Happiness is a broad concept that has diverse connotations across different cultures, generations, and social groups. It’s something we all strive towards, which can sometimes be the biggest hindrance towards achieving it on a regular basis.
Think about it: if you’re too focused on the future, it can be hard or even impossible to feel happy in the present. We let our expectations and worries get the best of us, and lose the precious ability of being able to cultivate joy during any situation.
Fortunately, there are ways to get around this. Everyone has the ability to make tiny changes in their behaviour, environment, and relationships to have a happier life. Below we’ll be discussing the biggest challenges that people face when trying to be happy in the moment, and how to overcome them.
The two most important components of happiness
Understanding these two facets will help you get back to the big picture in moments when you’re feeling stressed or down.
- Emotional equilibrium: Everyone has positive and negative emotions, feelings, and moods. Being able to stay positive will lead to greater happiness.
- Life satisfaction refers to how happy you are with the major aspects of your life, such as your relationships, career, accomplishments, and other essential things.
How happiness can be cultivated
Simply ‘being happy’ is a grandiose goal that can be hard to define. Take some time to consider what happiness means to you, then come up with small steps that will help you achieve your version of happiness.
Remember that it doesn’t have to look like anybody else’s (though there’s nothing wrong with following certain traditions) – you get to make the rules! Think of the type of life you want to lead and the moments or activities that bring you positive feelings.
To find consistent happiness, you’ll need to learn to apply these values to your everyday life.
- Reframe your negative thoughts
The power of positive thinking is massive. It gives you the power to influence your mood, and your overall level of happiness. Adopt a ‘glass half full’ approach; we know this is difficult if you’ve gotten used to negative thinking, but it will truly make a difference.
Whenever a negative situation occurs, try to find at least one positive thing that’s also occurring and focus on it. And above all, be kind to yourself. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.
- Always look out for glimmers of joy
Glimmers are the opposite of triggers. They are little things that evoke joy, peace, or any other positive emotion. They can be pleasant elements of nature, like a flower peeking through a bush or a ray of sun lighting up your room. Or they can be man-made items that bring contentment, like a comforting drink or a candle that emits your favorite scent.
Savor each and every glimmer that comes your way; there are more of them than you realize.
- Learn to focus on the present
You may struggle to be happy in the moment because you’re not thinking about the moment.
If you find yourself thinking about the past or future, re-shift your focus to your breath. You can then take in your surroundings again once you’ve taken a few cleansing inhales and exhales.
- Try to avoid self-comparisons
They say ‘comparison is the thief of joy’, and we wholeheartedly agree. Don’t let assumptions get the best of you. Remember that you can never see the full picture, even if someone looks like they’re doing better than you. Instead, focus on all the great things you’ve got going on in your life and your proudest accomplishments.
Cultivating happiness is something that takes time. It can’t be done overnight, but once you’ve learned to shift your mindset your quality of life will significantly improve.