This article is the continuation of part 6, of 52 Ways to Be Happier. I recommend that you read this article from the beginning.
Happiness Habit #42: Reduce Hours of TV Watched
Becoming a professional couch surfer is not a realistic profession, so don’t strive to be the best at it. Instead get out and enjoy your life. While the warmth of the couch on a Friday night may seem like the perfect idea in winter – summer should absolutely be the time when you are on the outside of that living room window. This should definitely hold true if you live in a polar vortex area during the winter time. Get up, go outside and breathe in some fresh air. Go on adventures to new and old places – just don’t become codependent on the couch cushions.
It is obviously not realistic to expect everyone to just toss out their television sets in favor of a more adventurous life but there are better ways to watch TV. Firstly, reduce the number of hours that you watch TV – strive for as few hours as possible. Too often we build an obsession with television shows, especially with reality television but every hour of television watched is an hour we could have spent on ourselves or with others cultivating our happiness and working on our own lives instead of watching someone else live theirs on television. If we must watch TV, we must try to watch quality television (think more educational programs than the Real Housewives of whatever city they are in this time). The younger we are the more important this is. Many parents plop their children on the sofa and let them soak in television for hours instead of having them go outside and play. While television can be a cheap babysitter (though not recommended) it can also harm your child’s social skills and cognitive development.
Don’t watch television before bed. Learn to relax before you go to bed – perform breathing exercises or meditation, learn to read before bed and spend your time away from the glowing and alluring light of the boob tube. It is proven that the bright lights of the television set can make it even harder for us to fall asleep in a timely manner. Do yourself a favor and turn off the television whenever possible.
Happiness Habit #43: Collect More Experiences and Fewer Possessions
Spend your time outside, with friends and off of the couch and you will slowly see a trend where the experiences and memories you gain through trying new things with friends new and old will become infinitely more valuable than the possessions that you are surrounded by at home. The memories in the pictures on the mantle hold the value more than the silver frame they sit in.
Memories last longer than flat-screen televisions or any other material goods we can think of because memories can be passed on from generation to generation as our grandchildren’s children recount the tales of their adventurous relatives. Seek to collect the experiences which will enrich your life. Are you taking the new job so that you can afford the new car or are you taking it because you have a vested interest in that career field and a desire to work for the organization you are going to be a part of? Think of things in the bigger picture – what do you want out of life? Do you want things to surround you or do you want the memories of good times to be the standards by which you live day in and day out?
Happiness Habit #44: Spend Time in Nature
Explore where you live as if you were a tourist in your own hometown, find the hidden gems of your hometown but most importantly don’t be afraid to get a little dirt on your hands every once in a while. Hike, bike, swim or run to the nearest adventure – fresh air and memories await you. Clean, fresh air does a body good. Exploring nature by physical exercise such as running, hiking or biking is incredibly beneficial to your health. Don’t sit at home and watch the nature channel, go outside and live it – see what the world has to offer you from behind your front door – the side you are usually avoiding while sitting on the couch on Saturday mornings.
Happiness Habit #45: Travel
If money and time permit, learn to appreciate the value of other cultures. Seeing the world is invaluable. Seeing cultures in person is more worthwhile than watching them on the television screen. Immerse yourself in a new world, feel like a stranger in a city and force yourself to learn new things while you explore a new part of the world or just a new part of your everyday world. Seeing the differences in comparison to the rest of the world may open your eyes and awaken a call of duty within you. For example, if you travel to an exotic island on vacation in search for some rest and relaxation you may not only find the white sand beaches of the tropical weather but also see that the children in the area do not have proper schools or enough to eat like they have in the rest of the world. You can see the differences between how you live your life and how the rest of the world lives. This may help us to put our personal problems in perspective. Are our problems and stressors just cosmetic blips in our lives such as wanting the latest and greatest technology or do we have genuine fears in our lives the way others may have as they wonder about whether or not their family is going to be able to eat that night or if their children will be able to finish grade school before they need to get jobs and make a contribution to the family income.
See the world in all its beauty and see the cracks in it as well. Seeing all sides and all walks of life may motivate us to help or reach out to communities in need. Will we walk away from vacations with new tan lines or new ideas to help out people who may need it? Traveling can be rewarding for our senses – we see, hear and smell new parts of the world but also feel new things as well. We begin to see how profoundly large this world is and our place in it and how happiness is a universal language that can be understood by all.
Happiness Habit #46: Always Have Time to Have Fun
Living in the now requires much less stress than wondering what the future holds or rehashing arguments of the past. Make time to enjoy the moments in life that are otherwise fleeting. Make fun a priority. Find what makes you happy and who makes you happy and spend more time with them. Fun can be a solo activity just as much as it can be a group one. We can learn to enjoy the time that we have to ourselves and make the most of it as well. We do not need the company of our friends and family in order to have fun, although we may enjoy that just as much. We set aside so much of our days to routines and monotony – we wake up, go to bed and work at the same hours almost each and every day. The way we schedule the routine parts of life we should also make plans to add fun into our lives in order to become happier people. This may include taking a walk around the neighborhood with your dog, pampering yourself at home or taking the time to spend with your friends and family. We need to remember that injecting fun into our lives is essential so that we do not get caught up in a life that we resent living. We need to make each day an adventure and live it like it actually means something. Don’t let tomorrow be just another day you dread. Let it be the day that you try something new and out of the ordinary in order to enrich your life with a new experience. Shy away from the mundane and strive for out of the ordinary greatness in all that you do in order to help build a life where happiness can increase.
Happiness Habit #47: Stay in Touch with Family
Keep in contact with those that love you. They value your happiness and chances are they also contribute to your personal happiness. Remember that these types of relationships are invaluable. Make time to spend with them. Make them a priority. Generally, we have two families – the one that we are born into and the one that we create once we leave the comforts of our nuclear family home.
Many people move away from home and lose touch with their families but it is important to maintain these connections where possible because they are the people that understand our happiness and have seen us live our lives in many different stages. We have shown them our vulnerable sides and have been rewarded with love and support. Know the value of a good family system where love and support are surrounding you and try not to lose touch with it because it can be the catalyst that drives you to make better decisions.
Stay in touch with the family that you grew up with and the family that helped mold you into the person that you are. This can be lifelong friends, parents of friends and new friends that you create along the way in life. Communication is key to happiness and the easiest way to keep these kinds of people in our lives is to tell them how much we truly appreciate everything that they do for us. Keep the relationships in your life alive by instilling them honesty and gratitude. Keep in touch with family by keeping in touch with yourself. Ask yourself how much you appreciate the people in your life and ask yourself what you can do to make sure that these people are aware of the way that you feel and the gratitude you feel towards them.
PROFESSIONAL/FINANCIAL HAPPINESS HABITS
Our professional lives deserve happiness habits as well since work is where many of our stressors in life stem from. Work is generally where we spend a great portion of our lives and for most people, this encompasses at least forty hours of their week. Remember that it is important to be happy outside of our work but it is equally important to be able to get happiness from our jobs.
Happiness Habit #48: Work to Live; Do Not Live to Work
Don’t let work consume your life and sanity. Work to live; do not live to work means that you shouldn’t allow work to become the central focal point of your life. The exception to this rule is if you absolutely love what you are doing. Unless you are following your bliss, your passion or your lifelong dreams work is just that. It is a means to an end. It is the means by which you provide yourself a comfortable life that you can enjoy outside of work. Work should only be the central focus of our lives if we are living the career that we have always dreamt of and if we are effectively following our bliss in our dream job. If you are doing exactly the work that you have always wanted to be doing then, by all means, let work be the joyous place where you spend at least forty hours of your week and let it be the source of joy for you. This is something that unfortunately most people will never experience and should hold onto it and cherish it.
Happiness Habit #49: Seek the Right Job for You
Know that work shouldn’t be a source of stress, at least not always. There will always be deadlines and moments of stress at any job – even your dream job. If you know you love the outdoors, confining yourself to a 6’ by 6’ cubicle sounds like a torturous life. Realize what you need from a job and the benefits you can provide to a workplace – find a happy medium between the two of them.
Know that there may not be a perfect job out there – you may want to create one. Do not be afraid to make the changes you need at work in order to function better – suggest ideas to managers and superiors who may respect you for your initiative and follow your advice. Prove yourself in your current job so that you can be worthy of another job should it come along. Don’t sit back and coast along at your current job while you wait for a moment of bliss where you either get fired or quit for a life that you are only busy daydreaming about. If you do not absolutely love what you do and want to change it then do just that – try and change the things in life that you are not happy about and since you spend a majority of your life at your job it is essential that your job is fulfilling, rewarding and provides you with some happiness.
Happiness Habit #50: Save Money
Don’t spend your money frivolously without any fears of tomorrow simply because you are living in the now. Retirement is real and the increasing number of people who cannot afford to retire is daunting. Don’t scare yourself into scraping by on a meager budget for the rest of your life in order to prepare for retirement or for the zombie apocalypse. Spend wisely; spend money when needed but not excessively. Life is a much better place when mountains of debt aren’t crushing you. The most expensive bottle of wine at an exclusive restaurant can taste just as sweet as a bottle that cost less than $10 when consumed with the people you love. It’s not what you are doing, what you are consuming but who you are with that truly matters in the long run. The happiness we get from things is nothing compared to the memories we can create with others. Memories are priceless. Save your money and create some memories – they will last much longer than anything that is a material possession. Save money because you want to – because you have learned to realize through experiences of your own and with friends that the material possessions we have are worthless in comparison to the memories and experiences we share with the people we love. Those moments of joy and happiness are fleeting and if we do not experience them they will not be sitting there waiting for us like a brand new car would be. Material possessions provide us nothing for our happiness they only give us a false sense of happiness while real moments of happiness, by design, cannot be bought in any store – these moments are created.
Happiness Habit #51: Minimize Debt
Debt is a stressor. Eliminate it in a swift manner – make plans to pay it off as soon as possible. In a practical sense, interest rates will eat your bank account alive. Debt free means stress-free and while it is a stretch for most people it will definitely help you in the long run. The less debt you have, the more opportunity you have to spend your money wisely on things you love such as traveling. Maxing out credit cards only brings happiness to bankers and debt collectors. The best experiences we can have may not involve money at all. Watching the sunrise with people that we love can be just as rewarding as a trip to Fiji. Cut up the credit cards that tempt you to live a life outside of your means, pay them off and forget about them. If you cannot immediately pay a large expense such as buying a new handbag – don’t do it. Relax and sit back and enjoy what you currently have instead of amassing the kind of debt that can hold us back for the rest of our lives. Collect memories instead of blows to your credit score – live life fully but live it within your means.
Being in debt can be a frightening experience. Often we feel lost and humiliated by asking for a loan. Avoid it at all cost. Try not to be indebted to anyone or anything so that you can create experiences that belong to you and not to a credit card company. Know that you do not need to spend money to be happy and likewise do not need to spend money frivolously.
Happiness Habit #52: Put Down the Book and Go Outside!!
Remember that this article is full of mere suggestions of how to better live your life with happiness in mind but it is not a clear-cut recipe for a happy life or a happier life. As this article has suggested, happiness begins from within but you are already off to a good start because you have chosen to read an article instead of spending time in front of the television. Now, go live a life you will be proud of where happiness is the priority, your friends are genuine and the smiles are not forced.
Remember that happiness is a choice and something that we work at every day. There are always two choices in life in any situation: to be the happy person and see the bright side of things or to wallow in anger, self-pity or regret. Choose to be happy. Create your own happiness habits, mix them in with the ones listed in this article and share them with your friends. Sharing rewarding experiences with friends, after all, is another way to build up the happiness in our own lives.
Go outside and live a life you would be proud of. Live each moment with happiness in mind. Practice the happiness habits that put the biggest smile on your face – whether these habits are any of the ones listed in this article or if they are ones you create for yourself. Just remember, whatever happiness habits you choose to practice you should take action. You owe it to yourself to be the happiest person that you can possibly be.
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