Granted this is my opinion, but for the record, I’ll tell you that being happy is not overrated. In fact, it is one of the best human emotions to experience. Of course, rating happiness is difficult to do. As an analogy, it is similar to a fingerprint in terms of its uniqueness in the manner and how each person would describe what makes them happy.
Ideally everyone would rather be happy than not. Although it appears some people seem to be happier than others. Perhaps this is just your perception? Or, is it possible some people have figured out what the secret to being a happier person is?
The other day I was thinking about what makes me happy. I quickly came up with a list of what contributed to me being happy. Not surprisingly, the majority of items were not something you could buy. I then started thinking about whether there are clues when you are in someone’s home or professional environment that provide evidence to what makes them happy.
As I started looking around where I was, it quickly became apparent what some of the happiness contributors are for the people of the home I was in. The first thing I noticed were the amazing amount of family photos. I then saw an interesting assortment of nautical photos and items which were associated with the ocean. Looking further, I noticed an array of neatly and subtly placed corks on display and lined up above a door way. There were also numerous sized vases. Some were filled with live flowers, some with dried flowers, and there were noticeably a large number of other vases seemingly on standby waiting for items to be placed in them.
Since I know the people really well who live in the place I was looking around, I realized that the things I was looking at contribute to them being in a happy environment. Although the physical items serve as reminders of what makes them smile, the real happiness contributors are not things. They are family members, friends and experiences they have with them, and in this space and in their life. Of course, I will also add pets to this list too.
Is being happy something you can control, and turn on and off like a switch? Yes, and no. A large contributor to your state of happiness has to do with your mindset, and I’m sure you have experienced a range of rolling emotions based on the circumstances of your mindset. The trick is to focus on maintaining the emotions you wish to feel. Happiness is certainly at the top of my list.
So, is there a way to figure out what makes you happy? Absolutely, and here are some suggestions about how to go about achieving this.
- Celebrity organizer Marie Kondo challenges us to only keep items which bring us joy. Going through the exercise of ridding your life of non-joyful items can be a tough exercise to go through. However, it can start you on the path of freeing yourself from items in your life which are not adding to your happiness factor.
- My sister loves cats. Her challenge is that a number of people in her family are allergic to them. So, to get her “cat fix”, she volunteers her time at a local pet store once per week to care for, and take care of cats waiting to be adopted.
- You know I love lists. Write down your list of the top ten things that make you happy. If ten isn’t enough, don’t put a limit on your list. Perhaps you can keep a running list and add news ones to it. Make sure to take a look at your list from time to time, especially when you might not be in a “happy mood”.
- Surround yourself with people in your life who make you laugh, or simply happy. Eliminating the “negative” people from your life can do wonders to increasing how much happier you will be.
- Think about what activities or hobbies you have which you really enjoy. Are you making time and prioritizing them in your life? I was talking to my oldest son who said he misses having a creative outlet. He talked about how much he loved making pottery, and the amazing feeling he experienced at the potter’s wheel.
- Having activities which reduce the stress in your life are critical to your happiness level. Make sure you literally factor in ones into your day or week which contribute to stress reduction. Everyone needs this, and you can always find the time every day to include one thing into your schedule that will make you happy. It might be something as simple as spending two minutes on Twitter reading the newest post from someone you admire.
- I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth adding this as a reminder to this list. Make sure you are doing something kind for other people. There is tremendous satisfaction from doing this, and we need to role model this action for others on a regular basis.
Now that you have a list of suggestions which can add to your happiness factor, put them into action. Or, come up with your own list and start applying them to your life. At the end of the day, feel good about attempting to increase your happiness level. Remember, you are in complete control of this switch or dial. Make it work in your favor.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.
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