We are often told to “Be Happy” or “Think Happy Thoughts” or to do these things and you’ll be happy. I don’t know about you but for me, I have enough things to do or to try. What helps me is learning what I’m doing that is harmful and getting in the way of my happiness. Here is a list of 9 things that happy people don’t do. Choose one and get started this week.
1. Happy people don’t fly by the seat of their pants
Happy people have a plan for their days. Some sort of structure or some form of a schedule. Even on vacation. Even on the weekends. What do you want your day to be like? We are given each day here on earth just once. There is no do-over. Not for yesterday, not for today, not for tomorrow. Happy people recognize that the more intentional they are about how they spend their days, the better they feel. Writing down an idea for your day before your day begins is a habit of high achievers. It’s what happy people do. It is a base practice for those who live lives they love. Do things come up to interrupt those days? Sure. Yet the act of writing it down gives our brain the illusion of control that feels like a security blanket. And guess what, some days the plans work! As for the days that don’t, you start again the next day and you don’t feel such angst over it.
2. They don’t Iive their lives for someone else
Happy people have values and they know what they are. In my program launching next week, this is the first thing we do. I lead women through the process of discovering, or rediscovering their values. It is the first thing because it is the foundation from which happiness and living in alignment is formed. When we are living our days in alignment with our core values we feel a deep satisfaction and life enjoyment. Even when the sh*t hits the fan, even during COVID quarantine. Having a schedule or a structure to your day allows you to live with less stress and anxiety. When you pair that schedule with your values, when the things on your calendar line up with what and who you want to be, you feel a deep level of contentment.
3. Happy people don’t listen to everything their brain says
Happy people know that they are not their thoughts. The thoughts they’re thinking are just sentences in their heads. They know that some of their thoughts are helpful and some are not. Happy people deliberately listen to what their brain is saying in order to live their best life. This can look like journaling, meditating, working with a coach, or online with a group membership. Bottom line is they know that if they let their mind run free without supervision, things go craycray. It is much easier to be in a bad mood or feel low energy. It takes work to feel good, yet, as I say, choose your hard.
4. They don’t listen to the excuses their brain comes up with
They know that their brain’s job is to keep them safe, comfortable and to expend as little energy as possible. This works if we’re going to sit on the couch for the rest of our life eating and watching Netflix but that doesn’t lead to you feeling good deep down. Listening to our brain’s excuses gets us to the end of our life full of regrets and wondering why we didn’t do what we wanted to do. Who’s in charge, you or your mind? Your thoughts are sentences in your head. Happy people are deliberate in choosing which thoughts they will think and which they will not. If you want it bad enough, you’ll find a way and if you don’t you’ll find an excuse.
5. Happy people don’t limit their dreams.
When their brain says “You sure? That sounds a bit crazy” they view that as permission to move forward. When they look around and no one else is doing it, they see that as an opportunity, not a reason to stop. Happy people realize that to live a life they love, to live an extraordinary life, they need to do above average things. They need to open their minds to dreams.
6. They don’t let their phones or TV’s rule their days
Happy people know that when they get on their phones, emails, newsfeeds, or watch TV that they are turning over a part of their brain to external messages and other people’s issues. They are deliberate with their time spent online and have an intention before getting on. An example of this would look like me saying: “I’m going to check my email at 10 this morning for half an hour” or “I’m getting on Facebook to check my warrior women group and setting a timer for 10 minutes so I get off after”. I actively and deliberately choose to not scroll my newsfeed. Why? Because then I am allowing others thoughts to impact my day.
Remember the thoughts you think drive how you feel. How many times have you been feeling okay and then you get on and see someone’s post about pandas dying or some toxic environmental damage and all of a sudden you feel low or sad? That’s because you allowed someone else’s thoughts into your day. This doesn’t mean that I don’t know what’s going on, instead, it means that I am deliberate about how I source my news. I will not watch a news show or read the newspaper. I am in charge. There are as many good things as bad things happening in the world. Which will I focus on today?
7. Happy people don’t hang out with unhappy people
Happy people don’t surround themselves with those who make excuses, with those who complain or criticize. We are the five people we surround ourselves with. We have something called mirror neurons, essentially we mirror and take on the emotions of those around us. Another word for this is emotional contagion. Think of it like a cold, we catch the emotions of the people around us just like we would their cold. Do the people around you speak of things going well in their lives? Of how proud they are of the other people in their lives and of what others are doing that’s cool? Do they focus on the bright lights in this world or the negative, dark doom? Both are there. So which are you surrounding yourself with?
8. They don’t think they’re meant to be happy all the time
They know that a life well lived encompasses ups and downs. Happy people know that when we push ourselves to our next level of awesomeness, we will feel uncomfortable emotions: Fear, Nervousness, Stress… Happy people understand their brain and know that feeling those feelings doesn’t mean stop. I have a couple of mantras to help me with this, one of my favorites is: Nothing has gone wrong here Susie. So when I’m feeling fear when I think of my son going off to college, I remind myself that it’s okay to feel those feelings. That means he, and I, are growing. When I feel discomfort over having a conversation with my sweet dear husband Paul, I remind myself that on the other side of that discomfort is growth and closer connection. Always. I remind myself of the caterpillar’s journey to becoming a butterfly. She goes into a very uncomfortable cocoon. Happy people choose the cocoon over and over. Knowing that on the other side is growth and beauty.
9. Finally, happy people don’t put themselves down
Happy people allow themselves to celebrate their accomplishments; the big and the little wins. They know that they are not perfect, never have been and never will be. They’re not meant to be, yet not being perfect doesn’t mean something’s wrong. Happy people have a practice of focusing on the good. They have some sort of gratitude practice that incorporates an element of looking inward at themselves and acknowledging their awesomeness. This is a fundamental piece of my finding joy in everyday life program. Reflecting on our day with kindness. This is hugely important for me as a recovering perfectionist. It is very easy for me to focus on what I didn’t do in the day or what is left for me to do or all the things I still need to do. I deliberately and often forcibly, pause and reflect on what I did get done that day, on what I did accomplish. Whether it’s an actual task like recording this podcast or whether it’s spending time listening to and being with one of my sons.
Life happens fast if we let it.
I encourage you to take a breath today to check in with yourself and ask: how happy am I? And then stop to listen.
Sometimes that inner warrior whispers.
Quiet down to listen.
You are here to live a miraculous life. You are here to be happy. Deliriously so!
Remember, happy people dream big.
They ask themselves what if?
If, when you ask yourself, am I happy, the answer is anything short of HELL YES, then please click the link in the show notes at www.smbwell.com/bestself. My program is open now but once it’s full the doors close until 2021.
You do not know what tomorrow brings.
Do not wait.
You are meant to enjoy life!
I am here to support you. SIGN UP TODAY: WWW.SMBWELL.COM/BESTSELF
Please share this post with one other person who may resonate with this message. If everyone who read this did that, we’d double the reach of this message!! The more people who go around taking steps to live a happier life, the better off we all are.
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