Simple Way to be Happier

Ever noticed how some of the very best advice is incredibly simple?

Yeah… the best advice is simple in theory, but usually much harder to implement!

Behaviour change is often difficult and requires us to be patient with ourselves. But I believe it’s still worth doing.

Here’s one of the simplest yet truest facts of life I’ve noticed repeatedly over the years…

“Happy people tend to focus on what they like, have and want. Unhappy people tend to focus on what they don’t like, don’t have and don’t want.”

Bollinger, R. (2019)

So, if you want to be happier, you need to change what you think about.

When you think about the above, what objections are popping into your mind? Do you feel fully justified in the way you look at the world? You probably do! But I’d ask yourself to just try out thinking differently, even if it feels dumb or weird.

Your brain is very good at pulling you closer to things you focus on. When you’re first learning to drive and a car comes towards you in the other lane, if you focus your eyes on the car, there’s a good chance you’ll accidentally start to steer towards it.

As you gain experience driving, you learn to keep your eyes focussed on the road ahead, in other words: where you want to go.

And it’s similar in other areas of your life…

Instead of focussing negatively on problems, see if there’s a more positive way to think about the situation. What could you do to make the situation better?

Instead of dwelling on all the things you feel your life is missing, practice gratitude each day for the small but important things in life… the ability to breath (mostly) clean air, sunshine on your face, the freedoms we take for granted (at least in the West).

I’m not saying that doing this consistently is easy. It’s actually really hard to change our thought patterns! But a good first step is to try to notice when you’re being negative. Ask yourself if there’s a better way to think about the situation. Notice if your new thoughts change the way you feel.

Be gentle and patient with yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s taken me many years to think more positively on a fairly consistent basis. I still have days when I feel utterly depressed and hopeless. But thankfully, those days seem to be becoming fewer and fewer.

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