Make happiness a habit

You know how to be happy – you’ve done it many times. So why not do it more often?

To make happiness a way of life, you need routines that promote happiness. You can’t sustain physical fitness from one vigorous work-out; nor can you maintain happiness by doing something about it just once.

Happiness-promoting routines include things like:
– Getting enough sleep and nutritious food
– Exercise
– Practising gratitude
– Doing something you’re good at
– Being kind to yourself
– Trying new things
– Making connections with people. This means being genuine in your dealings with shop assistants or strangers, as well as nurturing your relationships with friends and family
– Doing nice things for people
– Doing things you enjoy. This means things you truly enjoy – not just things your partner enjoys or things you’re supposed to like. If you’re not sure what you enjoy, remember what you used to love doing in primary school
– Having beauty in your surroundings
– Singing
– Playing
– Laughing and joking
– Spending time in nature

These routines take discipline, especially if you’re not used to them. Happiness is not the same as comfort. You feel happier after you’ve been to the gym, but first you must overcome the inertia that has you lying on your comfortable couch. And it can take just as much discipline to stop working and go and play with the kids.

We experience happiness as a mood state, but it’s a way of being that involves our actions as well as our thoughts and feelings. Get the actions right and the feelings follow (and vice versa).

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