15 habits of incredibly happy people
I’ve gone over dozens of research papers in the pursuit of learning more about the subject — happiness in work and life is a topic to take seriously, so I’m always on the hunt for inspiration and insight.
Thoughtful words from C.S. Lewis, but do they equate to real life happiness? Our self-esteem is a bit of a tricky topic, because current research on self-esteem paints a very inconsistent picture: it seems that high self-esteem is certainly related to happiness, but it can produce other problems with the ego.
For instance, a variety of research suggests that self-esteem that is bound to external success can be a fickle beast — certain students who tied their self-esteem to their grades experienced small boosts when they received an acceptance letter (grad school), but harsh drops in self-esteem when they were rejected.
Indeed, similar findings were reported for those who base their self-esteem on career success and appearance. Conversely, those who do not tie their self-esteem as strongly to external motivators tend to have less of a “roller coaster” of emotions to the things that happen to them, and are generally more happy as a result.
Perhaps the most insidious danger of high self-esteem is that it can lead to a focus on the avoidance of failure over the quest for success, which can cause a mindset that “protects” the self-esteem by self-handicapping so one isn’t ever seen as a failure.
Instead, find a happy middle ground by heeding the words of C.S. Lewis — don’t think less of yourself as a person, but think of yourself less, focusing more on betterment of yourself for the sake of those around you, rather than for your own ego.
A Comparison List to Find What’s Blocking Your Happy
Before you embark on your happiness journey, it’s helpful to list what makes you happy and what doesn’t. After you make this list, you’ll better understand what you need to work on to bring more happiness and peace to your life.
Now that you have your list, what are you going to do with it? Review it and take a trip down memory lane. Try and track back to happier times in your life. When were you your happiest in life? Channel those moments and see if you can find that part of you again.
You may not be able to recreate those moments, but you can at least get inspired by them. Happiness comes in layers. And you may find that you’d like to explore newer options that bring you happiness, which is completely fine.
Is shame holding you back? Do you feel overwhelmed or alone? Are you having trouble loving the way you look? If any of these things ring true for you, it’s time to address those negative feelings so you can work past them.
Here are a few simple activities that will help you become more mindful of caring for yourself:
Take your energy “temperature” at various points throughout the day, assigning it a number from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest energy level. Pay attention to the details of your day so you can identify the people or events that impact you the most.
Once you are aware of some of the people or events that sabotage your energy, consider your next steps. Rather than tackling everything at once, choose an area that is important to you, and be realistic with the goals you set. For instance, if disorganization in your home is a big source of daily stress, pick one cabinet, closet or drawer to clear out each week instead of overwhelming yourself with doing it all at once. Then move on to your next goal when you feel ready.