It’s the eighth day of January. How are your New Year’s resolutions going so far?
Quit smoking, lose weight, perhaps you’re aspiring to achieve better health and financial security this 2014, maybe you also want to aim for a happier and more fulfilling life. There’s no exact formula for happiness. It is a product of positive habits and traits that you should incorporate in your daily life.
So, to start your year right – with lots of positivity and cheer – here are some essential tips for you:
Replace negativity and complaints with gratitude. Our brain has the natural tendency to favour bad thoughts than the positive ones. Experts call it the “negativity bias”. But if we are going to intentionally pay more attention to positive thoughts, we can be happier.
Research by Shelley Gable of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Jonathan Haidt of the University of Virginia suggests that we actually have three times more positive experiences than negative. Try replacing negativity and complaints with gratefulness. This is a good way to train your mind to become more optimistic.
Live in the present.
Avoid hyper-focusing on the future or the past. A large body of research suggests that mindfulness or awareness of the present moment, is one key to happiness.
A lot of times, we take life too seriously. Try to inject silliness in your day to day experience. Whether it’s watching a funny movie or video clip or playing charades with your friends or kids, do something that makes you laugh.
Seek your passion.
No matter how busy you are with your work or personal obligations, make it a goal to purse things or hobbies that you are passionate about. Don’t frown if you still don’t know what it is, just give yourself more time to discover and explore.
Surround yourself with cheery individuals.
Happiness is contagious. This year, try to spend more time with positive people – those who can influence to change your thoughts positively. A 2013 study by Harvard University and University of California found that a friend who lives close to the happy person has a 25 per cent higher likelihood of becoming happy too.
When you are inspired, you are able to do things with enthusiasm and zeal. Find inspiration and motivation from everything, from a quote you see on the internet to a lovely song or an advice from a friend.
Recognise and accept your emotions.
It’s normal to feel sad and down at times. You don’t have to deny or ignore these unwanted feelings. You actually have to recognise them to understand their causes. This way, you can focus on the situation with mental clarity and give yourself a chance to resolve your problems in a more effective way.
Replace self-criticism with self-compassion.
Self-criticism weakens you while self-compassion strengthens your resilience, happiness and productivity. Love yourself a little more. If there’s anyone who should love you first, it should be no other but you.
Invest in healthy relationships.
Relationships are at the heart of happiness. You can find happiness in the relationships you make with other people. This year, plan to spend more time cultivating friendships. Think about how you can be a true friend to your partner, to your kids and parents, to your colleagues and all others around you.
Hope these tips can contribute to a happier and more fulfilling year in your life.
Once again, happy New Year!
Part of the Core Health Centre