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Happiness is relative in the sense that everyone defines it differently. For some people, happiness is nothing more than a healthy family and food on the dinner table. For others, happiness is defined by success and wealth.
No matter how you choose to define happiness, there are certain lifestyle changes that can bring joy to anybody – irrespective of current emotional, financial or social condition. These five small changes can make a world of difference as long as you keep an open mind. So, take the challenge to increase general happiness and watch as you gradually reap the benefits.
- Establish a level of acceptance. One of the most common reasons for frustration has a lot to do with what we choose to accept – both in ourselves and in others. As humans we tend to place emphasis on what is acceptable and what it is not, instead of simply accepting things as they are. Perhaps you have trouble managing money and have to pay off debt. Instead of beating yourself up about it: accept it, acknowledge it and work on ways to improve it. A positive attitude on the situation will increase happiness within yourself, as well as those around you. On the other hand, there will always be people whose actions bother you. The most important thing is remember is that we cannot change anybody; we can only change the way we react to them.
- Set goals that you know you can accomplish. We’ve all set an unreasonably difficult goal for ourselves at one time or another (New Year’s resolution, anyone?). Bottom line: don’t set unrealistic goals because they will always leave you right back where you started. Instead, pick an attainable goal and work towards it steadily. If you’d like to lose 50 pounds total, then start by setting a goal to lose five. If you’d like to run a marathon, start by running a mile a day. When we set goals that we can accomplish, it not only improves our self-esteem, but it takes us one step closer to our ultimate goal.
- Incorporate exercise into your life. You’ve heard it before: working out is great for you in so many ways. But it’s true. Science has shown us that exercise is good for both mind and body. It may seem redundant, but if it’s worked for so many people, it will likely work for you. Start out by taking a walk everyday; you’ll be amazed at how quickly you become hooked.
- Realize the importance of your relationships. Whether you realize it or not, humans are emotional creatures. Maintaining healthy love, family and friend relationships is of the utmost importance in achieving personal happiness. Remember the people most important in your life and let them know how much you care. It sounds simple, but that’s because it is. An email or phone call to a loved one to let them know you’re thinking about them will undoubtedly help you maintain and grow your relationships. It will remind them how much you care about them; but even more so, it will remind you how much they care about you. No matter how busy your schedule may be, always make time for the people you care about most.
- Make time for yourself. This one probably seems obvious, but it is frequently overlooked. People don’t typically visit the therapist’s office because they do too many nice things for themselves. In fact, they probably visit for the opposite reason; they prioritize others’ needs before their own. While it’s great to help others both at home and at work, sometimes we need to be a little more selfish. Try to take five minutes a day and ask: “How am I doing today? Do I need to take care of myself before moving on to the next task?” This simple, five minute exercise will help you take your personal needs into account, while minimizing the chance that you’ll come home from work frustrated, anxious or hungry. Plus, it will help you become more in touch with your mind and body.
These five ways to increase happiness are guaranteed to help you do so. It is important that we take advantage of the simple things we can do for ourselves. This way, we can find happiness in all aspects of life – even on our roughest days.