Happiness is a super interesting topic. Not least because of our universal desire to be a little happier, a little more upbeat and more content in life. But also, because we realise that happiness is much more than a positive mood and a smiling face as you bounce from one joyful moment to the next. A difficult personal state to define, positive psychology sees happiness as a combination of how satisfied you are with your life and how good you feel on a day-to-day basis.
While there are some basics underpinning the art of happiness, true happiness is much more complicated than a simple checklist of feeling great all the time, having all the money in the world, never having to deal with the negative or a final destination. Luckily, there is plenty of excellent, well-evidenced research out there to help you increase your life satisfaction and grow your career.
6 instant happiness boosters
Here are 6 instant mood boosters that you can build into your work day to increase your happiness levels.
Handwrite a thank you card to somebody who did something nice for you.
Turn up the volume and listen to your favourite song. Think Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now, Survivor – Eye of the Tiger, Abba – Dancing Queen.
If circumstances allow clear space and dance – wildly and without a care.
Even if you are busy take 5 minutes to offer a helping hand. It might even be as simple as making a cup of tea or coffee for somebody who looks under pressure.
Watch something that makes you laugh. Personally, I love The Pep Talk from Kid President.
Go outside and get some exercise. Walk, skip, run, climb the stairs. Even for 5 minutes get up, get out and get some fresh air.
6 ways to increase long term happiness
Making time to spend with family, friends and people you care about has a significant impact on long term happiness. Social time is beyond valuable and staying in touch with family and friends is key when it comes to improving our happiness. In fact, not spending enough time with family and friends is one of the top five regrets of the dying. So, if you work, make wise use your evenings and weekends. Switch off from work, turn off your phone, ignore emails and try to bring yourself into the moment.
Seek new experiences
Get out there and make a fresh start. Stretch, challenge and push yourself to start that new hobby, run that marathon, climb a mountain for charity, start that new course or learn to swim. By seeking out new experiences and using all your senses to pay attention to the little details of the experience, like the sights, sounds and smell you strengthen the parts of the brain connected with happiness.
Happiness does not mean avoiding the negative or ignoring the difficult. Life is a road with many bumps. It’s not always easy, and definitely not full of experiences you would choose if you had a choice. Adversity, when faced up to and dealt with, builds resilience. Once you get some time, distance and perspective, adversity, that you learn from, helps you to grow into a happier version of yourself.
Study after study shows that the capacity to really appreciate and see the joy in daily experiences is an incredibly powerful habit in the pursuit of increased happiness. The simple act of jotting down three things that happened during your day that you are grateful for is immense. These can be the simplest of things that are meaningful to you that you write down just before going to sleep at night.
Live your own life
A life lived in comparison to others, or according to what you think others expect or want from you, is not typically a recipe for happiness. Comparing your start, middle or end to somebody else’s life will not make you happy. In fact, it will drain you of your uniqueness and individuality. One small step at a time, stop yourself from comparing what you have, how you look or the way you act to others.
Recharge and fuel yourself adequately. Get outside for some exercise, eat good food and get 7 hours sleep at night. These are the basics that we all should be doing at the micro level that lay the foundations for everything else that we do. Even when armed with this information, it is not possible to feel happy all the time. Remember, happiness is a state of personal well-being that you must constantly and consistently work to see growth and improvement.
Keep on designing your own version of career success.
By Sinead Brady