Vitality is the key
Vital moments are those that are highly meaningful. They come from moving in the directions you have chosen to take. They may be pleasant and even joyful, however, they may also be painful at times. But what makes them vital is the fact that they are evidence of a life fully lived, moving in a direction that is consistent with your values. So, start by….
Writing a list of cool things to do, and doing them
Make a bucket list – not even long lofty goals of things that must be achieved before you die, but things you would really like to do right now, ideally that can be started this week – a skill to learn, a place to visit or some other exceptional things. You can also list the things you would like to get rid of.
Actively working towards goals is perhaps just as important for our well-being than achieving the end results we’re aiming for. Setting goals and achieving them builds self-esteem because we get a sense of accomplishment, even if we just reach a milestone, which is why setting big goals with mini goals inside them makes us much happier. It’s all about momentum and actively working towards your goals every day, even if just for a small amount of time. And don’t forget to celebrate your win.
Say yes more
Every time you do something new you develop as a person. One of the best ways to live a full life is to focus on goals and learning skills which can be pretty scary at first for fear of the unknown. What are you capable of if you just give yourself the chance? The thing that is probably holding you back the most is fear, so make it a resolution to start…
Embracing your fears
Fear, when embraced, can bring huge rewards. Not just in the lessening of the fear, but also an increase of self-esteem. Doors of opportunity open and we become people we didn’t ever imagine being, and do things we never dared to dream that we might.
Don’t go it alone
The best moments in life don’t happen when you’re sitting around alone. Studies show if you add a social element to your activity, you’ll experience more happiness for longer. If you work from home this is an important fact to remember. Find activities that will bring you closer to others and create other opportunities too. Start going to an evening class, join a gym or sign up for a course. We all have the option to stay stuck in our comfort zones. Even if you are a quiet soul and like nothing more than reading a good book, you only have one life, and it will pass you sooner than you think.
Ditch your quest for hedonic happiness
There are two types of happiness – hedonic and eudaemonic. Hedonic is the pleasure principle and eudaemonic is a full engagement with life. The transient emotions of pleasure and gratification like all feelings, fade. No matter how hard we try to hold onto them, feelings of happiness slip away every time, and a life spent in pursuit of them is unsatisfying. What we should be aiming for instead is a feeling of contentment from living a life of vitality.
Find gratitude in what you have. This is the most important trick in the book, if you can just work on shifting your mindset towards appreciation, because ultimately all we have is now and whatever is happening in your life, it could be worse. Constantly wanting more is a horrible place to be. And you must always remember there is someone, somewhere, who is less fortunate you. There is always a reason to be grateful, which leads me to my next point…
Help those in need
And you’ll also be helping yourself. Realign the balance of energy. We do so much taking of natural resources being useful can only add to our happiness, and massively enhances it if you listen to spiritual teachings, which is another fail safe option on learning how not to waste your life. Get involved in your local community or find a charity to volunteer for, or even just visit someone who is lonely. Giving back makes everyday life less boring and repetitive.
We are faced with so many choices – life is easy so ironically we are more anxious. Think of your life as a pie chart divided into five sections – work, home, relationships, family and leisure. Rather than just reacting to whatever turns up, decide which are most important to you and aim at them instead. You can reflect on the next few years and include your goals too.
It’s the feature that precedes nearly all successes and yet it’s often bone-chillingly terrifying. The mind will try everything in its power to prevent us from doing something that makes us feel bad—even if it will benefit us in the long term. But there’s nothing shameful about failing. In fact, it’s only in exposing ourselves to failure that our sense of failure and anxiety can dissipate. Just remember that even if you see something as a mistake you will still learn from it. In fact, you will probably learn a whole lot more than if it runs really smoothly and you perceive it as a success. The absolute worst thing to do is stop moving towards your goals. When you stop acting, ironically, you feel a sense of failure more intensely. Our anxiety increases and we begin to lost confidence in ourselves.
Quit your whingeing
Be aware of how often you focus on negatives and put a stop to those unnecessary and energy sapping thoughts. One of the best ways to do this is to physically remind yourself of what you’re doing. Wear a rubber band on your wrist and snap it every time you hear yourself complaining. Recognising negative thinking will help you reduce it, and the physical sensation on your wrist can help train your mind to stop altogether.
The meaning of life is no longer as clear as it once was. Never have so many people been unsure about their purpose. To find meaning in the moment you need to find a broader mission. What is it you are here to do? If you’re still searching, sum up your skills, your qualities and most importantly what makes you tick – this will give you a clearer idea. It takes life experience for most people to figure this out, so if you’re still stuck try out some activities or jobs that can help give you more of an idea. Small successes are what give our lives meaning, not achieving some huge plan (although that is always a plus!) Listen to your intuition. You’ll find you instinctively gravitate to things that have meaning to you.
There are many studies on the benefits of meditations and it really is proven to make you happier. Each of us has a natural set point in our brains for both good and bad emotions. Even when major events occur in a person’s life scientists have found that brain chemistry shifts back to its normal point within about six months. One study showed that meditating for an hour a day over eight weeks makes you happier. Follow-up tests showed that these individuals’ set points had changed—to the extent that their normal level of mental happiness had been raised. They also showed an increase in empathy, becoming better equipped at picking up emotional cues from others. On the physical level, the researchers found that the meditators’ immune system responses had also improved.
Conjure up some positivity
Even though it’s nice to have a whinge, it actually really isn’t. Putting negative energy out into the world just keeps you in that negative state, or worse, pushes you to find ways to validate your negativity sending you into a spiral of depression. Unfortunately for our modern day happiness, our brains are wired to focus on negative emotions because they can signal danger. But consciously thinking pleasurable thoughts on a regular basis is like resetting your brain to radiate more contentment. Set your phone to beep every hour, then take a pleasure break and spend a minute running through positive memories. The more positive emotions you simulate, the more neural connections you’ll build in the area of your brain that controls feelings of contentment.