One of the things I occasionally hear from clients is that they are disappointed with their partner because he or she “doesn’t make me happy”. The strange thing is, other people bear much less responsibility for our happiness than we may think.
Even if others care about us, they cannot always do exactly what we want or be exactly what we want them to be. Try lowering your expectations of your partner and friends. People are flawed – and that includes you! Also, other people have a duty to themselves and their own happiness, not only to you.
Happiness involves appreciating people as they are and not relying on their actions. Happiness is not something other people can just hand to you. It is really something you find within yourself, or in other words, “an inside job.”
To a large extent, happiness is a choice. We can choose to focus on what we are lacking, how life had disappointed us, or we can focus on what we have. Appreciating the moment, whether it be a cool breeze on a hot day or a beautiful sunset, is good for you. This is something some countries with greater challenges than ours have figured out. Bhutan, a poor country is many ways, has instituted the eye-opening idea of Gross National Happiness.
One of the blessings of being a counsellor is seeing the situations others are facing. There is nothing like seeing a client struggling to make sense of the recent death of a loved one or being let go from a job they loved to make me grateful for what I have! And even for those people, there are moments each day to take pleasure from while waiting for the pain to pass.
You can help yourself to be happy by trying to smile more. Believe it or not, there is research that indicates the very act of smiling positively influences your emotions.
Two more things that will help you to be happier are eating small meals throughout the day, so that your blood sugar never drops too low, exercising at least a little bit every day and getting a good night’s sleep every night if at all possible. These things help give your body what it needs to allow your brain to function well, which may lead to greater happiness.
Be a doer, not a complainer. That way you will feel more empowered, in charge of your own life and strong. You don’t have to wait for everything in your life to be perfect to be happy. Seeing the glass as half full really does work. You can start cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” right now.
Helping people be happier, whether they come to me for help with depression, anxiety or relationship issues, is an important part of what I do. Contact me today and let’s see how we can help you improve your mood so that you experience more joy in life.