Do More of What Makes You Happy. It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Yet it’s not always the easiest thing to do. With our busy, chaotic lives we can sometimes feel like we are rushing from one thing to another with not a lot of happiness and joy in between. But it’s our responsibility to change that. It’s our responsibility to do more of what makes us happy.
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Let’s dive into 10 inspiring ways to do more of what makes you happy
1. Know What Makes You Happy
Do You Know What Makes You Happy?
I know this one seems like a no-brainer but to do more of what makes you happy, first you have to know what makes you happy.
When we go through a rough patch in life and it feels like we may never be happy again (think grieving the loss of someone we love or being heartbroken for example) it feels like we don’t know what makes us happy anymore.
Sometimes we have to make ourselves remember.
Right now I want you to write a list of 20 things that make you happy. They can be as little or as big as you want them to be but you have to come up with 20 off the top of your head.
Don’t worry I’m not going to make you do any of them right now! I just need you to focus on your list.
If you don’t have 20 things, that’s okay too, the point of this exercise is to get you thinking.
To do more things that make you happy you have to know what those things are, so your list is a pretty good place to start.
Resources for working out what makes you happy –
- The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun – Gretchen Rubin (book)
- Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and Other Experiments in Everyday Life – Gretchen Rubin (book)
- Find Your F*cking Happy: A Journal to Help Pave the Way for Positive Sh*t Ahead – Monica Sweeney (Zen as F*ck Journals) – (book)
- How to Rediscover What Makes You Happy When Life Feels Like a Hampster Wheel of Work, Errands, and Netflix – Yes and Yes (website)
2. Stop doing things that make you unhappy
If you want to do more of what makes you happy, stop doing things that make you unhappy.
Oh, hang on, wait a sec. While like the one above this might seem like a no-brainer, it needs to be said because unfortunately, we do things that make us unhappy all the time.
Living with a person you can’t stand, staying in a horrible relationship, staying in a job you hate with a passion, spending time with people you don’t like, pretending to enjoy something that you loathe just to make someone else happy.
We do this stuff all the time.
The quickest way to do more of what makes you happy is to cut out or greatly minimize the parts that make you miserable.
Related posts and books to help stop doing things that make you unhappy –
- How to Make Yourself Miserable – 15 Behaviors That Will Make You Miserable
- How to Stop Lying to Yourself About Your Feelings and Actions
- How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t: 14 Habits That Are Holding You Back From Happiness – Andrew Owen (I love this book, it personally helped me a lot and I highly recommend it!)
3. Find your small happy
If you find yourself in a situation where finding your happiness feels hard, you might be thinking too big picture.
Start small. Find your small happy.
When you can’t get excited about those big-ticket happiness items, don’t stress yourself out more by beating yourself up about not feeling happier.
Start finding little things that make you smile.
Honestly, it could be a pretty flower (who cares if it’s a weed!) in your garden or the antics of your neighbor’s dog, it doesn’t matter.
It’s all about consistency. Start by finding lots of small happiness throughout your day. Let them build on each other. Let lots of small joys work their magic.
Do more of what makes you happy in baby steps.
When it comes to finding your happiness (big or small), it helps to not overthink it. Just start being more aware of the things that bring you joy and happiness, and then include more of those in your life.
Related post – How to Have a Big Life When Your Life Feels Small
4. Schedule your happy
You might be thinking scheduling doesn’t sound like it has much to do with happiness but hear me out! Yes of course you can be happy any minute of any day, no scheduling required! No disputing that.
But some of those big events like going on holiday, going to the theatre, or attending a movie festival, need to be booked and scheduled in your calendar. Some happiness events take planning. Even a casual lunch catch-up with friends takes some planning.
If you are constantly working, studying, or working through your list of chores you might neglect to put downtime in your calendar. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy working, studying, or your chores, they very well might be on your do more of what makes you happy list and that’s okay.
I’m just suggesting you take the time to plan and schedule some fun things in your calendar to make sure fun doesn’t end up at the bottom of your to-do list because as we all know sometimes the things at the bottom don’t ever happen.
Related post – Are You Having Enough Fun?
5. Don’t compare your happiness
The quickest way to crush your happiness is to compare it to someone else’s.
Remember the idea is to do more of makes YOU happy not do more of what makes your spouse, best friend, parents, or a complete stranger on the Internet happy.
This is about YOU.
Comparison usually leaves us feeling inadequate or insecure. Two feelings that don’t gel well for happiness.
I know it can be easy to compare ourselves. I know we can look at pictures of other people’s happiness and get that sinking feeling.
Thinking something for a second isn’t the problem – holding onto our negative thoughts and turning them into feeling bad about ourselves is the problem.
While we might not be able to fully stop ourselves from having negative thoughts of comparison, we can stop ourselves from dwelling on them. Learning how to quickly change our thoughts and feelings is the key.
This post has a range of techniques that can help. Read 12 Techniques to Stop Feeling Inferior or Insecure for tips on how to change your thinking. Another post that you might find helpful is Does Other People’s Success Make You Feel Bad About Yourself?
6. Be okay with your happiness looking different from someone else’s
When you do wander into the territory of comparing, you might notice something interesting.
Your version of happy might look very different from other people’s.
And you know what – that is perfectly okay!!
Unfortunately, some people might make you feel that it isn’t okay and that their version of happiness is more important or happier than yours.
Just because all of your friends adore camping, doesn’t mean you have to love camping. Just because your version of happiness is an afternoon on the couch with the cat, a cup of tea and a brilliant book doesn’t mean the campers are happier than you! You can be a happy camper hanging out with your book as well (sorry I couldn’t resist that one!) 🙂
Your happiness (particularly if you are an introvert) might mean doing some things alone. If you are an extrovert, you will most likely enjoy having more people around you. You also might enjoy being the center of attention and doing all the talking. But that doesn’t make your way of being happy the right approach for everyone else.
To truly do more of what makes YOU happy, you need to make peace with the fact that your happy might look very different from other people’s. You need to stand up for yourself when people try (and they will try) to burn your happiness house down and tell you what you should be doing.
Stay strong on defending your happiness.
Related post – How to Lighten Up – 25 Tips for More Fun Play and Relaxation
7. Strive to combine your happy and healthy
I don’t mean to be a downer with this one but another suggestion would be to try to balance healthy with your happy.
The reason I say this is because sometimes our – do more of what makes us happy actions – can be incredibly bad for us long-term. Our short-term happiness and our long-term happiness do not always align.
Take eating cheesecake for instance. Eating my favorite cheesecake makes me very happy. 🙂 I savor the moment, take my time and enjoy every bite. I also only eat my favorite cheesecake very occasionally.
Why? Because if I ate it all the time it would have a negative effect on my health.
It’s like television. Sitting on the couch watching your favorite shows might make you happy but if you spend too much time on that couch, your health can be affected in a variety of ways (particularly if couch snacks are involved). If you are watching too much television and neglecting other important parts of your life that will have a negative impact.
Many of the things that we enjoy doing like drinking, shopping, and eating can blow up our happiness if we let them take over our lives.
Strive to find a good balance of health and happiness. To help you do this, take a long hard look at some of your more unhealthy habits and see where you can flip those over into healthy ones.
This doesn’t mean you have to give up all the unhealthy things that make you happy (I’m not giving up my favorite cheesecake any time soon!) it just means finding a healthy balance.
Resources to help improve your habits –
- Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – James Clear (book)
- 10 Best Books on Habits – Learn How to Break Old Habits and Create New Ones
8. Ditch your happiness milestone checklist
This one is super important because if you have a checklist of things to do before a certain deadline that means only then you can be happy, you could be headed for a world of pain.
What am I talking about exactly? I’m talking about things like –
- I’ll be happy when I get married before I turn 30
- I’ll be happy when I have a baby by 35
- I’ll be happy when I lose 10 pounds for my holiday/prom/wedding (substitute whatever here!)
- I’ll be happy when I get a boyfriend/girlfriend
- I’ll be happy when I get that promotion/get to be the boss/get a raise etc
- I’ll be happy when I have more money (there’s usually an amount involved with this one)
- I’ll be happy when I retire.
Let me just say, I am all about having goals. Having goals is great. Achieving your goals is wonderful and something that should be celebrated.
Delaying your happiness is not.
It’s being happy while we are striving for our goals that give our lives more meaning and purpose. After all, the journey of achieving our goals and working towards what we want shouldn’t be a slog through misery. We need to seek ways to find happiness in the process and journey, not just in the end result.
Not to mention, life throughs curve balls at us all the time, so it may take a lot longer to get what we want to be or we may find ourselves on a completely different path in life than the one we expected.
This is why you shouldn’t delay your happiness. Enjoy the journey of doing more of what makes you happy and ditch the checklist because you never know what life has in store for you, so you need to have fun along the way.
Related post – 20 Inspiring Happiness Quotes
9. What’s stopping you?
This one is more about your mindset than your checklist.
Is something stopping you from doing more of makes you happy? Is something holding you back?
Speaking to a friend recently about how unhappy she was, I asked her what would make her happy. She advised she wanted to be a writer.
Once I heard this, I gleefully told her that was great news, because she could write at any time. She could start writing as soon as we hung up from our conversation.
But that is not her real problem.
She said she couldn’t be a writer because her family depended on her financially. She blamed her family for stopping her from doing what she wanted to do. She blamed her family for her inability to start writing.
But the truth is no one is stopping her except herself.
Granted she probably couldn’t quit her job tomorrow and become a full-time writer overnight but she could write at any time. The family angle is just an excuse.
Most of the time we are held back by our own excuses.
The process of working out what’s stopping you might involve a big dose of honesty on your part. Often it’s easier to blame other people or our circumstances for our unhappiness instead of getting in and doing the work required.
You might be the very (and only) thing stopping you from your do more of what makes you happy plan. If you need help working out what’s stopping you, speak to a trained professional counselor. Whatever country you live in, do some research to see if they have a free Helpline service. Reach out for help when you need it.
I know I mentioned this book earlier but it really helped me, so think about grabbing your own copy of How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t: 14 Habits That Are Holding You Back From Happiness by Andrew Owen. It’s a game-changer!
10. Work out where your priorities lie
What do you value more – experiences or possessions?
When it comes to your happiness it helps to know whether you prefer to spend your money on experiences or on possessions.
If buying an expensive new pair of shoes makes you happy, that’s great but if you would rather spend your money on a weekend away with friends, skip the shoes and pack your bag.
If you have a lot of money and you can afford both, that’s great and I am happy for you.
Generally speaking though, we often have to choose wisely what we spend our money on. If you are a person who values experiences but spends all of your money on buying stuff and limiting your experiences, how do you think that is going to affect your happiness level?
Your happiness level may decrease because buying a new high-end dishwasher, washing machine, and fridge doesn’t make you happy. Sure they’re items that you need and use but if you value experiences, these products won’t significantly ramp up your happiness quota.
Not to mention a lot of the things we purchase are on credit, so you still have to pay that happiness back and if you don’t love your job, those possessions are going to look a lot less attractive if it takes months of doing something you don’t like to pay them off. I’m certainly not saying don’t buy them if you need them but perhaps buying the most expensive top-of-the-range model isn’t necessary!
I remember when I was a young girl and my parents would take me out on Sunday drives and I would look at all the big, beautiful houses as we drove past. Even then my first thought looking at those houses was – Are the people who live there happy?
You can have the finest, most expensive things and the biggest most beautiful house but still, be miserable.
Being out in nature, admiring the beauty around us, quality time spent with family and friends, hugging someone we love, telling someone we love them, precious time with our beautiful pets, traveling to amazing countries, and connecting with different cultures, are just some of the experiences that fill our hearts with joy and happiness.
Work out what you value most and do more of that.
Related post – The Real Cost of Buying Stuff You Don’t Need
Do More of What Make you happy
You only get one shot at this amazing, crazy, beautiful, chaotic thing called life. One-shot!
So how is that list of 20 things that make you happy going? How about we add another 10 things to that list?
If you are having trouble with your list, don’t despair because I have some great news for you.
You haven’t even discovered some of the things that make you happy yet.
Yes, that’s right, you haven’t discovered all of your happiness triggers yet because you are still learning, and growing as a person, which means there are a whole bunch of new and exciting things out there that can make you happy! You just need to keep trying new things to discover what they are.
Your happiness is within your control. Grab it with both hands and do more of what makes you happy.
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