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If you’re asking yourself how you can be happier in your life, try implementing these 4 key ingredients.
According to Oxford Dictionary, the definition of ‘happy’ is: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. It would seem that ‘happiness’ is not so much a by-product of outside forces but rather produced from internal thinking.
If this is the case, your happiness therefore should be produced from your internal processes, rather than what happens to you externally.
Life does throw negative events but research indicates that given the same circumstances, some people bounce back, or navigate negative circumstances better than others.
There are many reasons for this difference including:
- Personality type and traits, the nature that you were born with
- Your up-bringing
- Values (what type of person you strive to be)
- Strategies you have learnt in the past to manage conflict and disappointment
- The number of problematic events you need to endure at any one time, and over a period of time
- Your current emotional state
- Level of psychological flexibility
- Physical health
- Life circumstances (where you were born, who your parents are etc)
- Cortex versus emotional focus
You can’t change many of these but many are within your control to a varying degree.
It’s the ones you can control that hold the key to how you can be happier with your life.
Here’s how to be happier with your life: Choose these 4 key ingredients
#1. If you compare your life to the lives of others (including those on social media), you’ll always find people who are wealthier, luckier, smarter, better looking, younger, taller, fitter, more popular, happier and more content than you are.
Comparing yourself to others increases depression and envy, and decreases satisfaction, wellbeing and happiness. Enjoy the life that you have now, not ruminating over the life that you don’t have, or that belongs to someone else.
#2. Enjoy the wonder of being unremarkable. You don’t need to be rich, famous, successful, unique and gorgeous to have a wonderful life. Practice mindfulness and focus on seeing wonder and intrigue in the everyday and mundane things. There are amazing things right in front of you, but you need to choose to look.
#3. Embrace values and decide who you want to become to be a better person. Choose values that will help you develop into the type of person you want to be. Research evidences that people who live in accordance and congruent to their values live happier lives.
Choose words that represent what’s important to you. They may look something like: committed, loyal, tenacious, honest, connected, dedicated, loving, devoted, smart, creative, quality, hard-working etc.
#4. The wonder of defusion. Embrace the idea that life is painful and to be human is to experience frustration, sadness, fear, disappointment, distress, heartache and destructive life events. Also understand that these states are temporary and will eventually pass.
The secret to defusion is to accept what is, and to let go of judgements and expectations of what should be.
Try this defusion exercise: Imagine you are a chess board (the actual board) and the black pieces represent the bad events and the white pieces represent the good. Look at the pieces that are on the board now and know that what you see will be different from what you will see tomorrow or next week.
Nothing remains the same – good days and bad days (and events/circumstances) come and go. The view on the board is constantly changing and evolving. There is no permanence so the key is to be able to accept what is currently, and know that things will be different in the time to come.