Sometimes, the commitments you make to yourself can be quite difficult to enforce. This is especially true if we're talking about life long habits.
When it comes down to it, I believe that if you want to feel happier, you have to learn to refocus your thoughts on positive things & aspects of your life. What do you focus on or think about most of the time? If you feel worried or anxious, you're probably thinking about something negative. If you're feeling unhappy, you're probably focusing on things you don't want to happen or that have already happened. As you hold onto those things, thoughts, scenarios or events, you eventually start to see them as your reality. As you constantly replay them in your mind, you end up subconsciously accepting them. We tend to forget how powerful our subconscious mind is.
The key to feeling happier is controlling that focus & not allowing those negative loops to take over. This is what is meant when "happiness has to come from within" is said. Very cliché I know, but true nonetheless. You have to guard your subconscious mind & pay attention to the information you feed it. There's no one simple way to do it either. It requires developing new habits, willingness to enforce them on a regular basis & of course commitment. It's something that will take time but will be worth it in the end.
Have A Grateful Heart
Gratitude can be one of the fastest ways to change your outlook on life. I've always considered myself a grateful person but it wasn't until I started a daily gratitude practice that I noticed how much I really took for granted. While I considered myself to be grateful, I still often complained or felt bothered by a lot of those 'first world problems', as we often called them.
Be grateful for the beautiful things in life, the things that make life easier. Be grateful for your health, your family, all the way down to things like running water. When you pay attention to all the good things in your life & let yourself to feel truly thankful for them, you notice more & more things that make your life beautiful & fun. You stop paying attention to everything that your life lacks.
Learn Something New, Often
I find great joy in learning new things. For a long time I didn't like leaving my comfort zone & I didn't like facing challenges. Be a life long learner. Remember that you are never too old to learn something new, it is never too late.
It can be anything from new language, cooking, photography, a sport, reading - anything that you think you might like. This is also a fantastic way to get yourself out of a rut or find some inspiration whenever you feel that your life is lacking creativity.
When speaking about decluttering I'm taking about your physical space as well as your mind. Identify the things in your life that don't serve you & simply eliminate them. This will help create more space & time for happiness for doing the things you love & adore. Create time for appreciating every little thin in your life whether that's enjoying dinner with a loved on or simply enjoying your morning teas. The same goes for tackling all the clutter in your physical space.
Get rid of everything you no longer need & remember that a lot of this 'stuff' can always be re-purposed, donated or recycled. I always feel great after I've cleaned up all the papers piling up on my desk or after cleaning my wardrobe. I always feel productive, organised & happy after one of my decluttering sessions.
Be More Present
Many of us, if not most of us, spend a good amount of time worrying & wondering about our future or regretting & re-living the past. Cliché I know, but only when we're living in the present moment, we're experiencing true joy & happiness.
If you think about it, this moment. This moment right here, right now, is never going to repeat itself. You can never go back on 'now', your 'now' will always be here & now, in the present moment. Whether you're reading your favourite book, drinking your morning coffee, spending time with loved ones; do your best to be present. Notice every smile, taste every single bite, feel every breath, every step, every kiss. Take time to celebrate your victories - even those very small ones as they are often just as important as the big.
Surround Yourself With People Who Lift You Higher
Gossip, complaining, nagging & negative thinking - these are things that we all do. Some of us do more often than others. You shouldn't have to feel guilty about cutting someone out of your life if you feel that they have a negative influence. It may not always be easy but it can be life changing. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself, people who smile & laugh a lot, people who chose to see the good in others & help make you feel happier. At the same time, I think it's important that you, yourself, are the kind of person you'd like to be around. If there are some people in your life who aren't exactly a positive influence but there's no possible way for you to avoid being around them, make sure you don't get sucked into their negativity. If you seem time talk about something negative, simply try turn the conversation around into something positive. Remember that protecting your energy is your responsibility.
Learn To Let Go
Pretty much every single one of us has been hurt in the past. Whether is be a person or a series of unfortunate events, some of us hold a grudge against something or someone. I think we all struggle with letting go sometimes but if we want to be happy, we need to learn to let go. We need to learn to forgive. Forgiveness can change your life. I'm not only talking about forgiving others but also about forgiving ourselves. I've been putting myself down for years & while I feel I've become better at positive reenforcement but I still struggle with moments of self-doubt, which I think a lot of us naturally do. I simply had to learn to forgive & let go.
At times we're way too hard on ourselves & we don't give ourselves enough love or credit for all that we do. Learning to let go of those limiting thoughts is a process, one that isn't easy. One where you have to explore different techniques & habits to find out what works best for you. It can involve anything from using affirmations or mantras, journaling, creating a daily mindfulness practice or exploring therapy. Learn how to forgive others but also yourself. Let go & move on.
One of the easy ways to feel happier right now is by becoming still. Listen to your thoughts, feel yourself breathing & slow down. We run around all day, working, taking care of others, trying to meet all the deadlines, making sure all the chores are done. Even if it's just for a few minutes a day, try being still. Try not to think about all the things that need doing. When you feel like your life is going by too fast, each day not much different from the other, just take a minute & be still & peaceful. When you start feeling angry, frustrated, stressed, simply take a moment, pause & be still.
Another very important thing that can help you feel happier is enough sleep. Poor sleep patterns are linked to difficultly concentrating, increased levels of stress hormones & our overall health. Not to mention that lack of sleep tends to make sure cranky. Combine it all together & you can picture how much not getting enough sleep can affect your happiness.
The truth is that there isn't just one thing that will make you feel happier. Being happy isn't about reaching a certain point in life, it's about focusing on finding & trying different things & developing positive patterns that will make you feel happier. If life has taught me anything over the recent years, it's that you can find happiness even in some of the darkest times. Even when everything seems to be falling apart, you just have to be careful about what you're choosing to focus on.