The key to happiness – it’s all about you

Don’t we all want to feel better? Happy even? According to Google, some 15,000 of us type “how to be happy” into the search bar every month!

Living life can be a challenge. Day in, day out, so much is expected of us in work, in relationships, with friends and family. We can feel that our own happiness is way down the list of priorities. We so often prioritise other people’s feelings way ahead of our own.

Is it really a surprise, that we have to ask Google how to make ourselves happy? So many of us have lost the art of doing it for ourselves.

What Does Happiness Mean to You?

Perhaps it’s that feeling of having positive energy bouncing around inside you, giving you an optimism and drive. It might be the feeling of going about life free from stress and anxiety. No pressure on you to be anything other than yourself.

Happiness could be that sense of peace from knowing everyone you love is safe and well. But happiness could also be as simple as not feeling sad. This is especially true if this feeling has troubled you over a long period of time.

Since Ancient Greece, the question of what happiness is has dogged scholars and philosophers alike. The question is still the subject of much debate in more modern times. Sigmund Freud himself said that people:

“…strive after happiness; they want to become happy and to remain so. This endeavour has two sides, a positive and a negative aim. It aims, on the one hand, at an absence of pain and displeasure, and, on the other, at the experiencing of strong feelings of pleasure.”

Sigmund Freud 1930

Early into this century scientists found that all pleasurable feelings come from the same network in the brain.

Those feelings might come from food or sex or more lofty pleasures like money, medicine or altruistic actions.

Whatever happiness is to you, and however you feel about it having more of it is something everyone wants. We read about it, write about it and learn about it but how can we experience more of it?

How to Experience Happiness

Exercise is one of those activities that seems to go hand-in-hand with feeling happier. Everyone from doctors to sports enthusiasts, love talking about that rush of endorphins from a hard work out or run. Mental health experts too, encourage people experiencing symptoms of depression to exercise regularly.

This isn’t just because it helps to get out, there are plenty of key studies pointing to improvements in mood with regular exercise.

Look at how you feel when you’ve been out for a walk, particularly if you’ve got to spend time in nature. We need that feeling of easy movement and our focus shifted away from screens and work. It just feels so much better!

But finding happiness is so much more than going for a jog, it’s something that comes from inside you.

It All Comes From You

Exercise can only take you so far. To really experience happiness, the work starts inside you. The great news is that change is possible, and you can be the person you want to be. A few smart changes and you’ll be back in the driver’s seat of your life. And that means allowing yourself to be happy.

Does that sound crazy? Why wouldn’t you allow yourself to be happy? Think about what we said earlier. Are you prioritising everyone else’s needs above your own? Do you spend the majority of your time thinking about what makes others’ happy? It’s great to be so empathic, kind even, but it’s important to remember: you are worthy of happiness.

And that means making yourself a priority in your own life.

If you’re not sure how to start doing that, we’ve got some great self-empowerment courses that can help you gain confidence and clarity.

If you don’t believe that, take a look at our positive affirmations. But also consider what Lisa Firestone, a clinical psychologist, author and Director of Research and Education at the Glendon Association, has to say:

“It’s all too easy to categorize certain pursuits as selfish rather than fighting to maintain the things that make us come alive. However, when we do make time for our wants and needs, we are more alive to the world around us, more available, and more giving of our fullest selves. In effect, we are least selfish, while still honoring our sense of self.”

Lisa Firestone Ph.D.

The Practice of Becoming Happy

If you thought finding happiness was going to be hard, it doesn’t have to be. Yes, it needs to be deliberate but hard, no.

Here are some daily habits to kick-start your happiness boost:

1. Feel physically good: that means plenty of sleep, eating well, staying hydrated and yes – regular exercise. These are the basics, and they count for a lot. Get into the habit of winding down in the evening before bed, no more doom scrolling!

2. Start a gratitude journal: spend a few minutes every day writing down the things you’re grateful for. It might be something as simple as a warm bed. Try and work up to at least three things every day.

3. Look for the positive: Look for the good things in life that bring you joy.

4. Prioritise your needs: learn to say ‘no’ and don’t be afraid to use it to avoid becoming overstretched physically and emotionally. Give yourself permission to spend time doing things you enjoy.

5. Ask for help: if you’re feeling down, or you’re struggling, ask for help. Do not suffer in silence, you deserve to feel happy.

If you need any more help, we’d love to join you on your journey. Take a look at some of the tools on our app. Why not email us and let us know how you’re getting on, we’d love to hear from you.

Take care.

Studio Think Team