13 tips for improving your personal happiness

13 TIPS FOR IMPROVING PERSONAL HAPPINESSYou’ll be as happy as you choose to be.

Yes, life can be challenging. Yes, life can be full of frustrations and disappointments. And yes, other people can drive you nuts at times.

No one’s life is perfect and everyone has problems.

However, your level of personal happiness will be dictated by how you choose to look at life.

You can let life’s challenges make you feel miserable or you can refuse to let anything get you down.

You can just say to yourself, I’m going to be happy and nothing is going to stop me.

You will find that being happy isn’t as hard as it appears to be at times.

Here are 13 ways that will help you increase your sense of personal happiness and improve your life too:-

1. Talk to yourself positively:

One of the greatest contributors to unhappiness is what’s going on in our heads.

Everyone is prone to self-doubt and feelings of not being quite good enough.

Everyone worries about being ‘found out’ in their job.

It’s easy to assume that in some way you’re not really very good at what you do and you think eventually someone will notice. Have you had that experience dear reader?

We all struggle to appreciate that we’re actually better than we think we are and that if we really couldn’t do the work for which we are paid, someone would have noticed already and they would have said something.

Negative self-talk can really grind you down. So stop it now.

Replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk.

Tell yourself constantly that you’re better than you think you are and that you have every reason to like yourself.

And adopt this saying as your personal mantra; I’m as good as anyone and I will show them all that I’m better than most!

Repeat it to yourself frequently and every time when even the slightest hint of doubt pops into your mind.

2. Value the people in your life:

Your social network, i.e. the people with whom you interact, and your relationships are essential to your personal happiness.

Human beings are social animals. We’re not solitary creatures like cats. We need other people, frustrating as some of them can be at times.

Remember we’re all different. We’re all individuals. So accept people for who they are and what they are. Everyone has many sides to their individual personalities. No one is perfect.

So look for the good in people and don’t judge their less flattering sides too harshly. Never forget, we all have a less flattering side.

However keep away from personality clashes and arguments. Let go of any resentment you may feel towards individuals. Just remember they’re not perfect, just like you.

If an argument seems inevitable, seek first to understand and then to be understood.

By understanding the other person’s point of view and why they feel the way they feel, you just might find you get along with them so much better.

And even if after you’ve listened carefully, if you still think they’re wrong, so what?

You can always agree to disagree.

You don’t have to prove you’re right and they’re wrong.

It doesn’t have to be about you proving you’re right all the time.

Peace and harmony are of much greater value to your personal happiness than being proved right.

So just let it go. 

3. Be grateful:

Being grateful for whatever you have, is an important part of your personal happiness.

Being thankful is a great attitude to develop.

If you think about it, I’m sure there will be at least as few things for which you can be truly thankful. Simple things like having a laugh with a friend whilst having a coffee or a meal.

They don’t have to be big things.

Little things that put a smile on your face are far more important to your personal happiness than any amount of material possessions.

In fact, material possessions don’t make you happy at all. Mostly the resulting clutter they create is just a source of stress and extra work.

Take the time to thank those people who provide you with even the smallest things. Making a point of saying thank you will help you realize just how abundant your life is in reality. 

4. Avoid doom and gloom:

The media tends to focus on bad news.

Unfortunately, bad news attracts more attention than good news and media channels are focused on ratings. They make money from eyeballs watching and ears listening.

They’re in the business of making money not cheering you up, so they’ll focus on bad news always.

It is a fact that most news is depressing and stressful.

With 24 hour rolling news channels our lives are filled with a lot of stuff that can fill us with doom and gloom if we’re not careful.

Watching, listening to, or reading the news will detract from your personal happiness.

So, if the news is just a source of doom and gloom then it’s a good idea to get less of it, don’t you think?

Switch it off and find something else to do that will cheer you up.

5. Manage your time wisely:

Your time is precious and it should be used and managed wisely.

Just because someone expects a piece of your time doesn’t mean they’re entitled to it.

Only you can judge whether they’re worthy of your time. And it’s perfectly reasonable to say No if you think that’s appropriate.

No one has an unlimited amount of time. We all have just 168 hours per week. So we all must make the most of our time because time is far too important to waste.

If someone requests a piece of your time then make sure they have a very good reason to justify it. Otherwise just say No politely but very firmly.

It’s your life, so live it your way. 

6. Find something to make you laugh each day:

Let’s face it, life is far too short to be serious all the time.

Occasionally we need to laugh to alleviate our stress levels.

Laughter is the best medicine, or so they say. And I think it’s true. A good laugh can really cheer you up.

So make sure you enjoy a good laugh at least once a day. It may be watching a sitcom you love or a funny animal video on YouTube. Whatever puts a smile on your face then that’s fine. You need to smile because it will help you relax.

It may be a funny joke that makes you laugh.

And if that happens, remember to share the joke with family and friends. That way you get to laugh twice. Once when you hear the joke and again when you share it.

Laugh and laugh vigorously every single day. 

Personal Happiness7. Let people know what they mean to you:

If people matter to you then be sure to let them know occasionally.

Don’t be afraid to communicate your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you.

Being open about your feelings is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.

It’s a sign that you’re confident enough in yourself to let people know what they mean to you.

It’s a sign that you recognize how important it is for people to know that they matter to you. They’ll appreciate it and that will enhance the bond between you. 

8. Don’t bottle up your negative emotions:

Pent-up feelings of anger and frustration are bad for your health.

Yes, we all feel angry occasionally but suppressing it is counter-productive.

If you’re not happy about something it’s better to say so.

Occasionally you may need to say so forcefully too. However, never say it in a way that’s mean and hurtful. That’s just being unpleasant.

And if you do say something which you later recognize as mean and hurtful then apologize. Never be afraid, or too proud, to apologize.

You won’t be the first person to say something you later regret but don’t compound the offence but failing to offer a sincere apology.

At the very least that will show you’re big enough to recognize when you’re in the wrong.

If you can learn to express your anger and frustration in a way that will not cause injury or hurt to anyone then you’ll be on the road to being a very decent human being. 

9. Have a sense of purpose:

It’s important to have a sense of purpose.

To work each day at something in which you excel and which gets you out of bed in the morning.

Working hard at something you love can bring you great personal contentment.

Your work is your contribution to society and potentially the legacy you leave behind.

For instance, John Lennon left a wonderful collection of songs that we still listen today almost 40 years after his death. That’s a fantastic legacy.

Work gives you a sense that you have the capability to finish tasks.

Work is a source of satisfaction when you take on a challenge and use your skills and know-how to complete it. In this way, you grow in character.

Through your work, you use your time profitably and when the working day is done you feel you’ve earned your rest and recreation.

Work well done, with a sense of purpose, will make you feel good about yourself. 

10. Never stop learning:

Learning does not finish when you leave school or college. Learning is a lifelong process. And it does not necessarily involve formal tuition.

You can be self-taught and learn by doing.

You can read books and watch instructional DVDs or video tutorials on YouTube.

You can listen to audio-books and podcasts in your car or whilst travelling on public transport.

So be a committed student and work constantly on being a master of your craft.

Working constantly on achieving mastery will increase the value you can offer in the workplace and it will make you a very attractive proposition is the job market.

Learning is a joyful exercise, particularly if it’s a subject you love.

The more you learn, the greater will be the number of skills you can offer. The more skills you have the more value you add. So, learn something new each and every day.

And remember; learning will also broaden your horizons. Learning is a positive experience, so never stop learning. 

11. The power of faith:

Faith can be a great comfort in times of trial. Believing there is some higher power helps us to appreciate our place within the universe. We are nothing more than specs of dust in a great cosmic cloud.

Faith adds discipline to your life. Whichever faith you choose is not important. Well, I don’t think so anyway. However being part of a spiritual group with its singing, sacraments, chanting, prayers and meditations encourages inner peace and personal well-being.

It also encourages the idea of service and putting others first.

Never underestimate the power of faith. 

12. Don’t let pollution take its toll on you:

Pollution comes in many forms but it all takes its toll of your personal happiness and well-being.

Life is full of toxins, hazardous places, loud noises, light pollution and much more.

Minimize your exposure to these negative elements because they’re an assault on your senses and they’re not good for you if you’re over-exposed to them. 

13. Regular exercise improves your health and well-being:

A sedentary lifestyle is not healthy for anyone.

Our bodies were built for movement. So exercise daily.

That doesn’t mean you must go to the gym. Neither does it mean you must participate in formal sports teams or clubs.

You can exercise in simple ways like running, jogging, a brisk walk or even an informal game of football or tennis with friends in the local park.

Even if you’re just taking your dog for a walk then that’s exercise too.

Alternatively perhaps you could walk to and from work, if possible, rather than using your car or public transport.

Just do what your body was made for and you will feel a bit more alive.

Conclusion:

Today’s underlying message is that you can choose to be happy or not. It all depends on how you choose to look at life and the slings and arrows that life sends your way.

There’s nothing to be gained by being miserable and a sense of personal happiness is better for your health and well-being.

So choose to be happy and develop habits that will lead you to a state of personal happiness.

It’s not easy of course, and it does take some work but it’s well worth the effort.

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21 thought-provoking quotes about happiness to inspire you

Quotes about happinessYou’ll be as happy as you choose to be.

Yes, life’s challenging. Yes, life’s full of frustrations and disappointments. And yes, people do drive you nuts occasionally.

No one’s life is perfect, despite any outward signs to the contrary.

And it is a fact that everyone has problems.

Personal happiness depends on how we choose to look at life. It’s that simple. Happiness is not a destination it’s a state of being.

So if you’re not currently in that state, here are 21 thought-provoking quotes about happiness to help you.

You can let life’s challenges make you feel miserable or you can refuse to let anything get you down.

Focus on the good things in your life, however few and small they may be.

Just say to yourself, I’m going to be happy and nothing is going to stop me.

You will find that being happy isn’t as hard as it might appear to be.

Enjoy these 21 thought-provoking quotes about happiness and I hope they help to increase your sense of personal happiness and make your life much more fulfilling:-

Quotes about happinessQuotes about happiness:

  1. Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life. ~Omar Khayyam
  2. No medicine cures what happiness cannot. ~Gabriel García Márquez
  3. One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory. ~Rita Mae Brown
  4. Whoever is happy will make others happy. ~Anne Frank
  5. We forge the chains we wear in life. ~Charles Dickens
  6. Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. ~Ernest Hemingway
  7. People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. ~Anton Chekhov
  8. The most important thing is to enjoy your life, to be happy, it’s all that matters. Audrey Hepburn
  9. Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible. ~St Augustine
  10. It is not how much we have but how much we enjoy that makes happiness. ~Charles Spurgeon
  11. The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet. ~James Oppenheim
  12. Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
  13. Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be. ~Abraham Lincoln
  14. Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. ~Robert Brault 
  15. I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve. ~Jane Austen
  16. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more. ~Roy T. Bennett 
  17. Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed? ~Hunter S. Thompson
  18. If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes. ~Andrew Carnegie
  19. For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson 
  20. You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. ~Albert Camus
  21. Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for. ~Joseph Addison

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The importance of friends to our lives

FriendsFriends are the family you choose. ~Jess C. Scott

Dear reader, were you a fan of that wonderful American, television sitcom Friends? Wouldn’t it have been great to share their company and all the fun they had in Central Perk?

For me that show highlighted the important role that our friends play in our lives.

It is a fact that we don’t get to choose our family but the good news is that we do get to choose our friends.

Friendship is a relationship of equals. A good friendship has a power dynamic that’s always in equilibrium.

Friends are the people whose company we enjoy; people with whom we feel a real sense of connection and with whom we share common interests. They are also people we’d be willing to go out of our way to help if we thought they were in trouble.

Family and loyalty go together of course. You can’t really have one without the other. And a relative can be a friend too, of course. As were Ross and Monica in Friends, for instance.

However just because you’re related to someone doesn’t mean you’ll like them or that they’ll like you. Being related is no guarantee you’ll enjoy their company.

Friends are different; friends are special.

If you have a small number of really close friends then you’re very lucky indeed.

Appreciate your friends because they’re the people that make life worth living. They’re the people that add a sparkle to a life that could otherwise be quite dull.

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Why enjoying yourself can never be a waste of time

Enjoying yourselfTime you enjoyed wasting, was not wasted. ~John Lennon

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a great believer in making the most of your time.

In particular, a constant message from me is that you should not waste your time. However, as with everything, it is important to strike a balance, of course.

As the late John Lennon reminds us in his observation above, truly enjoying yourself can never be a waste of time.

Enjoying yourself and having fun has positive benefits for your health, both physical and mental.

For a start, it reduces stress. Also what would be the point of life if you couldn’t have a little fun occasionally? All work and no play will make you a very dull person indeed.

Remember the words in that old Music Hall song, “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think. Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink.”

For any reader not familiar with the expression ‘in the pink‘ it’s British slang for being in a good state of health.

You can’t be serious all the time, dear reader. Sometimes you’ve just got to have some fun. So go on, start having some fun right now. You know you want to.

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The secret to happiness that everyone should know

Secret to HappinessIf you’re reading this blog post, read reader, then perhaps you’ve been searching for the secret to happiness? If you have, you’re not alone. Many search but few find real happiness.

Well, if happiness is what you seek, then allow me to enlighten you.

Money’s not the answer:

When you hear news of someone winning big on a lottery, do you ever think that you’d be so much happier if only you could win big too? You’d be happy, if only you had a lot of money, right?

Certainly having money can make life comfortable. There’s no question about that. And who wouldn’t want to be comfortable?

Having money can allow you to do all sorts of things you couldn’t do otherwise. Live in a nice house; wear the finest clothes; drive a nice car; and travel first class to exotic places.

However, there’s one thing that money cannot do for you. It cannot make you happy. It’s a fact, having a lot of money by itself can never make you happy. There are plenty of very wealthy people who are miserable.

Happiness is a state of mind:

It is a fact, if you weren’t happy without money, then suddenly gaining a substantial amount money will not change the way you feel. If anything, it’s impact on your life will probably make you even less happy.

Happiness is a state of mind. It’s the capacity to appreciate life for what it is and not what you think you’d like it to be. It’s being content with what you have, whatever that is.

Happiness is a positive mental attitude; a willingness to see the good side of every situation, regardless of how bad it might actually be in reality; a determination to enjoy the moment; whilst being comfortable in your own skin.

Work towards creating your own pot of gold, by all means, dear reader, but in doing so never lose sight of what matters most.

The time span of a human life is very short and it all goes by in the blink of an eye.

Yesterday has gone and you may never know tomorrow. The ‘here and now‘ is the only certainty you have.

This moment is your life, so you must find a way to enjoy each and every moment. Get the most out of them all. For as we say where I come from, you’ll be a long time dead.

The secret to happiness:

Enjoy the simple, inexpensive pleasures like having a laugh or a coffee with a friend. That’s when you’ll be happiest. That’s how memories are made too.

Accept that your life will be full of challenges, which is what makes it all interesting.

And recognise that in having to respond to challenges you are growing as a person. So it makes sense to respond to every challenge with enthusiasm because you can only win, ultimately. Either you’ll succeed or you’ll learn a lesson.

And remember this too; as your life passes, you won’t remember those expensive shoes you bought or the latest gadget, but you will remember the experiences you had with the people who mattered most to you.

Enjoy life for what it is and don’t fret about what it isn’t. The secret to happiness is contentment.

If you can be happy without money then having money will be a bonus.

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7 inspirational quotes about happiness

Quotes about happinessIf I were to conduct a survey of readers on the question of happiness, I’m fairly sure that most people would say that whilst they want to be happy, they have yet to achieve that state of mind consistently.

Why is that do you think?

I think it’s because we’re always chasing what we haven’t got.

Being happy requires us to be content with what we’ve got. If we’re always chasing more then by definition we can’t be content with what we’ve got, can we?

So if you want to be happy, then I think the trick is to learn to enjoy whatever it is that you’ve actually got, rather than fretting about those things that you’d like to possess but don’t right now.

Take pleasure in the moment, whenever you can, and always look for the positives in any situation.

Happiness is a state of mind. You can choose to be happy or not. It’s all down to the way you choose to look at the world. You can allow things to bother you or you can say, “I’m not going to worry about stuff I can’t change, I’ll just focus on enjoying my life for what it is and make the best of it.”

Here are 7 inspirational quotes about happiness to help you think about what it all means.

Quotes about happiness:

  1. I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition. ~Martha Washington
  2. It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere. ~Agnes Repplier
  3. Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions. ~Dalai Lama
  4. Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness. ~William E. Gladstone
  5. Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. ~Denis Waitley
  6. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will. ~Epictetus
  7. Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. ~Jim Rohn

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How to deal with criticism in the workplace

How to deal with criticism in the workplaceHave you ever had a problem dealing with criticism in the workplace, dear reader?

If you have, you’re not alone.

Most of us can be a little sensitive when we’re criticised by other people, particularly in the workplace. That’s natural and I struggle with it just as much as the next person.

However, over the years I’ve learned that criticism comes in two types, as follows:-

  1. Constructive criticism; and
  2. Destructive criticism

What’s the difference?

People who offer constructive criticism are genuinely trying to help, even if that isn’t immediately obvious.

However just because they’re trying to help doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right in what they’re saying. I’ll get back to that point shortly.

When you’re being subjected to destructive criticism then someone is just having a go at you.

That may be to bolster their own ego or they may not like you very much and so can’t resist the temptation to belittle you or just generally make you feel uncomfortable.

Remember there are people who get off on other peoples’ discomfort and having a go a people. These are the haters and the trolls. They exist in the workplace, as well as on social media.

How to deal with constructive criticism:

When you’re on the receiving end of criticism, don’t take any of it personally. Remember you’re bigger than that.

Just remain calm; listen to what’s being said; consider the person saying it; and of course the rationale behind their comment.

As you absorb what has been said to you, ask yourself this question “Is this person being constructive or destructive?

If you feel they’re being constructive in offering their comment then the next question to ask yourself is, “Do they have a fair point?

In answering that question you must be really honest with yourself.

Remember it’s a sign of maturity when you can acknowledge your own inexperience and mistakes.

And you can’t learn from your mistakes unless you recognise them first.

So if after careful reflection you feel that they do have a fair point then take it on-board and use it as a learning opportunity.

At this point thank your critic for the feedback and decide how you might use it to improve and be better at what you do.

You might even ask your critic for suggestions if you think they can help you.

Even constructive critics are not always right:

Not every self-appointed critic has a universal monopoly on knowhow and common sense, however well-intentioned they may be. Even so-called experts get stuff wrong occasionally.

So in reflecting on any constructive criticism offered, your conclusion might be that they don’t have a fair point. And as long as you’re being really honest with yourself, it’s perfectly reasonable to say, “You know what? I think they’re wrong.

If that’s the case then be polite, thank them for their feedback and agree to disagree if necessary.

Accept that they offered their comment in good faith and their intentions were honourable but just move on, without any sense of feeling hurt just because someone had the temerity to question your approach.

They’re entitled to their opinion but you don’t have to accept it.

How to deal with destructive criticism:

If someone is attempting to be destructive in their criticism then don’t rise to the bait. Just smile politely and move on.

Do not give anyone the satisfaction of a reaction or signs that they’ve got to you. That’s the oxygen on which they feed. It’s the dopamine hit which they crave.

You’re better than that so don’t allow yourself to get drawn into their game. They’re unworthy of a reaction or any of your emotional energy.

And never allow such people to chip away at your self-esteem.

That’s what they’re trying to do, so know that and as you’re smiling just say to yourself, “I’m better than you and your attempt to have a go at me won’t get you anywhere. So stop wasting your time and mine.

Conclusion:

Recognise that criticism has two forms. Either way never take any of it personally, even if you suspect your critic is being personal.

If your critic is being constructive, then be honest with yourself and question whether your critic has a point. If they do have a point then you must learn from it.

If your critic is being destructive then do not give then the satisfaction of a reaction. Just smile and move on.

And if you’re not sure whether they’re being constructive or destructive? Give them the benefit of the doubt, assume they’re being constructive and act accordingly.

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Why passion is the key to success

Why passion is the key to success

Have you ever wondered why passion is the key to success, dear reader?

If success is your aim then received wisdom suggests that you should find your passion. You’ve heard that before I’m sure. However the phrase is now spoken so often that it’s has become a bit of a cliché, don’t you think?

And of course, once something becomes a cliché then it’s hard to take it seriously, wouldn’t you agree?

Then again, just because something has become a cliché doesn’t in itself mean that it lacks an underlying truth.

From experience I can tell you that if you really want to succeed at anything then whatever it is must matter to you. And I’m not talking about mattering just a little bit. I mean it really, really, really must matter to you. It must be as important to you as the air that you breathe.

You can call it a ‘passion’; you can call it something with which you have ‘a sense of connection’; or you can call it your ‘Why’. Whatever you call it, you’ll only have the determination to see it through as far as it goes if it actually matters to you.

How lucky are those people who find something in life that matters so much that it drives them to make their mark? To be recognised for making a significant contribution to their chosen pursuit.

That pursuit could be painting or writing or playing a musical instrument. It may be computers or fast cars. It may be starting a business and making serious money. Whatever it is, it’s that special something which for those people is not only interesting and absorbing but rewarding too.

It becomes so important to them that it would be their hobby if they couldn’t make a living at it. Because they love it so much, it’s not really working at all, for them it’s a pleasure.

It’s something for which they have a sense of enthusiasm or ‘passion’ and instinctively they recognise that it’s what they’re good at. And of course, because they love it, they practise and keep practising. And because they practise they hone their skills and they get even better at it. This creates a virtuous circle.

Constant practise will help you excel and reach the very top of your game.

Sadly for most people, that special something is something they never find.

However, if you’ve yet to find that special something, you must never stop looking. One day you might just stumble upon it and it’s never too late for you to become the person you really could be.

That’s why passion is the key to success.

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