I become very dissatisfied at times – with my surroundings, people, with myself, with what I have achieved, how I am spending my time.
I think it is natural for somebody who is ambitious. But if dissatisfaction grows beyond certain level, it can make you cranky.
I am ok being dissatisfied as it pushes me to go the extra mile. But I want to be happy — first because I love myself and second I want to touch the lives of people I meet in a positive way. I cannot do that if I am not genuinely happy.
Here is a formula to be happy and be brimming with joy most of the times.
To be in a state of happiness, I focus on what makes me happy and do it. Some of these are quick-fixes and others are long term strategies.
If you also want to be happy follow these tips.
1. Follow a morning ritual.
I like slow paced mornings. I do not like to talk to anybody for about an hour after I wake up. I am happy when I get this time to get in the groove for the day. On days when I need to start my day early, I wake up super early so that I do not miss this – slowly getting in the groove – act.
Some days I go for a head massage or Abhayanga (Ayurvedic full body massage — Google for details).
See what makes you get in the groove when you get up in the morning. My little sis likes to wake up, put headphones and to listen to her favourite music. You pick what suits you best.
2. Move your body daily.
I perform Yog, and at times do some push-ups. If I wake up early then I read (offline) first, otherwise I get on with physical activity after I take a bath. In the evenings if I am home early, I go for a long walk but that is optional.
You can hit the gym or go for a run. Do something. Aim for 30 minutes of rigorous physical activity. Fresh oxygen in your lungs and brain does wonders for your mood.
3. Finish creative/ important tasks first things in the day.
I work better during the earlier part of the day. When I finish some important task in the morning, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. In this scenario, I also get free to do whatever I want to do with rest of the day and this makes me happy.
Even if you get up late, make sure that you finish one of your important tasks of the day before lunchtime, earlier the better.
4. Focus on cleanliness.
Take a bath early in the day. It helps you focus and takes the morning grogginess away; and also improves blood circulation. It is very important that you keep your work space clean as well. It is best to clean your desk after you finish a day’s work; so that you can get straight into work the next day. It is really important for an ever-increasing number of professionals who work from home. It also works wonder for your confidence.
5. Do not create a never ending to-do list.
I started making lists many years back. I used to create a long list and then add unfinished items from a day’s list to next day’s to-do list. At the end of the week I used to have such a long to-do list that I used to be overwhelmed just by looking at it.
Years later I realized that the to-do lists are meant to help your finish important tasks. Managing to-do lists should not be a task by itself.
Solution lies in creating a small to-do list with 3-5 items (and only one major task). Make a note of your work style and productivity patterns and see how much you can accomplish in a day’s work. List items that you are confident of finishing by end of your work day.
You get stressed when you have unfinished work at the end of the day. You are happy to free to immerse in small joys of in the life when you finish what you plan for.
6. Listen to your heart.
At times I need to be silent, at others times I want to be in a crowd to be happy. Listen to your heart and see what makes you happy. It can be exercise, mediation, chatting with a friend or just being alone.
7. Become friends with happy people.
You become positive when you spend time with positive people. Seek the company of those who are mostly happy. I am one such person. Better become a person who emanates positive energy, who people want to be with. Learn to laugh. Smile when you meet people. Use right posture to sit or when you stand.
If you meet unhappy people (some of them will be your friends), do not tell them that they emanate negative energy; because all of us have times when we are down and out. Just send them a link to The Happiness Formula and see if they change. It will make you happy if you make others happy. Try this.
8. Make more money.
It is really hard, almost impossible to feel happy when you are out of money. Some people say money is evil. Sorry to break your heart but I do not belong to that club. I think money is an essential tool to trade things. Most of the times it can help you move faster in the direction of your dreams. Avoid shortcuts to earn money though. More often than not it is not the right path; but by all means make as much money as you can — without losing your sanity and health.
I plan to make a lot more money this year than I made last year. This should help me buy more stuff for people I love, move faster in the direction of my dreams. Later if I can do something like what Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are doing with a major part of their wealth, I will be happier.
9. Aim for perfect health.
A healthy body is the right vehicle to achieve your dreams. It helps you take action and do the work. It is really difficult to be happy if you have a stomach ache. So works towards maintaining good fitness levels. Check out 7 habits for perfect health for details on this.
Eat when hungry. It is so simple and commonsensical that people do not talk about it. Eat what suits the weather, time of the day and your body type (for more details read Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra)
Food is body’s fuel and it is required to keep it going. If you are hungry you can’t focus and of course can’t be happy. So eat when hungry, do not fill your stomach with empty calories like the ones from soft drink.
11. Sleep Well.
Like a morning ritual, create a sleep ritual. Wash your feet or get into a fresh pair of t shirt or pajamas; drink a glass of warm milk; read good fiction that takes you with it, or say your prayers. Do one or a mix of these. Do what works for you and send your mind the signal that you are getting ready to sleep. Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night.
12. Find a corner that you can call your own.
Be at ease in your surroundings. Find a place in your home where you are totally at peace. At workplace decorate your desk or cabin in a way so that it invites you, let you give your best and be happy.
13. Tie loose ends
Start or end a relationship, do not just think about it all the time. Take action. Do not think about the water leak or air-condition that needs repair. Just make a call and get it done. Set time aside for running errands.
Also understand that we should strive for perfection but everything can’t be perfect. So we need to let go at times and keep faith that our actions are taking us in the right direction.
Look at life as an experiment — with a mix of success and failures — take both in your stride. It will be easier when you focus on the ride more than the destination.
You can find 100 ways to be unhappy instead you need to focus on what makes you happy and do that. Once you do that often and long enough you will no longer be unhappy.
You also need to understand that happiness is a sum total of small events in your life. When you live moments to the fullest and enjoy small chunks of the day in a happy state – your day will be taken care and you will be happier than you ever were.
I wish this post struck a chord with you and you give it a shot.
What gets you in a state of happiness?