It is not like there is a formula for happiness. No one teaches you how to be happy at school.
For many of us, society presents the idea that happiness is achieved when you go to university, get a good job, buy a nice car and a nice place and meet someone, get married and have kids.
When these things have happened or haven't happened and you still find yourself unhappy, we are encouraged to acquire material possessions. Buy a new big TV, go on a yearly cruise holiday or move to a bigger house.
“Looking externally, especially at material things, will not make you authentically happy.”
Happy people have certain guidelines they choose to follow to guide them through the ups and downs life throws at all of us. The guidelines are flexible and they can certainly be changed, depending on what you need in your life at that time.
If you’re finding yourself feeling down, work through the checklist below and think about whether you are incorporating these guidelines in some way or another into your life.
Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not drag you down
Having a community and feeling a sense of belonging, is one of our critical needs as human beings. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs displays belonging as the third on the ladder to a balanced life. If your social group are the kind of people who inspire you or lift your energy when you’re around them, this will, in turn, help you feel happier and renewed.
A research study on social science, collected data from 5000 people over a two year period, and 4000 people over a four year period. People who identified themselves as depressed and who weren’t part of any social groups reduced their risk of depression relapse by 24% by joining one social group. The study also found if they joined three social groups, their risk of relapse into unhappiness was decreased by 63%.
Live with integrity
It is important for people to be able to know their morals and values and stand by those, as they are the pillars when it comes to who we are as individuals. We’re all so different and that’s what makes us beautifully unique. Lifestyle choices that may work for someone, may not work for another.
How do you incorporate these into your life to make you happier?
If spending time at the beach refills your batteries, you could look into how you would move closer to a beach so you can access it easier. If you know when something doesn’t feel right, speak up, voice your opinion and stand by what you believe in. If you don’t really love going out to a pub to drink too much and watch the footy, don’t go! Do something else that you like instead and start to understand what you love, and what you're just putting up with.
Get enough sleep
Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular basis. Are you getting enough? If you’re not, there are ways you can work on this area of your life, as not getting enough zzz’s means you won’t have much energy and your body and mind won’t be functioning at its fullest capacity.
Try cutting out your screen time an hour before sleep. The blue light from a TV, computer or phone screen has been proven to stimulate and not relax you.
Exercise in the morning to kick start your day and take in the beautiful morning light. This light helps to increase melatonin, which helps you get sleepy at night as your body works more with its natural circadian rhythm.
Know when you need ‘you time’
Everyone needs some peace and quiet in their lives. We’re always so busy and never really allow ourselves to just ‘be’ and as we’re human BEings - it’s kind of essential for a healthy (and happy) mental state of mind.
If you haven’t discovered already, here at the Happiness Hunter, we are big on meditation. Why? Because we know it works. Numerous studies have found meditation to have positive impacts on depression, mindfulness and compassion, both towards others and towards self.
Move it or lose it
Exercise has so many benefits for the physical and mental body, a lot of these are basic concepts and it is not rocket science. It is just about changing your perspective on exercise and setting healthy habits.
If you think ‘exercise’ and an image of a stuffy gym environment pops up, it probably is up there with one of the last things you would feel like doing at the end of a long work day. There are many more options for getting active; go for a daily walk outdoors listening to your favourite tracks, swim in an ocean pool and let the water wash off any negative thoughts or take a bushwalk with a friend and get the blood pumping.
Eat your greens
You may be asking how veggies can link to happiness?
There is a lot of research out there on how what we eat links to how we feel. Sugar and caffeine can give us energy highs and then low crashes, or carbs could make us feel bloated and tired.
Studies illustrate that women who eat diets rich in “Western” foods—namely “processed or fried foods, refined grains, sugary products, and beer”—are more likely to be depressed than their healthier-eating counterparts.
If you keep to these guidelines and tune into what works for your mind, body, and soul, you're on the road to a happier, more balanced life.
The Happiness Hunter is all about helping you navigate life.
The Happiness Hunter has a focus on life integration through a tested framework and provides ongoing support and accountability, as well as help to foster an incredibly supportive community to guide you in sustaining your change. The Happiness Hunter offers life coaching, workshops, and retreats and community walks to help you with one goal: happiness.