I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what makes people happy. Coaching is the vehicle for the teachings of a Positive Psychology, a field of psychology that studies what it is that makes individuals happy, and how to maximize these things into our lives.
Why is it that so many folks just seem to be going through the motions of everyday life? Not necessarily unhappy or depressed, just what I call flat-lined. I believe that once we settle into whatever phase of life we are currently in, our days and routines become repetitive and predictable, even somewhat boring. Sooner or later, we begin to ask the question “Is this all there is?”
This past month, my life has been anything but boring. Not used to traveling more than two or three times a year, I found myself traveling twice in September. Our home construction project is coming toward completion, and each day I can see the new and improved living space we will enjoy. A few special birthday celebrations surrounded me with family and friends. So although life has been hectic and at times chaotic, I am finding that although somewhat fatigued, I am feeling really happy!
Reflecting back on the conference, my own life, and all that I have learned during my years of studying health and wellness, I would like to share with you some tips to increase the happiness you experience in everyday life. I’d love it if you would email me and share your insights after trying out some of the tips!
Tips to Increase Happiness in Daily Life
1. Change your routine. Doing the same thing day in and day out can become boring. Although having a set routine helps us to stay focused, organized and productive, small changes can add fun and excitement to our days. Try a new exercise class or walking trail, rearrange your furniture or paint a room a different color, go out to lunch one day a week rather than eating at your desk; anything that will shake up the ordinary and bring in a “sparkle” of happiness.
2. Learn something new. Sign up for an evening class, learn to play an instrument or a foreign language, or go back to school to complete the degree you always wanted. When our brains are being stimulated and new information is coming in, it challenges us and leads to feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.
3. Connect with a forgotten passion. Is there something you loved to do as a child? Was it swimming, ice-skating, drawing or writing? Find a way to reconnect and start doing the activities that used to bring you so much joy. There are adult learning classes and sports leagues in almost any activity you can imagine. Use a website such as http://www.meetup.com to find like-minded groups who participate in your area of interest.
4. Volunteer your services to those in need. There is nothing like giving of yourself to those less fortunate to make you feel appreciative of the life you lead, and that life has meaning and purpose. Walk dogs at an animal shelter, feed the homeless at a food shelter, teach English at a literacy program, assist in programs for special needs children. Do your research and you will surely find a group that can use your talents and skills.
5. Surround yourself with optimistic, happy people. Think about the individuals in your life who always have fun with, and increase your opportunities to spend time together. Take out your calendar, pick up the phone, and begin making dates to get together. You might even reconnect with a long lost friend who you’ve thought about but somehow have never gotten around to contacting.
6. Count your blessings often. When behavioural scientists look at the personal strengths, those who rank highest in gratitude are among the happiest and most content individuals. At the end of each day, reflect or write down at least three things for which you are grateful. See if you do not notice an improvement in your moods and happiness, as your anxiety and stress melt away.
7. Work with a healthy lifestyle or wellness coach. If you spend too much time ruminating about how to change things, and not enough time taking action on your ideas, working with a good life coach will put you into action. A coach will help you prioritize your ideas, connect them to your values and motivations, and set weekly goals to get you into action and where you want to go.