Achieving happiness has become a goal for many of us. Wherever I travel people ask me if Danish happiness is a myth or a truth. I came from London yesterday where I met at least 7-8 people that were curious about this topic. I have to admit that I do not believe in the westernized idea of happiness, nor that we can achieve it by any means. Happiness is not out there. It’s present; it’s here. It’s about you choosing to tap into it or not to tap into it in every single moment.
Scheduling quality time with your children or partner, or scheduling time for self-care, self-love and other human activities makes me think of us as robots, not humans.
I have to admit that this realization came after years of living western lifestyle. My schedule was full for months in advance. Every social event, even a walk or a coffee with a friend would be scheduled on the calendar for the weeks to come. For example, you invite people for dinner a month or two months in advance. In the meantime you don’t speak to each other, you don’t see each other, but they'd show up on the exact day, and you’d have your scheduled time to socialize. If you don’t feel like socializing that day - I’m sorry, it's on your calendar.
So, if we have to follow the schedule for our work/study commitments, our children’s activities, or maybe even our exercise routines, what is it that we don’t have to schedule to live our human lives and express our human nature? Is our meticulous schedule making us happy? Does it give us enough space to think about anything else but ourselves?
Who are the happy people?
Happy people are those who are more interested in other people’s problems, and they want to help. They are altruistic, they give money away, or they volunteer. They will give a hand if a family member, a colleague or a friend needs it. They care about the world. They are able to turn outward and think about problems of other people. They are healthier, have healthier habits, and they make better team members and better leaders.
When people are unhappy, they tend to stay within their realm of problems; they become isolated and defensive. They don’t cope with diversity very well.
How to feel happier?
Starting with your body is an excellent idea. I’ll explain why. Physical experience always informs the emotional experience. If you have the energy and vitality, that will affect everything that you do. If you want to be happier, get enough sleep and cultivate exercising habits.
Sleep will affect your mood, concentration, energy levels, immune function, hunger, and satiety, as well as the processes that help in gaining muscles/losing fat.
Relationships - to feel happy we need to feel like we have meaningful and intimate bonds, that we belong, that we can confide and that we can get support. Take a look at your relationships and be honest - do you have someone who is close to you?
Self-knowledge is a crucial part of the happiness equation. If you don’t know yourself, you won’t be happy. You can build a happy life only on the firm foundation of your nature, interests, and values.
What I know for sure is that happiness is coming from taking action.
Ask your self - what can I do now to feel little happier instead of how can I achieve happiness?
You’ve probably heard about the correlation between expectations and happiness. Some people would say that to be happy we need to lower our expectations. This notion has never resonated with me, and thanks to my teacher Gretchen Rubin, I understand that happiness is not about reducing the expectations, but understanding our attitude towards the inner and the outer expectations. In other words, are you able to meet the expectations that you have for yourself and on the other hand, are you able to meet the expectations that others have from you?
If this sounds like monkey business, keep reading for one more minute.
As per Gretchen Rubin, there are four tendencies and knowing which one is yours will help you design the environment in which you’ll be inspired to take the constant action. None of us is the same, and none of us gets inspired in the same way. Here's the brief overview:
1. UPHOLDERS - they are the most disciplined of all. They happily respond to both outer and inner expectations.
2. QUESTIONERS - they question everything. If it sounds reasonable to them, they’ll do it. If not, they won’t.
3. REBELS - resist all expectations - outer and inner alike. They want to do what they want to do, and if you ask them to do something, they’ll likely do the opposite.
4. OBLIGERS - very good in meeting the outer expectations, but hard with personal expectations.
In order to help you discover your tendency, I’m sharing the link to the online test that will help you do just that. After submitting your email address, you’ll receive a short but detailed guide on how you can tackle your barriers and actually take the action. It's not the annoying and spammy newsletter, and you can always unsubscribe from it if you don't feel like you get the value from it.
Everything that I am sharing in this post is proven and free, and I wish for you to use it for good.
Now, I'd love to learn what's your tendency? Feel free to share in the comments below.
With much love,