By David Joel Miller.
Not feeling very good about your life?
Here are 16 ways you can make your life a happier environment.
1. Do things you can be proud of.
When you do things you are proud of, you feel good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself it makes you happy.
To be something you are proud of what you do does not need to be any grand gesture. Make sure you recognize those little positive things you do each day.
Start recognizing all that you do for yourself and for others each day and hold on to those lists of things you have accomplished across your lifetime.
What are the things you are most proud of that you have done so far in your life? Can you do more of those things?
2. Do things for others.
Doing good deeds will make you happier than doing selfish ones. Whenever we are able to help someone else we get an opportunity to feel good about ourselves. Make sure you are doing this because you want to do something for another and as a result feel good yourself. If you do a good deed because someone forces you to or you do one which you really don’t want to do, it will result in developing a resentment.
3. Make a new friend.
Making friends will add to your happiness. Sometimes those friends are just for now. You talk to someone on the bus or in line and then you head off in opposite directions. Other times you will put out your hand, start a conversation or offer to help and the result will be a friend that will brighten your life for a long time to come.
4. Schedule time to take care of you.
Make self-care a top priority. You can’t feel good or happy if you neglect yourself. Eat well, sleep enough to repair your body and give yourself time to relax.
5. Treat yourself to something positive you enjoy.
Life should not be made up solely of the necessities. Sometimes you need to treat and pamper yourself. Be sure that these little treats for yourself are positive, not negative pleasures. Do things for yourself that involve relaxation and pleasure, not overspending or substance abuse. That would mean your pleasure comes at a cost that needs to be paid tomorrow.
6. Include humor in your life every chance you get.
Laughter changes your mood. The more you laugh the happier you become. If watching an hour of comedy does not brighten your mood you may have a significant depression. In that case get help.
Take what you do seriously but do not take yourself overly seriously. Learn to laugh at your own foibles. We all have them, but the happy people can laugh at their oddities.
7. Make up a gratitude list.
If you must compare yourself, pick people who have less than you to use for comparison. Be grateful for all you have. There are others, in your town or across the sea that have far less than you. Do not take blessings for granted but develop the practice of seeing those benefits when you have them.
8. Express yourself.
There are all kinds of ways to express you. Some people do it by talking. You may also find that you can express yourself through a drawing, singing or dance. You do not need to be an expert. You do not need to be any particular way. What you do need to do is to find ways that allow you to express and affirm who you are.
Draw, make music or write. Be creative.
9. Visit Mother Nature.
We are getting a long way away from our roots. More people now live in cities than in small towns and rural areas. Make it a practice to stay connected to Mother Nature outside the times of inclement weather.
Take a trip to the beach or the mountains. Visit a park. Grow a plant. Take a walk and notice the things that are growing, flowering and reaching for the sky.
Marvel at the birds that manage to eke out a living in our cities and still can fly off to places in the trees.
10. Spend time with a favorite animal.
Animals can be powerful connections to a happy life. Have a pet. Watch an animal that lives in your neighborhood. Visit a park and watch the birds and the squirrels.
11. Clean your glasses.
If you start to long at a dirty world the lenses through which you look become dirty. The constant mudslinging on the news can color your view of the world.
Find a fresh positive way to view your world. Look for people who do good things. Find youth that are making a difference and encourage them.
12. Develop your intuition.
Those nerve cells in your body are there for a reason. Learn to listen to those feelings in your stomach and those pains in your neck. They can help you identify risks and pleasures that your conscious mind has forgotten.
Notice the feel of the sun on your skin when you are cold. Live in tune with your senses for greater happiness wherever you find yourself.
13. Care for your body.
The part you call your body is not some inconvenient appendage to your thoughts. The flesh is not a lesser creature to be abused. Get plenty of good healthy food. Sleep well. Do not overtax your body. Do let it have the exercise it needs to function well.
Maintain your body and you will get years of happy use from it. Do not make it carry excess weight or do more than it can with less rest and food than it needs.
14. Develop a schedule for your day and week.
Create a rhythm for your life. Use schedules to bring certainty and predictability to your life. Keep those schedules loose and flexible enough to provide security. But do not become a slave to the tyranny of an excessively crowded schedule of your own making.
Include time in that schedule for happiness and the things that make you happy.
15. Nurture your mind and spirit.
Spend your time wisely. All work leaves you an unhappy person with things. Invest some of that time you get each day on things that improve and nurture your mind and your spirit. Read, watch a play, practice your religious faith.
16. Forgive yourself.
Making mistakes is a part of living life as a human. Learn to accept yourself warts and all. Let your mistakes go. Learn from experiences but don’t stay stuck in regrets.
These are some of my suggestions for creating a happy life. Do you have others that you would care to share?
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.