This article is the continuation of part 5, of 52 Ways to Be Happier. I recommend that you read this article from the beginning.
PERSONAL TIME HAPPINESS HABITS
Spend your personal time cultivating happiness. Wasted time is useless. Live a life you can be proud of with people you are proud to call friends, family or loved ones. Find people who appreciate you, contribute to your happiness and whom you desire to make happy.
Happiness Habit #34: Surround Yourself with Friends
Lone wolves do not live as long as ones who live in packs. It is important to know that while times of self-reflection are important, it is also equally important to share life experiences with friends. Find friends who understand who you are and appreciate you. They do not have to be carbon copies of you, as sometimes opposites attract, but they do have to know what kind of person you are and respect the person they know.
Being able to spend time with friends creates happiness, relieves stress and brings joy to our lives. If you can be yourself with your friends, you are in good company. Friends are great companions for our life experiences; they can share in our joy and laughter and comfort us when we are down. In the same way, we can be the ones who help to lift up their spirits in times of need. Helping the people you love is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have. Friends can help us forget the negativity in our lives, be our adventure partners for days of exploration and be our greatest advocate in times of doubt. Friends enrich our lives and become the families of our adulthood. They are the family that we get to choose so we must remember to choose wisely.
Happiness Habit #35: Join Clubs and Organizations
The older we get, the harder it is to build friendships. When we are younger they are already preplanned for us. They are the classmates we share time with five days a week, in college, it is the people with live with and head to class with but as adults it is a lot harder to cultivate relationships. We become more reserved as we try to maintain professionalism in the workplace and eventually many of us drift away from those who were once our close friends. An easy way to cultivate genuine relationships is to join clubs or organizations. Find your passion or hobby and join a club that interests you. Within these clubs, you will find people with shared interests with whom you can start friendships with based on the time you spend together. Friends are essential to happiness. While we sometimes need alone time in order to reenergize ourselves and relax before the grueling work days ahead, we also need the company of friends.
Happiness Habit #36: Volunteer
Volunteer your time. Know that there is always an organization seeking the skills you have to offer whether it’s helping others with your job skills (doing taxes for unemployed or senior citizens for example) or with your personal skills (such as knitting hats and donating them to homeless shelters or hospitals). Volunteering is a personally fulfilling activity. We feel appreciated when someone thanks us for the help we have to give and others feel loved and appreciated when we take the time to think of them and help to make changes. Volunteering can help us feel grateful for what we already have – chasing material possessions, for example, seems like a wasted venture when we see impoverished people in our own cities. Spend your time, like your money, wisely. Spend your time helping others instead of on the couch. Look for the opportunities to volunteer your time to worthy causes. Although money can be a form of charitable giving, it is time that is most valuable. Often resource centers for the poor, underprivileged or children are incredibly understaffed not just underfunded, Your time is so valuable to you but make it valuable to others as well.
Happiness Habit #37: Appreciate Your Spouse/Partner
Often we treat perfect strangers better than we treat our spouses and partners. They, above all, are the ones who deserve our best selves and our happiness and kindness to share. Why do so many people spend hours primping and preening themselves to meet perfect strangers but turn into a gluttonous, lazy version of themselves with their significant others? Don’t they deserve us at our best? Appreciate your significant other with respect and kindness, they love you after all. Our significant others are our greatest assets: they are our greatest advocates, the advice givers, and hand that we hold in times of need. They understand us in ways the rest of the world does not. Appreciate the person you have in your life because marriage and relationships are hard work and despite our dreams, sometimes they do not work out. Marriages and relationships fail. This is a fact of life. We need to work hard at the relationships we have because the easiest way to make them last is to check in with each other – help the other person achieve their goals and dreams while you chase the same happiness. Appreciate your partner in life, and let your partner know that you care. Make them understand how much of an asset they are to you and how happy they make you every day. The happiness habit will rub off on your partner, they will, in turn, tell you how important you are to them and this will also add to your happiness. Cultivate each other’s happiness; help each other to achieve the best versions of each other. Become essential to each other’s happiness.
The people and things that we take for granted are often the ones that we lose prematurely. Make sure you love and honor each other and let your partner know as much as you let the rest of the world know. Don’t let anyone be able to question your love and gratitude – let it show from far away how eternally grateful you are for having them in your life and how much you appreciate and love them on a daily basis. Extend this same courtesy and appreciation to the friends in your life and not just your significant other. Appreciate everyone around you that you value and want in your life because the more you let them know how much you love them the more they want to be in your life. It can be rewarding to see the look on the faces of your loved ones when you tell them how much they mean to you. In the same way, don’t just throw around gestures of love such as saying “I love you” because you want to hear them back. Give selflessly and be rewarded the kind of genuine love you deserve to have in your life.
Happiness Habit #38: Avoid Boredom
Spending your time chasing passions and possessions, hobbies and not couch surfing but volunteering can all help to counteract boredom. The longer we spend sitting around and doing nothing the more time we waste. Try something new every time you can. Go outside, get dirt on your hands and appreciate the world around you instead of holing up inside and watch the same paint on your walls or the same television shows on TV. Your DVR is not a lifesaver that allows you to catch up on shows when you get home from work – it is the glue that keeps you on your couch and prevents you from living a full life. Boredom is the enemy – make life interesting. Try new things. Be happier. Exercise your mind with new experiences; try books in a new genre rather than a reality show featuring housewives in a new city. Treat your time the way it is meant to be treated like it is the most valuable commodity you have. There is no replacing time or finding more so make the best of the time that you do have by making sure that you are living life to the fullest. Gain new experiences and if possible find new friends along the way. Enrich your life with things that you may not have otherwise tried out. Keep yourself busy as much as you can because idle time wasted on the couch is time that you will never get back. Will you spend your old age with grandkids telling them stories about places you wish you had traveled to, experiences you never tried and nights that you didn’t go out? Think about the life you are living and what it will feel like to look back on it in 10, 20, even 30 years and how you would feel about where you are and what you are doing.
Happiness Habit #39: Seek Your Life’s Passion
Not often do we find people who are living their life’s passion through their work. Too often we are afraid to try to make our life’s passion the focus of our lives out of fear of failure. If we are just as susceptible to failure when it comes to chasing things we don’t want (such as working in a job that makes us unhappy) as we are to failing at everything in life then we should choose to pursue the things that make us the happiest. Pursue your passion instead of working in monotony at a job you deign to go to on a daily basis. You spend at least 40 hours a week each week of your life at work; you should do what you love.
Know what you love. Sometimes when we are children we give the most honest answers about what we want to be when we grow up and although space cowboys are not a genuine profession understand that somewhere in that perspective, albeit fictitious career, there was a desire to explore. Become the person you wanted to see yourself be. If you would have been ashamed in your twenties to become a corporate “sell out” and sit behind the almost walls of a cubicle know that you are probably not going to be happy to be doing that in your 30s or later on in life. Often times when we are younger we are able to be more honest with ourselves because when we are younger we have less to lose. It is harder as adults to contemplate major life changes such as career moves or relocations simply because we no longer think like the dreamers we once were. We start to think of things in a negative way – a new job would mean no medical benefits, less money and less security – we may think to ourselves when the right opportunity for a job in a field we love actually comes up while our younger and more adventurous selves would have taken the bait no questions asked.
Happiness Habit #40: Leave Time for Self-reflection
Leave quiet moments for yourself. You need small periods of self-reflection to unwind from the week’s activities. This is the time to reflect inwardly on your life. Are you happy? Are you pursuing your passion? Are you spending your time with people who are worthy of it? Check in with yourself and answer your inward questions in an honest way. You can’t lie to yourself if you truly want to be happy in life. Learn to be honest with yourself even if it hurts to admit that you are not happy with yourself. This leaves room to change the things that we do not like. Let go of the armor and masks that we may wear for the outside world – take them off when you get home at the end of the day and start to like what you see. Work towards realizing what you need in life to be happier by admitting to yourself what causes you any unhappiness. Once we can have this level of honesty with ourselves we can be this honest with others – with our families, significant others and friends who will certainly appreciate the more honest versions of ourselves that we give to them in return. Honesty with our selves breeds honesty with others and creates more genuine and worthwhile relationships.
Happiness Habit #41: Meditate
Self-reflection can come in many forms and there is no denying the health benefits of meditating. Take a moment in a quiet place and breathe deeply in and out: pick a place free of distractions and noises and most importantly put the phone away! Sometimes it is better for us to get out of our element in order to do this. If you are happiest outside, head outdoors to a quiet space where you can take a deep breath and reflect inwardly on the day, your goals and life you are living. Often we forget that as much as we need the company of others (we are all social creatures, after all) we still need time alone. This is especially true if you are married or living with your significant other. We often forget what marriage means. We have a life partner who is there for us always as we fight together, laugh together and live together. Once we are married or living with others it is even harder to get this personal time but it is essential for both partners in the relationship to step away from the chaos of life surrounding us and inwardly reflect on everything we have been through. Relax, be alone and meditate – it will make you a happier person. Continue to read part 7 of this article here.
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