WORDS: Jamie Scoular / September 26th, 2016 / 5 minute Read

We have all heard some things we can do to  make ourselves  happy. What are those things for you? Have you considered that maybe you have the wrong information or are missing a key element to being happy? This is what I have learned about creating happiness and one of the most often overlooked elements.

Go Jump In A Lake

This is real. Go do something spontaneous and fun. Shake up your routine. Let go of your fear. We all get stuck. There are a lot of things we don’t do. Things that seem too hard, too scary, too strange, or too time consuming. Go ahead though, pick one and do it.  

Sweat A Little  

This one is easy. You know exercise makes you feel better. You know it’s hard. But it always works. The fastest way to feeling good is to burn some calories. Add some exercise to your day. I promise, you will feel better. Bonus points if what you do is outside. Nature recharges the body and mind.

Engage With Others

We all need relationships. Whether you get your energy from surrounding yourself with people or you prefer silence and solitude, you need to engage in meaningful relationships. At one extreme, it is possible to be surrounded by people, but feel all alone. At the other end, you may isolate yourself. What is important is to work toward having at least one other person with whom you allow yourself to be yourself. Be vulnerable. Share your hopes, dreams, fears, and quirks.  

Give Back

At times the world may seem brutal and uncaring. But we are here to make it better. How are you doing with that? Each of us has an intrinsic or fundamental need to give back. This need is so important that our brains reward us with good feelings when we do so. How you give back does not matter. You don’t have to save the world, the whales, or the starving children. Pick one thing, one cause, that interests you and get involved. Your brain will thank you.

Go With The Flow

Some things we do because we like them. Some things we do because we have to. In some things we lose ourselves completely, forgetting for a moment our worries. There is a sense of great focus, without the distraction. We lose our self consciousness. The moment we drop focus on the self, we are in FLOW. This sense of flow may come and go, but it is important for happiness to engage in your flow activity regularly. In this, you must distinguish between activities that are unhealthy distractions from your life (avoidance), and activities that add to your life (flow).

FINALLY – Cut Yourself Some Slack

This is what is overlooked far too often. What do you do if you make a mistake? Or let someone down? Or let yourself down? People can be brutal to themselves. We find many reasons to punish ourselves. This is worthless and damaging. Self-punishment stops you dead in your tracks. It keeps you from growing. Instead of punishing yourself CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK. This doesn’t mean ignore the problem. It means take stock of what you have done, apologize and make amends if necessary, then move on. Let go of the past. Focus on what you can do in the here-and-now and you will be a happier person.