Happiness is such a buzzword and it’s a goal of many clients when they come to therapy. In today’s post, we want to share five, possibly counter-intuitive “hacks” to cultivating more happiness and contentment in your own life.
1) Lower your standards.
So many of us expect that we should be consistently happy most of the time that we set a fairly impossible bar for ourselves and are often disappointed when we find ourselves unhappy and “falling short.”
We’re not saying that you shouldn’t continue to strive towards happiness, but recognize it’s only one part of the emotional experience you’re going to face during your days and weeks.
By lowering our standards, our expectation that we “should” be happy all of the time, paradoxically we can increase our sense of overall well-being and contentment by reducing the disappointment in ourselves when we feel something other than “happy.”
2) Invest the time, inquiry, energy, and even finances into cultivating work that fulfills you.
The reality is that most of us will spend our lives working to make our way in the world.
Investing all the necessary time, inquiry, energy, and even finances into making sure it’s work that fits you well, harnesses your strengths, and fulfills you, is one of the most worthwhile investments you can ever make as since you’ll be spending a vast majority of your waking hours doing it.
3) Decrease or eliminate contact with those who drain, criticize, dislike or don’t support you.
This may sound obvious but the people we spend time with impact our well-being and happiness enormously.
And yet many of us think we’re stuck if we happen to have family or in-laws or old friends who don’t make us feel good. You’re never stuck and you always get to choose who you want contact with!
Even if this is family. I’m not saying you have to estrange yourself from them (though if you choose to do this if it’s right for you that’s totally valid!), but decreasing the amount of time you spend with them is always an option and increasing the amount of time and contact you gave with people who genuinely uplift you will do wonders for your happiness levels.
4) Take a holistic, integral physiological and psychological approach to your happiness.
With professional support, rule out any underlying physical health challenges that may be contributing to a sense of depression or lack of well being.
Work with a therapist to address any unresolved trauma or chronic negative thinking patterns that may be interfering with your happiness.
You can start doing all the new happiness-inducing habits in the world, but if you’re suffering from unprocessed trauma or a low-functioning thyroid, for instance, you’re swimming upstream when it comes to your happiness.
5) Work at appreciating what you actually already have.
So few of us fully appreciate the healthy functionality of our bodies, the relative ease of our Western lives, or the fact that we’ve woken yet again to live another day.
As the old Joni Mitchell song goes, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone…”
Taking the time to regularly take stock of your life and notice what’s going well, what’s already present can do wonders for boosting our happiness levels.
A great way of doing this is a daily gratitude journaling practice where you can list 10 things you’re grateful for, 10 ways you experienced abundance lately, and 10 ways you were shown love lately.
What other “happiness hacks” would you add to this list? Leave your response in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!