Thursday, 21 June 2018

5 Daily Habits to Building a Happy Life


I’ve known a lot of success in my life. I’ve started up several businesses, my own law firm, an accounting firm and a very successful commercial real estate company. Most recently, I’ve published three best-selling books.
Despite all of this success, I’ve found that happiness is fleeting unless we take certain steps to create balance in our lives. Unexpected things happen to everyone, but some people are more resilient. We work hard and yet life doesn’t always go as well as we’d like. Sometimes, things go terribly wrong. But those who’ve learned to practice certain behaviours are far more likely to overcome life’s inevitable setbacks and find long-term success and happiness.
Happiness is never just related to external factors. Here are five things you can do to maximize your happiness. These are the daily habits and behaviours I find essential to building a fulfilling professional and personal life.

Practice understanding and forgiveness, first for yourself and then toward others.
As a manager, coworker, husband, and friend, I always strive to be forgiving. It is one of the qualities I value most in those around me. But it is vitally important to practice self-forgiveness. The ability to forgive one’s self for mistakes and missteps and other things that go wrong is a significant factor in building the resiliency necessary to thrive in life. Harsh internal words and thinking release cortisol and adrenaline that acerbate stress and anxiety levels and can even lead to illness. So next time you make a mistake or don’t perform up to your own standards, try to be understanding with yourself. This trait can help you thrive through the ups and downs that life throws at all of us. And if someone around you makes a mistake, extend to her the same compassion. Be as forgiving to others as you would be to yourself.

Cultivate mindfulness.
Mindfulness is often described as the ability to be in the moment, to fully experience your life as it happens. If you are spending quiet time reading a bedtime story to your child, but thinking about the project you left unfinished on your desk, you are not going to enjoy the experience. Our lives are a collection of moments. The happiest ones are spent with people we love or when we are engaged in an activity we enjoy. If you never disengage your mind and enjoy each moment as it happens, you are missing out on the things that can bring you the greatest contentment. Your ability to deactivate your brain and enjoy time spent in pleasurable activities is essential to your happiness. If you notice that you tend to experience life only in replay or are always obsessing over problems, I suggest you make a change. Start by trying to be more aware of your present surroundings. One way to cultivate mindfulness is to simply stop and check in with yourself. Take note of how you are feeling in the moment.

Disengage from the digital world.
In today’s world, it’s easy to get caught up in the never-ending cycle of checking in on what’s happening to everyone else we know, especially on-line. Constantly comparing what you’re doing to what everyone else is doing chronically impacts your mood. It creates a constant underlying stress and anxiety that has come to be called, FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out). Now, there is talk in the blogosphere of a counterpart to FOMO called JOMO or the Joy of Missing Out. This is the idea that if you disengage from technology you will lower your anxiety level. I suggest you try it for a few hours every day, and maybe even build up to an entire day or a weekend. Use that time to read a book, take a walk in nature, have a conversation with good friends or play an old fashion board game. Resist the urge to fire up your smart phone to see who is doing what on social media. I think you’ll discover by not constantly checking in you’re not missing out. You might find that the only thing you’ve been missing was a measure of increased happiness in your own life.

Don't forget to be grateful.
Gratitude might seem like something you don’t have any control over – either you feel grateful or you don’t. But experts say that gratitude can be a choice you make. Look around you and take note of all the things you have to be grateful for in your life. These can be as simple as the refreshing taste of cool water when you are thirsty or a smile you share with someone you love. Being grateful increases your happiness, so make gratitude a practice. Make an effort to find some people, experiences or things to feel grateful for every day in your life and you will reap the benefits of increased happiness. Make it a habit and you might find happiness becomes habitual too.

Be generous and see yourself as part of the big picture.
Everyone suffers sometimes. Occasional failure and loss are part of the human experience. Acknowledging others who are going through difficult times helps you maintain the awareness that we are all part of the same human struggle. This can help put your own troubles in perspective. It can also give you an opportunity to reach out and connect to those around you who need your help. Helping others and seeing yourself as part of a larger whole is one of the very best ways to feel more content. To be our happiest selves, we all need to find ways to be generous. The more generous we are the better we feel about ourselves. Social scientists have even said that contrary to the old saying, money can buy happiness – if you spend it on someone other than yourself.

A life that brings you joy and happiness.
Put all your energy in building a life that truly brings you joy. Start with these daily habits and instill the idea that happiness, your happiness, is in your own hands. And hopefully, by this time next week you might find yourself humming along to work or enjoying the final thoughts of your day with a smile on your face. Here’s to happy living.

Alan Fox/

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