As the New Year starts, it’s filled with hope and aspirations (usually); everyone’s thinking about resolutions, planning their next trip, or simply contemplating what exciting new things they want to do.
But really we are looking at one thing: how to have a better and happier New Year?
When you think about it, why would you do anything if it doesn’t make you happier? Why would you go to work, start a company or have children, if any of these don’t make you happier? So as part of our Believe in Happy campaign, we have decided to suggest some of our best tips on how we, at Funky Pigeon, try our best to stay happy every day.
Know what makes you happy
Start by making a list of all the small things that contribute to your happiness. From feeling the sun warming your face, to the birds singing as you walk to work, or maybe the taste of your first morning coffee. Keeping such a list helps to stay focused on the present as you go through each day, and will remind you how many great things there are in your life.
Focus on what’s good in your life
Try to break down every good thing in the different areas of your life, such as work, family, friends and yourself. Then, start to review all the positive things which surround you in each category, to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything. This practical exercise is crucial in helping you feel grateful and satisfied for what you already have.
Feel good working towards your own life goals
A life goal could be a project such as: redecorating a room, writing a book, forming a band, growing plants or vegetables, or anything where you have an objective requiring a certain amount of work to achieve it.
During the process, you’ll have a nice feeling of making progress towards a worthwhile goal. So, it all starts with thinking about some goals and writing them down (not just having them in your head), then you’ll have something concrete to move towards allowing that rewarding feeling of progress.
Identify your sources of stress
Being late on a deadline, multitasking, having an unpleasant job hanging over you, interruptions when you’re in a hurry to finish something: a lot can make us feel overwhelmed and stressed. If you don’t do things at the last minute, but rather ahead of time, then you will generally feel much more positive and in control. For that, a simple tip is to write every small job down, and then focus on one at a time. Knowing you have everything written down will also help reassure you that you’re not forgetting anything.
Spend more time with your friends
How many times have you heard or said “we must do this more often” but never found the time to follow it up? Your friends are probably the biggest source of happiness in your life. So, it’s vital to have a system and to put some time aside. Whether it’s a repeating reminder in your calendar or suggesting a weekly meet up in all your WhatsApp groups, or even pre-booking tickets to an event you know everyone will like. – Whatever system works for you, try reaching out and taking the lead.
Learn every day
Can you fly a plane, speak French or Spanish, rebuild a bike or sing well? Do you have any projects that are causing you to learn new things? Learning itself is inspiring, but it also boosts your self-esteem to know a number of things that you’re good at. Maybe you could sign up for a course, or ask your friends or family to teach you something they know?
Come out of your comfort zone
What do you like doing but you could maybe take one step further? Reaching a higher mountain, making a bigger conference speech, or acquiring a bigger customer – it’s also fine if your personal challenges are smaller as long as they will give you a bit of a challenge and excitement, which makes us all feel more alive. You might not think it’s a good idea at first, but the enjoyment you could find in preparing for your challenge and the sense of achievement you’d feel afterwards, could help you have a better 2019.
Enjoy past memories
Go through your old photos and wallow in the fun you had during some of your favourite moments in life. Something as simple as sitting with a loved one on the sofa and flicking through some old albums, could really improve your mood and outlook on life. Maybe sit with your children and go through their childhood pictures, or even your own childhood pictures, which your kids would almost certainly find funny, cheering them up!
Act with kindness
You’ve heard to before, but acting with kindness might come at a small cost to you (in terms of time or money), but it could make a big difference to someone else. And so, put simply, you should do it. You’ll most likely find that this should make you happier too, so everybody wins. Similarly, it’s okay to say no to something that will make you unhappy, if the downside for you, outweighs the upside for them.
Our rule is pretty simple: never say or even think negative thoughts about yourself, or about the future. Never dwell on what might happen, because visualizing something going wrong makes it more likely to happen. Instead, we recommend you to do the exact opposite: visualise potential positive things about to happen, or positive expectations about the future. Trying to break the most common negative thought pattern could be a first step to positive thinking.
We hope at least one of these 10 tips may have inspired you, or helped you improve your happiness for this 2019. If you need further professional help and advice, please contact mental health professional such as: your GP, Mind Charity, or your local Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs).