14 Secret Life Habits That Bring Happiness
While some will seem obvious, others may not. . .
14 Secret Life Habits That Bring Happiness
By D. S. Mitchell
Psychologists and life coaches make it clear that some behaviors will lead to a productive and happy life, while others can potentially lead to prison. Seriously, if you stopped reading at 12, drink to excess, drive recklessly, and bully your family, you are likely to come in contact with law enforcement and a whole lot of unhappiness. Conversely, there are habits and actions that are positive, rewarding, and fulfilling. Positive, rewarded and fulfilled; that sounds like the definition of happiness to me.
1.) Keep to a Schedule. This one can be hard, as we juggle work and life, but this is a biggie; one of the most important on this list. Just remember the goal and not the means. The goal is to bring organization out of chaos, NOT following the schedule stupidly. Don’t let the schedule become the religion, but let it help you live a more comfortable life. Organization starts with a schedule. Staying on track is one of the best ways to get needed daily, weekly, and monthly tasks accomplished. And who doesn’t like to get things done? There is a satisfaction in a job done, especially if it is well-done.
2.) Adapt and Evolve. Change is a constant, once you accept that fact the happier you will be. Be flexible. Remember, “each moment is a new beginning.” As you get older, accepting change is often hard, but it is worth the effort. Stay relevant. Stay involved.
3.) The U-bend of Life. Science has told us that the happiest folks are those in their 80’s and beyond. I love a quote from Cousin Lucille, “Let my last days be my best days.” So if you are having a mid-life crisis and feel your life is on a downward trajectory be assured a turn around is in your future.
4.) Talk Kindly to Yourself. We all self-talk. If you talk doom and gloom, you will be repaid with doom and gloom. If you dial down the negative brain chatter you will be happier for it. Buddha said, “You are what you think,” suggesting you have an option to choose negative or positive. Like so many things in life there is an option.
5.) Don’t Let Vanity Stop You. If you are grossly overweight, pitifully thin, physically disabled, or disfigured; you may feel shy or uncomfortable about showing your body at the swimming pool, jogging down the roadway, or shaking your booty on the dance floor, but don’t let vanity get in the way of enjoying every moment of your life. Poor self-esteem and self criticism can deny you so much. Who cares what someone else thinks? Join the party. Join life. Love life; it will love you back.
6.) Exercise. Thirty minutes of aerobic exercise five times a week. Move more, sit less. Both your butt and your attitude will thank you. The World Health Organization has declared sitting to be the new smoking.
7.) Make Sure You Never Stop Playing. Taking childhood games into adulthood will keep you smiling. “Playing” suspends the brain in a unique and youthful flexible state. Go horseback riding. Play golf with a couple friends. Or, maybe you’d prefer a game of tennis? Chess or checkers can be fun. A card game will keep you competitive. Dungeons and Dragons anyone? How about a Renaissance Fair? I got it, let’s go fishing. Never stop having fun.
8.) Write About It. Take a few minutes every evening to write about your day. Journaling, or diary keeping, is time well spent. The time you take to write about your day and its events allows you time to put everything into perspective, to calm your busy mind. It is enlightening to see back over decades of your life, one page at a time.
9.) Find Your Purpose. Most people describe it as “something larger than myself.” Engaging in a “cause” can actually raise your immunity levels and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Sadly, this need can be manipulated and twisted. In search of ‘your purpose’ stay away from radicalization. I’m not joking folks, careful what master you follow.
10.) Service. Volunteer your time, give your money. Service to others, to your family, your community, your nation is physically good for you. Your service will be rewarded with an infusion of an anti-inflammatory hormones.
11.) Take Time To Recharge. Take a break. Get a cup of coffee or tea and put your feet up. Give yourself permission to take time for yourself. We all need a quiet time to relax and recharge. Find what works best for you, since this is all about you, indulge. Remember, it takes time to replenish your inner core. It may just be a peaceful hot tub time-out or a glass of wine, just do it.
12.) Never Stop Reading. With the internet there are literally thousands of free book downloads at your fingertips. When you are a child, books transport you to new and exciting worlds, places far from our everyday existence. I promise you they can do that at any time in our lives-keep reading.
13.) Stay Connected. It is so easy to let friendships and relationships die from lack of tending. Tend doggedly to your relationships. Lifetime friendships and newly made ones deserve serious attention. Major life events, such as loss of a partner, retirement, a serious health condition often result in a pulling away. It is vital to stay connected; pick up the phone, write an email, send a card. It is important to continually be reaching out and embracing others.
14.) Be Inquisitive. Keep asking questions. Keep exploring. The goal is to learn something new everyday, or at least try. Be the forever curious child. Always be open to new feelings, emotions, thoughts, and experiences.
The pandemic has made isolation and loneliness a centerpiece of our lives. Making connections outside the usual peer group is more important today than ever before. If you are older, your peer group conversations likely revolve around pain, the obituaries, and your new blood pressure medication. If you are younger your conversations likely revolve around the new guy in the upstairs apartment, the high cost of concert tickets, Connie’s pregnancy, or the latest Marvel movie. Science shows that bringing two different generations together results in a different dialogue. Turn your device to a hip hop station, use the internet to connect with programs that promote intergenerational interaction.
Intergenerational connection programs:
Check out Big & Mini (bigandmini.org), Sageconnect (sageusa.org/sageconnect) and Dorot (dorotusa.org) or Eldera (eldera.ai). These websites are free and welcoming.