People are discovering that happiness is largely something that we create rather than something we experience. This is apparent with the number of life coaches, manifesting coaches and other self-help programs available today.
There is some science behind the thought. Scientific studies indicate our brains aren’t set in their wiring but can be “rewired” with the type of activities we participate in. There is also a scientific study that suggests that gratitude positively rewires our brain.
With this in mind, how can we increase life satisfaction? There are several practical ways we can start this process that can make a huge difference in a short time.
Here are five ways to create happiness in your life:
- Change your view of work
Most people see work as something they must do to acquire the life they want. They want the money from work to buy things like clothes, electronics, homes, cars and to do things like go on vacation, pay for children’s needs, pay medical bills and invest for retirement.
While that is all well and good, viewing work in a resistant way doesn’t create happiness. It makes you feel imprisoned where all you do is look forward to the end of the workday.
Work should be viewed as something you get to do, not that you must do. It should be something that allows you to use your talents, expand your skills, and allows you to provide something of value to others. There is a saying that if you find a job you love, you will never work a day in your life. That is true in the sense that the most fulfilled people are those who are just hired for a job but see the job as a higher calling.
Even if you have a low-level job, you can view your job as important because it is. Every honest job has value. If you decide to find the value, do the best job you can, and seek enjoyment in it, you will immediately find yourself in a happier place.
- Find Challenging Situations
A couple of hundred years ago, living itself was a challenge. A storm could destroy a crop, natives or others could attack a homestead, and cold winter or sickness could wipe out a family. A fragile life has some side benefits in that people were grateful for what they had and tended to enjoy the moment because they weren’t sure they would be in the next.
Today, people tend to live a destiny driven. They think they’ll happen when this happens, or that happens, they get a promotion, get married, or have children. They have a life so soft that they are constantly seeking something to challenge them and, many times, that is something that may or may not happen in the future.
To change this mentality, some have suggested that people challenge themselves with small inconveniences. Things like taking a cold shower, cutting down on your cell phone or computer use, allowing yourself to be bored while waiting in line instead of grabbing your cell phone for entertainment are just a few examples of implementing this into your life.
It may sound silly, but restricting yourself in some areas will discipline you in ways you can’t imagine and will make you grateful for what you have. It gives you a new perspective too.
- Redefine Your Technology Use
A lot of people randomly browse the internet simply because they are bored. Not only is this a waste of time, but it also wires your brain in ways. Studies have shown that social media use is linked to self-absorption. Internet shopping can trigger materialism and overspending. Internet news can result in fear and hostilities.
Some applications limit your time on certain sites that bring about negative emotions. Some have options for a “time out” of social media by staying off it for a week or even months. Understanding what triggers you to visit certain sites and the emotional results afterward will help you control those urges and develop healthier habits.
Some alternatives to using tech include substituting social media time for coffee with a friend or playing a board game with the family. Face-to-face communications yield much more positive results for everyone that online talk.
You will need to check yourself also to implement these new norms in your life. Resist checking your phone when you are bored in a meeting or class. Set a time frame to play video games and then stop when the time is up.
- Utilize Your Creativity
Everyone has some creativity, but many don’t use it. Humans were meant to be creative and not using it brings about chronic unhappiness that most can’t even explain or understand the cause.
Creativity can be expounded in several ways. You can be creative in planning a family dinner by using ingredients and recipes you have never tried before. You can be creative in your job by finding a new way to do something better. Creativity can be used when you play with your children by allowing your imagination to run free in pretend games.
There are traditional ways to use creativity also such as crafts, painting, model building, even building or restoring a car or home space. All of these efforts require unleashing a creative spirit and will leave you with something that makes you proud.
- Invite Positive People Into Your Life
There is a saying that misery loves company. That is true in that unhappy people tend to attract unhappy people into their lives. Take a look at those you associate with most. Are they positive or negative people? If the answer is negative, you will need to start weeding out your social group and adding more positive people to it.
Not only will negative people bring you down, but having them in your social group is a good indicator of how you are perceived. Positive people likely will not befriend negative people, so you will need to change your attitude for this challenge. To attract positive people, you may need to “fake” positivity for a while. This means acting positively regardless of how you feel. It may not feel authentic, but it will do two positive things.
First, it will bring positive people into your life. Eventually, their positive nature will rub off on you. You can’t help but become more positive if the majority of people around you are the same way. Second, “faking” positivity will ultimately change your brain to be a more positive person. Scientific studies show that our feelings follow our actions, rather than the reverse. So, if we act positive, eventually we will feel positive.
Doing these five things doesn’t cost anything but could amount to a big change in your life. It could improve your work life, your home life, and social life. Most of all, it will rewire your brain for long-term success and happiness.