Lots of people talk about how to be happy, and there are a ton of books, podcasts, and blogs dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. The interesting thing is that happiness really is just part of a mindset. You can actually choose to be happy. Now, some of you out there might read this and think it can’t be that simple, life can’t just simply be a matter of choice. What if it really was that simple? Well in concept it can be, however, it’s the execution part that usually gets people caught. Below, are a few simple ways you can start to improve your happiness mindset today.
Choose Yourself First – It might sound easy to say, but the reason a lot of us are unhappy is because we are living a life chosen for us. We don’t feel we are free and instead feel confined to things that we are “stuck” with. We might not like our job, our family, even our friends but we feel stuck or confined to do or complete certain actions, duties, and responsibilities without our true consent. We feel forced into this life and since it is not of our choosing it makes us unhappy. That isn’t to say you can immediately quit your job, dump your friends, and move away from your family. But the idea of recognizing that the burdens you take on are that of choices can help you see how you can either choose different choices, or accept the choices you are making as ones you are making instead of ones that are thrust upon you. This mindset of choosing can help you start to put yourself first. It can be scary to do at first, but maybe all the things you feel “forced” to do aren't of your own choosing, and maybe lots of the things you can either just stop doing, give to someone else, or find another solution to help you choose yourself first, and make more free choices.
Grateful Ways – We have all probably heard at least one friend mention the idea of practicing gratitude. Heck, just scroll through your Instagram posts and you’ll read a ton of inspiration quotes on the subject, but what if this gratitude stuff actually worked? It does but for the simple reason that you can’t focus on being happy and being sad at the same time. Try it, think of a happy memory something that made you feel grateful to be alive, or grateful for a certain person in your life. Now think of a sad memory, can you hold both these memories in your mind at once? Of course not, so when you build up the mindset muscle and start to think about things that make you happy and that you are grateful for you choose happiness. This doesn’t mean the bad stuff out there doesn’t exist, but focusing on the good helps you feel good and that sometimes can be the secret to solving a certain problem in your life because you are focused on the good and opportunities, rather than the lack and the negativity.
Community - Some people believe that happiness comes from serving and helping others. Remember, if you’re begrudging doing this, or feeling forced to do this, you won’t be happy. But if you are part of a community no matter how big or small (this can include a community of just you and you cat, or can include your romantic partner, maybe your family, your friends, or people you volunteer with and for) you can achieve happiness. We have heard it said that it is better to give than to receive, and that’s just feeling facts. You feel better when you help others, you feel good when you’re acknowledged for helping someone else, even if it’s just with the words of thank you. So being a part of a community and engaging regularly with this community is a great way to help the happiness mindset take root within you.
We all know you’re not going to be happy all the time, and you shouldn’t. Part of life is that we experience the good with the bad, and the unhappiness we face sometimes is just the beginning of an opportunity growing within us as our brain alerts us to the fact that we are unhappy and we should change that. But if you focus more on building the mindset of happiness and do it often, you’ll find you can choose to be happy more than you choose to be unhappy and just having this choice can make you happy.