Do you want to increase your happiness? There is more than enough to go around and it is free to make more and more. One could argue the supply of happiness is endless.
Then why are people so unhappy all of the time?
I think we live such busy, hectic lives that we are stressed out most of the time. We don’t spend time doing things we love and eventually we forget the joy we once derived from simple pleasures. We get caught up in daily chores, work, responsibilities, and commitments and forget to do the little things that bring us joy.
I would argue that if you want to increase your happiness, if you want to be a better person, if you want to be the best YOU possible; that it takes work. It takes some introspection and quiet time. But all of the time and effort is worth it once you can find ways to maximize your happiness, reduce your stress and spend time with the people who bring out the best in you.
With that in mind, here are 10 questions to get you thinking about what truly makes you happy.
- When is your smile its brightest?
- What are you doing when you find yourself whistling or humming?
- When does time fly by for you?
- Whose company are you sharing when you are most relaxed?
- Where are you when you know you are at your happiest?
- What are you doing when you know you are doing your best?
- What are you doing when mistakes don’t bother you?
- Where are you when you are wishing you didn’t have to leave?
- What are you doing when you wish you could get paid for doing it?
- Who were you with when you had your last full-blown belly laugh?
Go look at your schedule, set aside a couple of hours of quality, quiet time and spend some time on yourself. If 2 hours seems impossible, schedule a few 30 minute sessions. Keep that appointment with yourself and when the time comes breathe, relax, breathe. This is a very personal exercise and most likely needs to be undertaken alone. Go find a quiet place and put on your thinking cap. Pour yourself a glass of wine, cup of tea or pint of beer.
Ask yourself one of the 10 questions and pay attention to what pops into your mind. Pay attention to images, words, and feelings. When you are done, write down everything that came to mind. Rinse, lather and repeat for the rest of the questions.
Write down everything because once you leave this quiet, happy place; life will get in your way and you will forget everything you learned! Chances are you will not finish this challenge in 1 sitting! That is ok, this is a process, eventually things will click into place.
Once you figure out your answers to these types of questions you can begin to find ways to increase time with the people, activities, and places that bring you joy. Taking small but meaningful steps to do this will slowly increase your happiness. As you succeed at doing this, you spend more time in happy vs unhappy mode and this gets your brain to firing off more ways to maximize joy. Sometimes small changes can have a huge impact on the quality of your life.
Pretty soon you will begin to strategically design your life (YES I said design it) to maximize your happiness. I can’t think of anything better than that! Can you?