positive in a realistic way.
When I’m happy I especially want others to feel the same way.
Giving your time is the easiest and most inexpensive way to share happiness. Whether it is volunteering to help a friend or family member out with something, making a call to I haven’t connected with in a little while, complimenting, or even just smiling at a passerby – I am hoping it brings a little sunshine to the recipient’s day.
You can also, if amenable, donate to your favorite charity.
I learned to do this more so as I got older and matured, but taking responsibility (be it something good or bad) is imperative for eventual happiness.
There’s something about the feeling of responsibility that is elating. An example would be my responsibility to bring up the boys as great human beings. I pride myself in being a mom and having that responsibility to do so.
Taking responsibility for being ethical, earth-friendly, kind…the list goes on and on…and knowing that you are actively trying to do so can bring happiness.
When I was in college and for a handful of years afterward, I wasn’t tuned in to “being healthy”. (I also had an insane metabolism that allowed for me to eat practically anything and not gain an once. That has since disappeared after having the boys.)
As I age, I realize the importance of taking care of my body and my mind – and not just for me, but for my family. I want to set a good example for the boys as well as live as long as I can so I can be with them!
I am very conscious of what I eat and drink and have instilled exercise and self-care into my routine. By watching what I eat, I am slowly losing some unneeded weight and actually feel more energetic.
By exercising and taking pilates classes, I haven’t had lower back pain in ages. This translates into being able to spend more active time with the family and not having to sit out.
I am starting to dabble in meditation and not just downloading the apps on my phone for them to sit there.
DON’T TAKE THINGS PERSONALLY
You know the phrase, “Shit happens”? Things happen in our everyday life that you need to acknowledge and tend to, but not take personally. Shit happens and ruminating over whatever the situation may be, and not taking action, does absolutely nothing.
Be responsible for your actions, accept that some things are not in your power, tend to what you can, and don’t take everything personally. Learn from it, and move on.
YOUR RECOMMENDED WAYS TO CULTIVATE HAPPINESS!
What do you practice to cultivate happiness? Please share below!