Around 70% of people are not happy with their life – so don’t feel guilty if you’re one of them. The key to a happy life is not waiting for big events to happen, but instead finding joy in the everyday things.
Happiness and joy are no airy-fairy notions. You don’t need to wait for something big and life-changing to happen, like winning the lottery. Many of us fall into the happiness trap, thinking we need certain things in our life in order to be happy. We just need a bigger house, or a new car, or a beach holiday – and then we’ll be happy. But the thing is, if you need a vacation to be happy, you’re in trouble. Although a beach holiday is certainly a wonderful thing, it can never bring you lasting happiness – because what about the rest of the year?
It is in our everyday life that we need to find joy – so here are five things that will help you do just that.
Start prioritising your happiness
This is a great habit to develop. When it comes to making decisions, ask yourself: “Is this going to make me happy?” or “Is choosing A or B going to bring me more joy?” Pause for a few seconds and really think about it. This is not only important when making big decisions, such as moving house or starting a new job; but smaller, everyday decisions as well.
Would it bring you joy to see fresh flowers in your living room? Then buy some when you go shopping. Would you have more fun if you met up with a friend, or would you rather stay in and curl up on the sofa watching Netflix? Make your happiness a priority – and choose accordingly.
Of course, it’s not always possible to choose what’s best for you. Especially as a mother, sometimes your needs will be clashing with those of your children and you’ll have to put them first – but that’s all the more reason to prioritise yourself on other occasions.
Appreciate the little things
Drinking your coffee while it’s still hot? Having a good laugh? Kids making it to the potty on time? These may be small things – but they do matter. Appreciating small pleasures means you’re focusing on the present moment and you actually notice all these little things happening. And they do happen – the more you notice them, the more you realise that your day is actually full of them.
Just like Julia Robert says in this famous quote:
Usually the triumph of my day is, you know, everybody making it to the potty.
All mums can relate, right? The bottom line is that it’s easy to appreciate once-in-a-lifetime events; but those are, by their very nature, rare. The average days when nothing special is happening are made up of little things – and if you can find pleasure in them you will enjoy your life so much more.
Find something good in every situation
There will be lots of annoying and frustrating things happening. Every day. How you view these things, however, can make a huge difference. Being stuck in the house all day with a crying baby can be frustrating – but how about changing your perspective and saying, “My baby is crying, and only my arms will calm and soothe her. How fantastic that there is a human being who can be comforted by me, who loves me more than anything else in the world.”
It will help you tremendously if you can find little positive things even in situations that would otherwise be bad.
Here’s an exercise I’d like you to try: take a few moments every evening to think back about how your day went, and find one thing that started off as bad, but eventually led to a good thing. For example: You were stuck in traffic, but you got to hear your favourite song on the radio; your toddler was having a meltdown in the supermarket, but a kind stranger gave you some words of encouragement; your baby woke up way too early in the morning, but you got to see a beautiful sunrise. This little exercise is very powerful – give it a go and see how much better it makes you feel.
Surround yourself with positive people
This is a very important one. They say you become like the company you keep. The five people you spend most of your time with will shape the way you see the world – and the way you see yourself. Choose wisely: people who lift you up, who encourage you, who cheer you on, who are there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on; these are the people you want to hang out with.
If you’re already surrounded by such people that’s fantastic; but if you’re not, don’t worry. Go to some local mum groups to find like-minded mamas, join Facebook groups, or check out meetup.com to see what groups and activities are available in your area. Find your mama crew and hold on to them.
Laughter makes you feel good – and it’s also therapeutic. According to the HelpGuide article Laughter is the Best Medicine, laughter relaxes the body, boosts the immune system, triggers feel-good hormones, eases stress and anxiety, lightens anger’s heavy load, and it may even help you live longer. Grab every opportunity to laugh more: put on a good comedy movie, have a giggle with the baby, watch some funny videos on Facebook, share a joke with your friends. Anything that makes you smile is a good thing. Even if you start off with a fake smile, the muscles in your face will trick your brain into thinking that you’re happy – and genuine happiness will follow. How cool is that?
Happiness is not just for the rich and famous – it’s for everyone. As a busy mother who is raising a tiny human being and keeping a family together, you definitely deserve a joyful life – and it’s well within your grasp.