Last week, Joseph Darby, CEO and Financial Adviser at Milestone Direct Limited, shared ten tips to help maintain and boost happiness levels. In the final article of his two-part series, Joseph provides more helpful advice on how to ‘not worry and be happy.’
Relax about things we can’t control, focus on what we can
2020 threw a few things at us we couldn’t control. Try as we might, we can’t control many of the things this world has faced. Literally nothing is achieved when we focus too much on things out of our control. Focus on what we can influence and change,
This is the single most important principle of Stoicism, which is surging in popularity lately. Famous philosopher Epictetus sums it up as: “The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own . . .”
We might note that everything on this entire webpage are things we can control.
Live a balanced life
Our lives are like a wheel, with each spoke representing a different aspect of our life (family, friends, money, charity, hobbies, career, etc.). Wheels don’t roll very well if the spokes are different lengths. It can help if we’re intentional about developing the “spokes to our wheel”. With greater balance we can find greater strength and happiness.
No one likes to be stuck in a rut. Variety is the spice of life, so look for ways to break up our routine. Maybe take some time to research our area and try something new. We might take a day trip to a nearby area we’ve not spent time in. Try mixing up your routine, even simple things such as taking a different way to or from work.
Acknowledge change is the only constant
When we find ourselves in a tough spot, don’t obsess about it. To expect change can give hope during challenging or unexpected life events. Remember the only constant in the universe is change. We all face changes every day – whether it is a simple change in the weather, our schedule or expected change of seasons. Change affects us all and we each deal with change differently. Change itself is the only constant in life, the only thing we can be sure will happen.
If something interests us, we should pursue it. Take that first step. A lot of the things we pursue won’t stick initially but keep going regardless. Before long, something usually “clicks”, and everything falls into place.
Get a dog
Reputable research has found that dogs provide significant benefits in our lives, including a positive impact on our happiness. Better yet, maybe we can rescue a dog from our local shelter. The dog will probably be happier too!
Enjoy the present
There’s no changing yesterday, so cherish the best of it and don’t focus on past regrets. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to us either, so the present is all we really have – it pays to treasure every minute of it. Yes, of course we can all dream for tomorrow, but we can be happier if we avoid thinking too much about the future at the expense of living today.
Continually seek out challenges. Stretch our limits. We’ll have fun working through the challenge, it can even be a laugh to be terrible at something to begin with. The reward of success at something we needed to learn (maybe from scratch) can far exceed the sense of accomplishment we can feel doing something we’re good at already. Challenges and learning new things has plenty of well-known benefits for our brain too.
Believe the best is ahead
Optimism is a virtue. Our mindset goes a long way in creating our reality, and our tomorrow may well be better than our today simply by believing it to be true. Be an optimist.
We can’t change yesterday, but tomorrow offers unlimited opportunity.
The bottom line?
Happiness is a process, not a one-off event. It won’t happen overnight, but by following the steps above we might all live more fulfilled lives.