I wish to emphasize that you can CREATE happiness and satisfaction in your life. You are the one who chooses where you spend your time and energy throughout the day. You are the one who decides what thoughts you wish to listen to. You are the one who is in charge of your happiness and well-being. Nobody else is. It’s up to you to create the life you wish to live.
This is important because if you don’t believe it is up to you, then you’re going to be sitting on your ass waiting for it. You’ll be leaving circumstance and luck up to deciding if you get to live the life you want to live. This means it’s up to luck if you will enjoy your life. Why do that if instead you can simply take action and make your life full of satisfaction, happiness, and love?! Isn’t that exactly what you want your life to be full of?
First off, we choose our mindset. Our mindset is flexible. It takes effort to change your mindset, and sometimes that’s needed. Often times our mind is our filter to our realities. For example, we may find ourselves judging our experiences, trying to see if it fits how we want it to be, or if it is playing out how we wish for it to play out. Because our mindsets have such a strong influence over how we perceive life, we need to make sure we have the mindset we truly wish to have.
It’s easy to adopt mindsets such as pessimism and cynicism, as the world can look deceiving at times. It can look like a terrible place to live in. The thing is, these mindsets only make the world look even more terrible while not accomplishing anything useful. If you made a pros and cons list for these mindsets you’d find yourself with maybe one pro, and then a list of cons. So instead of letting these mindsets cloud your view of the world, why not instead work on adopting a mindset that brings you joy, rather than discourages you.
Pessimism, cynicism, narcissism, they all get in the way of genuinely enjoying life. Your day to day life is full of good and bad. There are endless things you can complain about, as well as endless things you can be grateful for. Why not choose to focus on the things that fill you with life, and that encourage you, and make you thankful to be alive then? Why not focus on all of the things you are glad are in your life, rather than focusing on all the parts of your life you don’t like.
You don’t have to ignore the bad in your life. In fact, letting yourself see the ugly allows you to realize where changes need to be made, but you don’t have to keep the bad in your mind throughout your whole day. You can set aside the worrying for when you actually wish to plan on fixing it, and then leave the rest of the day to think about all the good things you have.
Cultivating A Positive Mind
There are some simple, actionable ways you can bring about a more positive mindset. One such way is to make a gratitude journal. All you have to do is write down three to five things you are thankful of in a journal, or even in a note app in your phone, and just do this every week, or even every day depending on how hard you want to go at it. This action will reinforce the mental activity of searching for things that make you happy. Here’s a great in depth article on making a gratitude journal if you wish to learn more.
Another way to cultivate a more genuine mindset is to do loving-kindness meditation. With this form of meditation you cultivate compassion for yourself, and others. It can often feel corny and uncomfortable opening up your heart in such a way, which is exactly why it’s such a great form of meditation. It cultivates having an open, loving heart.
A simple exercise you can do is sit down in a chair, close your eyes, and quietly say the words, “May I be happy, may I be free from pain and suffering, may I experience joy and ease. May all beings be happy, may all beings free from pain and suffering, may all beings experience joy and ease.” and then lastly, think of somebody you don’t particularly like, and then say those phrases but use that person’s name in place of “I” or “all beings.”
You don’t have to feel anything when you say these words. Just saying them is enough, and if you can actually say these words while meaning it, go for it! But the practice works as well if you just say the words. You can also do compassion meditation when on the go. Just notice different strangers throughout your day and in your head wish them well.
I feel like western culture has grown a sort of aversion to true, meaningful compassion. It gets looked at as corny too often, but at the end of the day it means so much to genuinely care for one another. Here’s a link to a guided meditation on youtube from the book Mindfulness that I particularly like.
When you clear your head of negativity more room is left for positivity. A great way to keep your head clear of your stressors is to manage your time and tasks effectively. This keeps you from having to worry so much because you know you have everything covered. You don’t have to try to keep your schedule, to do’s, and worries in the back of your head at all times. You have time scheduled to take care of these things.
Keeping a calendar can help you keep track of all your appointments and deadlines. I recommend having a to-do list for days you have to get things done as well. That way you can stay on track, and once you cross all your to-do’s off you know the rest of the day is yours. I use a free app called Swipes that I find nifty for a to-do list. I also set a to-do list at the start of the week to base my daily to-do’s off of which helps me out a lot.
I also recommend thinking about how you spend your free time. Could you fill it with something more fulfilling? I personally have found myself spending too much time sitting around bored during my free time. This time is very valuable, as you could be filling it with things that give you greater satisfaction. It takes effort to change your habits, but if you put in that effort you could turn time that would have been “meh” to time that brings you purpose and excitement.
Think about what really gets you excited. What you really enjoy doing, or what you really want to do. Now decide how you could fill your free time with more of these things, or more things that will eventually lead to the things you want to do.
A Healthy Body
It’s important to keep yourself healthy if you want to have greater satisfaction in your life. If you don’t keep your body healthy it affects your mind. It can impact your mood, energy, and overall sense of well being. These things are very important, as they shape how well you feel throughout the day.
Let’s say you don’t get as much sleep as you’d like and that’s a habit of yours. That means most of the day you feel drained of energy, and slightly out of it. Now let’s say you let a few weeks go by like this. A few months. A year? Your day to day actions add up to your overall life, so taking the steps to live a healthy lifestyle gives your entire life added energy, happiness, and well being
For actionable advice I’m guessing you already know what to do. Exercise at least three days a week, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, stay hydrated throughout the day, and get plenty of sleep. They’re all habits. I recommend doing it one habit at a time.
The name of the game is setting yourself up for long term success. Setting up a more healthy overall lifestyle. Don’t try to go hard for the first month getting yourself healthy. Just build the habits. For example, I’ve started working out this past year. The hardest part is just showing up consistently. I used to try getting an amazing lift in every time I went, but I don’t always have the energy for that.
You’ll just end up burning yourself out if you try sprinting at the start of a marathon. What really mattered is I got to the point where when 2:00 hit, I was getting ready to go to the gym whether I felt like it or not.
Not only do you need to take care of your body, you need to take care of your mental health as well. The first step is becoming aware of your mental health. Sometimes it’s useful to take a step back and evaluate how you’re doing. Have you felt tense lately? Has something been really bothering you recently? Have you started pulling away from people lately?
Check in on yourself every now and then and make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Sometimes you’ll realize you’ve been pushing yourself too hard, or maybe there’s something that you need to address. Maybe you need to give yourself a vacation, or go seek professional help. Sometimes you can fall into a rut without even seeing it happen. Taking a step back and taking note of your mental well being can ensure you stay out of a rut, or help you realize it’s reached the point you need to start finding out how to dig yourself back out.
At the end of the day if you take action you can bring more happiness, well being, and positivity into your life. Why wait for it to come to you when there are ways to go out and get it. Whether it’s starting a new hobby, or quitting an unhealthy habit, your happiness and well being fall on you. So make sure you make your life one you enjoy living :).