5 Ways to Increase Your Happiness
By Lorna Jane
"I'll be happy when I lose those twenty extra pounds."
"I'll be happy when my debts are paid off."
"I'll be happy when ..."
We live in a world of endless opportunities, living lives of abundance. And yet it seems we are still not happy...
Many of us see happiness as a future state, an elusive goal, a promise of something better once we get that great job, beautiful home, or perfect soul-mate. And while we often feel elated when we attain these goals, the bliss is usually short-lived - and quickly followed by a desire for something else, whether it's more money, a renovated kitchen or flowers on Valentine's Day. We spend so much time waiting for this future happiness that we are missing out on the most important thing - being happy NOW!
I believe happiness should be the ultimate purpose in your life and is achievable for all of us. It is not measured by material processions, fame or fortune, but by the way that we choose to live our lives, the relationships we form with those around us and our ability to live in the moment and find pleasure in the simple things. What makes each of us happy is as individual as we are...
That said, here are a few essential elements that I think can help you on your way to happiness:
1. Live a Healthier Life
Being healthy goes hand in hand with being happy and although not impossible, it's difficult to be happy if you're constantly sick or feeling low on energy. For optimum health and to give your body the green light as far as happiness is concerned, you need to eat a healthy well-balanced diet, keep active and make sure you're getting enough sleep.
2. Love What You Do
It's hard to be happy if you're doing things you hate... so why not organize your life to spend most of your time doing the things you enjoy? Spending your days in a job you love and are passionate about is one of the best things you can do in your pursuit of happiness. Alternately, if your job isn't particularly rewarding, find a hobby - an activity you do for pure enjoyment. Think about the stuff you loved as a kid - ballet classes, time spent in the library, beach volleyball - and then just go out and do it.
3. Treasure Your Relationships
Our success in life is not measured by how much money we make or by the things we possess, but by the many friends we have that love and respect us. Happy people invest time and energy into their relationships and experience the joy that it brings. When you care about others, when you reach out to others, when you give yourself to help others, you make a difference and not only bring happiness to those you love, but into your own life as well. It sounds so simple, but taking the time to tell loved ones how much you care can brighten the day of your partner, your family and your friends. Invest in your relationships and make those closest to you, as well as yourself, happier.
4. Play (For a Better Life)
Don't take life too seriously. Although we all have responsibilities, there's no reason why we can't approach much of our lives in a playful manner. In fact, those who do so will undoubtedly be happier. Whether you dust off your tennis racquet, head off to a theme park, or take the convertible out for a spin, is all up to you. Playing is not just for kids so go on and let your hair down. We're never too old or too sophisticated to have a good belly laugh. So challenge the stuffiness - it just might be one of the most important things you do for your life, your health and your happiness.
5. Do Things For YOU
Although this sounds really obvious, many people have difficulty finding the time to do the things that they truly enjoy. So what makes you happy? Sharing a sunset? Unexpected kisses? Pasta with friends? Bedtime with your kids? Dancing in the rain? Make a happiness list and a promise to yourself, to do them and to do them as often as possible. It's not the big pleasures that bring the most happiness, but it’s the little things that make a difference.
When it comes down to it, your happiness begins with the decision to change the way you live you life. Dare to be happy, and your life will begin to change immediately. Don't wait until you've got the perfect job, perfect partner or the perfect body. Start right now with a broad smile, and adopt happiness as your natural state, whatever your circumstances may be. Instead of spending all your time looking for happiness, find reasons to cherish the little things in your life that give you pleasure. Don't take even the smallest things for granted.
Take charge of your happiness. Live. Love. Laugh. And most importantly, share life's happiness with those around you.
If there is anything you would like me to write about, I would love to hear from you. Simply drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorna Jane Clarkson is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Lorna Jane, Australia's leading activewear brand for women (now available in the U.S.). With her passion for being active, her love for healthy food and recipes, not to mention her infectious positive outlook on life, Lorna inspires women to Move, Nourish and Believe every day.