5 Ways to Lead a Happier Life
How Can You Become Happier?
Statistics from a long-term Harvard medical study regarding happiness and well being found that the most important aspect of happiness were positive relationships (as cited in Inc, 2019). Imagine that, out of all the social media, video messaging like Skype, Facetime, Zoom etc. yet we still seem unhappy? In psychological terms, what are some of the ways we can understand and address these problems?
Happiness is a relative term. Why? Because happiness means different things for different people. To me happiness is a connection with family and friends whereas to you it might mean owning a luxury car or visiting the Bahamas. Though it’s still difficult to argue with a study that’s been studied for over 75 years and overwhelmingly places emphasis on relationships. Whatever the thing is, you know what makes you happy. Sometimes when our happiness levels decrease, we find ourselves frustrated and upset, like life threw a fit at us just for existing! Everybody has that basic need and right to happiness (as Abraham Maslow would say in relating to his hierarchies of need — for more on Maslow, scroll down to the link below this article). So without further adieu, here are 5 ways to achieve the happiness that includes relationships:
1) Happiness comes from being you, yes you. How? Being you means you are true to yourself, you are your best friend, you are your own hero in the story, you are your own enemy. This is a particular problem out of many. Usually, the problems resides within us and when our worries are healed, we tend to feel ‘fine’ again. So look within yourself, perhaps some mindfulness, walk in the park, reflecting can help you find certain problems that are bothering you, most of all, respect and love yourself.
2) Having a good set of friends can help you wonders. We tend to revolve our lives and identities around friends who have been a big part of our lives. When our friends support us, we confide in them and we often come up with solutions that can be so beneficial to us. However, associating with friends who aren’t serving you, who aren’t giving you the support you need, can leave you feeling stressed. You need to make priorities, be with those who want to see you succeed and let go of those not wanting to see you rise. As the study shows, find ‘meaningful relationships’, so quality over quantity is very important here.
3) Goals goals and more goals. How you may ask? Well, part of our happiness revolves around goals. When was the last time you set goals and achieved them? When was the last time you had a plan? Or did you just go about your life hoping for the best? When we have goals, we have a path which we aim to tread, so having achievable yet clear goals makes you more likely to achieve the thing you set out do, leading you to be happier. Therefore try and make one week, two week and four week plans that are small yet challenging enough for you to achieve i.e. read a book, go for a jog, learn to cook a dish or even watch your favourite Netflix series that you’ve missed.
4) Dot not measure your success against other people. This is the most common issue I see in relationships, to compare what we have/don’t have in relation to others. It’s a false measure, as thinking the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ doesn’t always mean it is. Yes sometimes we can improve ourselves but if you have the belief ‘I don’t have what Joe has, or I don’t have what Jane has’ and say if you achieve what others have, what are you likely to do? The thing you wanted gets less interesting and you start looking for more satisfaction and looking further away to more and more things. It’s a vicious cycle. The appropriate thing to do is be yourself, look at your own goals, assess your own values, find out who you are, not how other people are. You are unique, there’s no one else like you in this world, so why leave that, to be someone else?
5) Lastly, try and meet people in-person. It’s great viewing people behind a screen but to actually be there in the atmosphere and given moment, gives a richer experience. You can plan activities together, catch-up on things and enjoy each other’s company. Or, if you are daring, plan regular group activities with friends so that a stronger bond is established. If you think you aren’t seeing your friends enough or if they aren’t initiating planned activities, why don’t you be the first one to make a move? People will respect you for your leadership, that’s a big trait to turn away from. You got this!