How To get out of a rut and make your life HAPPIER
Katy writes ….
Cooking a tomato sauce stirring slowly and watching it bubble …
Squeezing my kid and smelling her hair …
Gazing at the delicate petals of a spring snowdrop …
If I tune in to when I felt happy today, these are the s-m-a-l-l moments.
Happy for me is not a continuous mood or backdrop. Happy is not the absence of pain, pressure or adversity.
Overall today was back-to-back busy with coaching sessions, deadlines and appointments. There were tense moments in my close relationships. I felt under pressure at times. I could easily look back on this day and just be grateful it’s over! But, when I tune into the small moments of joy, connection and wellbeing, I realise that they did exist. I can feel more balanced and that the day was a good one overall.
Studies have shown that women’s happiness is declining. Unrealistic societal expectations create a consistent sense of failure. Working mothers particularly experience more stress .
In our hyper connected world, we feel more ‘wired’ than ever before, and yet our sense of loneliness, self-esteem and joy can feel lower than ever.
We’ve made gains in the workplace and public life, but not in our overall levels of happiness it seems.
For me it’s new to consider whether I feel happy. It wasn’t a thing for me growing up. Do I feel useful, worthy, like I’m making a difference – yes - but happy in and of itself? No, that felt indulgent, flippant, selfish, irrelevant even.
Maybe you’ve had similar ‘rules’ shaping your expectations around happiness.
Now I know that I can find moments of happiness each day, that no one else is going to ‘make me happy’ and that I can create more happiness in my life, whatever the circumstances.
Rather than waiting for the right circumstances (‘I’ll be happy when….’) we can create happiness right here, right now.
So how do we do this?
It’s all about priming our brains for more positive experiences in our life. Creating the core conditions for happiness by building optimism, hope, and amplifying the joy. It’s also about how we minimise or reduce the things that erode our happiness.
Here’s another example: If I log what I’ve done every hour of a particularly full day, I can feel happy (because the feeling of accomplishment and achievement are connected to happiness for me). If I can’t remember what I’ve done through a busy day, I can feel a sense of failure, and failure makes me feel unhappy. By taking an intentional action (recording what I do on a particular day) I can increase my sense and feeling of happiness.
It’s possible to be clear about what happiness means for ME.
It’s possible to build more happiness into each day, week and month of my life.
In the same way that we have regular habits around our physical wellbeing – cleaning our teeth, taking a shower, exercising – what I’ve learned is there are practical ways to create regular habits around our mental wellbeing, and to feel happier every day.
Practical strategies for living a happier life
1. Decide how you want to feel in your life. What does happiness feel like for you? It could be joy, peace, contentedness, gratitude, awe, fun, mastery, completion, belonging, connection….
2. Visualise how you want to feel – picture it - explore it – experience it in your imagination – then you can access this visualisation to feel how you want to feel – anytime!
3. Discover the things that make you feel that way you want to feel.
4. Do more of those things. Build them into your daily life.
5. Amplify the joy – those small moments where there is pleasure and flow and beauty – find them and relish them!
6. Be intentional - At the beginning of each day ask yourself ‘how can I feel XX today?’ (insert the thing you most want to feel) Where will I amplify the joy today?
7. Assess at the end of each day – did I feel the way I wanted to feel today? What will I do differently tomorrow?
8. Clarify - what was the noise that eroded my happiness today – it could be relationships, particular anxieties. Start to notice this, note it down, you’ll start to see patterns. We start to become more aware of what’s taking up our thought life and then over time make more space for the thoughts and experiences that make us feel good.
9. Use an affirmation. Say this to yourself each day and see what starts to happen: ‘I deserve to be happy’ or ‘it’s ok for me to feel happy’ or ‘I give myself permission to be happy’.
· What does being happy mean for you?
· What other emotions are involved for you in ‘happiness’? Can you name them…?
· Can you think of something small (an action or an experience) that enables you to feel that emotion?
· Can you build something into this day that creates that emotion for you?
· How can you create more space for the things that really matter to you?
Want to go deeper?
We’re celebrating International Day of Happiness, 20 March 2019, by inviting you to join us for ‘How to Get out of a Rut and Live the Life You Want to Lead’ webinar. It’s the first in our 2019 series of ‘How To’ monthly coaching webinars.
In this Webinar you’ll learn how to:
· create your core conditions for happiness and prime your brain for positivity
· get crystal clear about what makes YOU happy
· make simple changes to make your daily life happier
· create your own personal happiness blueprint
WARNING This webinar can seriously increase your sense of wellbeing!
You’ll leave with practical strategies for living a happier life.
Feels too flippant in these tumultuous times?
There’s a direct link between our levels of happiness and our professional performance. There’s a direct link between our levels of happiness and our engagement, morale and quality of our relationships.
It’s our belief that paying attention to our own joy, wellbeing and resilience is ESSENTIAL when we are stepping up as leaders.
And don’t worry, this is just the first of our monthly webinars!
Future topics include how to :
Beat overwhelm, feel spacious, and get more done
Create a career plan that gives you the life you want
Get visible without feeling like a fraud
Train your brain so you can be at your best
Smash an interview and get the job you really want
Stop being a people pleaser
Grow your network without it feeling fake