How To Live Happily

These days, social media runs rampant with quotes about ‘happiness’ and whilst I have no issue with this per se I know that applying this to everyday life is more than just a flick of an attitudinal switch, especially when it seems so foreign to how you’re currently feeling about your life. So how do you ‘live happily’?

‘Living happily’ certainly starts with a decision to think and behave in line with what makes you happy but unless you’re absolutely clear on what that is (broadly and specifically) you’ll be flying blind and will likely become confused and disheartened. There are also many things that will test your efforts to ‘live happily’ such as everyday annoyances, disappointments, frustrations and emotional challenges –  ‘living happily’ does not protect you from life’s hard knocks but it can ease the intensity.

So where do you start and how to you keep it going?

  1. Be realistic.
    Fanciful visions of quickly transporting from your current not-so-happy life to an effortless financially flourishing love story will only set you up for a big fall. Change takes time and effort, as this passage from The Dalai Lama’s Book of Wisdom testifies:
    “According to my experience, it is clear that if an individual makes an effort then he or she can change. Of course, change is not immediate and it takes a lot of time. In order to change and deal with emotions it is crucial to analyse which thoughts are useful, constructive and of benefit to us. I mean mainly those thoughts which make us calmer, more relaxed and which give us piece of mind versus those thoughts which create uneasiness, fear and frustration.”
  2. Trust in neuroscience.
    Do the things that extensive neuroscientific research has proven to make us (our brains) happier. Exercise regularly (increase vitality), engage with people/community (increase connection and belonging) , notice and savour the good moments (increase positive emotions), learn to be self compassionate and give to others (practice kindness),  live mindfully (learn to be present/engaged in what you’re doing) and replace long held grudges with compassion and empathy.
  3. Get Support.
    Shifting the way you think and behave on a daily basis is a difficult and often confronting process which can easily be derailed by your old ways and the people (dynamics) you’re surrounded by. Having the support of a counsellor-coach makes it easier and more galvanising to keep you on track with your values and visions of  ‘living happily’ everyday.
  4. Practice.
    Reading and thinking about how you will ‘live happily’ is not actually doing it. It’s imperative that you practice the behaviours that align with your values and visions of happiness. (Read the Dalai Lama passage again). Sometimes you will slip up, that’s ok, but be kind to yourself when you do and keep going with your practice knowing that you are evolving everyday. A little bit of time and effort will yield hugely satisfying rewards.

I’d be delighted to hear from you if you’d like to chat more about this.

Keep smiling,




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