IN your busy daily life, it is easy to miss the forest for the trees and completely overlook some more obvious activities that can affect your happiness.
Luckily, we can go off more than just our intuition. There are lots of proven strategies that aim to create the right behavour that leads to a happier life.
Below are actionable pieces of advice you can start to implement during this new year.
One, find meaning in your work. A job is just a job if you chose to see it as one. There is so much more to it. Work is a chance to be of service to others. It is a chance to express your ingenuity and talents. All work is a chance to change the world.
It is up to you to find meaning in your work, whatever your designation, so that everyday, you feel you are on a purposeful mission.
So today, I challenge you to love what you do until you can do what you love and love where you are until you can be where you love.
Love your neighbours until you can be with the people you love most. This is the way to find happiness.
Two, embrace discomfort to gain mastery. Happy people always have something known as “signature strength.” Happy people have at least one skill set they have become proficient at, even if the learning process made them feel uncomfortable at first.
Over the past decade, a lesson that had been learnt is that mastering a skill is as stressful as you might think. But stress is positive.
Although the process of acquiring a skill takes its toll in form of stress, we also admit that these activities make them feel happy and satisfied. Years later, people see their progress and they feel great about it.
Truth be told, being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at a skill. Struggle is the evidence of progress. The more time you spend on your vocation, the faster you learn. It is better to spend quality 10 minutes growing than to spend a mediocre hour running in place.
You want to practice at the nick of your ability, stretching yourself over again and again, making mistakes, stumbling and learning from your mistakes. The reward of becoming great in the long run far outweighs the short-term discomfort felt in the process of earning your stripes.
Three, be productive, but don’t rush it. Rushing it puts you on the fast track to being miserable. But on the flipside, having nothing to do can take its toll on your integrity. This is bad news for those who subscribe to the dream of doing nothing but earning a living wage.
The balance is just right when you are living a productive life at a comfortable pace.
This means you should be expanding your comfort zone often, but not such that you feel frenzied and out of control. Easier said than done, but certainly a positive state to strive towards.
Exercising your free will is your armour against fate. One method of achieving this is to have “heavy lifting” and “light lifting” timeslots scheduled each day.
During the heavy lifting times, you go at it full force and then as soon as a “light lifting” timeslot arrives, you slow down.
It is simply a matter of scheduling time everyday such that you are not overly busy. You should have dedicated down time. Clear points in the day to reflect, rest and recharge your energy and creative batteries.
Never fool yourself; you cannot afford a few minutes of sanity. Always keep in mind that you can’t always be agreeable to everyone’s request and demands. That is how people take advantage of you.
Sometimes, you have to set clear boundaries. We all have obligations, but a comfortable pace can only be found by properly managing your yeses. Be willing to say ‘No’ to most things, so that you are able to say ‘yes’ to the right things.
Finally, give when you are able. While giving is usually considered a selfless act, giving is often more beneficial for the giver than the receiver.
Thus, providing social support of any kind can actually be more helpful to the bigger picture of our lives than receiving it.
Intuitively, we all know this because it feels amazing to help someone who needs it. And that is because lasting happiness does not result from what we get, but from what we give- the experience of making a difference in the world.
The science behind this is simple: Performing any act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain, which is a substance that has incredible health benefits, including making you feel very joyful.
Moreover, what is even cooler about this is that not only will you feel better, but also others watching your act of kindness will.
Even bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching you give kindness.
However, keep in mind that while you cannot give all of yourself all of the time, you can give some of yourself, some of the time. By doing this, you will be making a difference.
Also, note that when you are struggling to help, know that you are not alone.
These truths are time-tested strategies and techniques that are scientifically proven methods of building growth into your life and career.
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