HWH003: Happiness: 5 Tips To Become Happier Today

Happiness is an area of our life that we don’t often spend much time being intentional about growing in but yet it’s one of the most important areas. It’s easy in life to get into a routine and before we know it another year has gone by. It’s almost like we become a robot just going through the motions of our day to day tasks and responsibilities. Life seems to be flashing by and we become complacent when it comes to being intentional about living a life filled full of happiness. When we’re not being intentional about growing in happiness we’re letting opportunities to live a happier, more fulfilling life just slip through our fingers. If we’re going to live a richer life, we need to seize the opportunities to create more happiness for those around us and ourselves. Often times we get caught up in the flow of life, where we wake up go to work, come home, spend a little time with the family, watch some Netflix then go to bed only to do it all over again. It’s like we’re on autopilot and we become numb to the real joys of life because we’re so focused on the next thing that we need to do. So, to help us be more intentional about growing in happiness I’ve created a list of a few happiness tips that will bring more happiness into your life and to the lives of those around you.

  1. The first happiness tip is to remember to stop and smell the roses. I totally understand, sometimes in life we get really busy and we’re just trying to get everything done. But sometimes all we need to do is slow down and just take in a moment and enjoy life. Maybe this moment means sitting close to your spouse, or taking a minute to call your friend that you haven’t talked to in a while, or taking a moment to enjoy a beautiful view of a sunset. These special little moments can be a lot of different things. So, next time one of these moments presents itself take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy it.
  1. The second happiness tip is to complement someone in a genuine way. I like getting complements and I also like giving complements. I bet that you’re the same way. So if we like giving and receiving complements then why is it that we don’t do more of it? Giving complements is a win-win activity. When you complement someone, you win because it makes you feel good that you made someone else feel good and it’s also a win for the other person because the complement makes them feel good too. Both people end up happier. Let’s do more of this!
  1. The third thing is to build someone up. Sometimes I call this talking someone up or lifting someone up. This is similar to a complement but it’s a little different in that its focus is to make the other person feel more capable and confident. In this case you tell someone that they’re good at something, you point out how they’re helping with the rest of the team, and/or you tell them how good of a job they’re doing. You can find lots of opportunities to do this at work. Don’t tell people they’re good at something unless they really are, otherwise you’ll start to lose credibility. The nice thing about this tip is that everyone is good at something so you should be able to find at least one point to make in order to build someone up. This one is a big one especially if you’re in some sort of leadership role such as a manager at your work, or if you’re the owner of a business, or you’re a parent. Any kind of leadership role requires that the leader instills confidence into their team. You need to have a team that is confident in their abilities if you, as the leader, want your team performing at the highest level possible.
  1. The fourth happiness tip is to forgive those who have done you wrong. This is probably the hardest for me because I tend to hold on to grudges. I have a friend who I really admire who is really good at letting go of grudges and forgiving those who have crossed him. When people have crossed him in the past he was mad about the situation in the moment, but he was able to quickly forgive. He has been someone who has been quick to let go of grudges and quick to forgive those who have done him wrong. This is how we need to live our lives. Holding on to grudges and stewing over past events only brings frustration and anger into our lives. That’s not what we want. That’s not how we live a rich life. Let go of the grudges, let go of the anger, and focus on forgiving.
  1. The next happiness tip is to make the most out of bad situations. When you’re given lemons make lemonade. I know, this is sometimes easier said than done. This requires creativity and a “can-do” attitude. Very few things seem to go exactly as planned so be ready to be proactive and resourceful. Be prepared to turn a bad situation into a good situation. Look for the silver lining in the situation and think of ways that you can benefit others or yourself with the given circumstances.
  1. Bonus tip: Count your blessings. We all have been blessed in one way or another and it’s important that when we’re striving to do more that we stop and be grateful for what we have and who we get to share it with. To help me with this I’ve actually taken the time to write down many of the things that I’m grateful for. I highly recommend this exercise because it forces you to count the things that make your life a little bit better. I like the idea of having blessing list or a blessing journal because it reinvigorates that feeling of gratitude which I believe creates more happiness in our lives.

Being intentional about happiness will bring more joy to yourself and those around you. I’ve often seen in life that when we bring happiness to others we bring happiness to ourselves at the same time. There’s just something that feels good about helping others feel good. I believe that we as humans are reciprocators. What I mean by this is when we’re nice to someone, most times, they’re nice back. When we bring happiness into the lives of others, most times, others will bring happiness into our life. Life is too short to not be happy. There are so many opportunities to bring happiness to others and ourselves we just need to be intentional about seizing those opportunities. So, go get some happy!

Takeaway points:

  1. Are you bringing happiness into the lives of those around you? If not, what do you need to start doing so that you are?
  2. Have you taken a moment lately to just enjoy the presence of those you love?
  3. Have you complemented someone or talked someone up lately? Get into the habit of doing this.
  4. Are you holding on to grudges that you need to let go of? Take a minute to focus on letting go of that frustration and tell yourself that you’re done being mad about that and you wont let it bother you anymore.
  5. Do your best to make the most out of bad situations.
  6. Finally, count your blessings!

Why Bad Days Are Good

Sometimes in life we must see the silver lining in the storm clouds that we experience. I believe that one of the ways that we can do this is by looking at the benefit of having bad days. We’ve all had those days when nothing seems to go right or we encounter what seems like insurmountable difficulties, those days where at the end of them we sigh in relief that they’re over. Maybe one of these days would look something like: you spill coffee on yourself when you’re getting in your car to go to work, traffic is backed up so you get to work late, it seems as though your client does everything in their power to make your job harder, you come down with some sort of stomach bug after lunch, you get everything from the store except what you went there for, and your spouse rinds you that the power bill was due last week and had you said you were going to take care of it but forgot. Ever have a day like that when it seems like nothing goes right? Or maybe you have experienced an incredible loss, such as the loss of a loved one, or the loss of a job, or felt the feeling of failure, or felt the feeling of hurt from the conflict with a loved one. I know you’ve had a day or even extended periods of time in your life when you experienced something like this. When it comes to these types of experiences, I’d like to encourage you to remember them, stop, take a minute, and reflect on how terrible they were. Even though it feels so good to forget about bad days I believe it’s important to not completely let go of these times. Why? Because we must know the bad days in order to know the good days. We must have experienced days that don’t go very well in order to appreciate days that do go well. If somehow every day was good we would become accustomed to good days, we would become numb to good days, and we would lose appreciation for how well things are going in our lives. I know this idea of remembering bad days in order to better appreciate good days can seem counter intuitive, but I believe that in remembering the difficult times the good times are that much better.

Recently, I had one of these bad days and at the end of this bad day I reflected on it with someone I love. Taking a moment to realize how bad it was allowed me appreciate not being immersed in the ugliness of the bad day any longer. It was over, gone, and behind me. I could now move on and focus on how great the present time was. It was because of this difficult time that I had that I was able to really enjoy, so immensely, the time after this rough day. I have a special type of appreciation for the difficult times that I’ve had in my life because it allows me to truly appreciate the times that I have that are wonderful. Remembering those hard times can make the good times that much richer.

If you want to get the most out of life and want to appreciate the good moments that you experience a little bit more, I urge you to occasionally take a moment to reflect on the difficult times that you’ve encountered. Remembering these hard times will help you to realize how much better life is now, how good you have it, and will allow you to enjoy life in a new light. The blessings in life are easier to count after going through a rough patch. So, I hope that you better appreciate those days when things go well: when you don’t spill the coffee, when traffic isn’t backed up, when you have good health, when you do remember what you needed at the store, and when you get to enjoy those special moments with the ones that you love. Don’t fear the bad times, embrace them as something that will help you to grow and will help you to live a happier and richer life.

Takeaway:

Are you stopping and taking a moment to really appreciate your life?

Have you had some rough times in life that can remind you of how good you have it now?

Are you going through something difficult now that you can use to help you appreciate better times in the future?

Life Lesson From Chopping Firewood

In the summer of 2015 I went with my good friend Sam to cut fire wood. Being someone who grew up around plenty of apple wood I never had chopped firewood before because apple wood was small enough that it didn’t need to be split. After Sam fell an old dead tree, we got out the axes, and it was time to start splitting. I remember thinking to myself before I started how easy it was going to be, I mean, all you have to do is slam the axe into the wood right? Wrong. I chopped and chopped and chopped and I couldn’t get the wood to split. After about 16 swings and no success Sam stopped me and said “You’re doing it wrong”. At this point I was a little frustrated and I thought to myself, “How do you chop wood wrong? There’s only one way to do it.” Sam took the axe from me and as I curiously watched he brought the axe up over his head and slammed it down with every ounce of energy he had and sure enough the wood split. After watching Sam, it hit me, to split the wood you had to swing as hard as you could, and if you didn’t, then the wood wouldn’t split. Sure enough, when I put every ounce of energy into my swing, the firewood split. Later, I realized the same is true in life, if you want to be successful you have to give it everything you’ve got – every time – otherwise you’re just chopping at wood that will never split. Often in life we become complacent in our level of effort and then wonder why we’re not achieving our goals. If you’ve ever feel like you’re not getting where you want to be in life, maybe it’s time to look at your level of effort and choose to start swinging like Sam.

Takeaway Questions:

  1. Are you contributing enough energy towards your goals in order to achieve them?
  2. Do you need to cut out unnecessary things from your life in order to give you more time and energy to focus on your goals?
  3. Are you goals clear? Are they SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based?
  4. Are you holding yourself accountable for reaching milestones that will help you reach your goals?
  5. Are your goals helping you to reach your dreams?