As a coach, happiness is an integral part of the work I do with my clients. Happiness is defined as “the experiences of joy, contentment or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful and worthwhile.” (Lyubomirsky, 2007). This definition is the one that resonates with me when think of happiness and what it means for me. It describes the uplifting emotions we can feel, while also including the importance that we have a sense of meaning or purpose which makes our lives worthwhile. We still can have this overall feeling of happiness which helps us persevere through the storms and come out stronger the other side.
When we think of happiness, we can examine several areas further to help us identify which areas are doing OK and which ones may need more attention. Throughout the blog I will continue to ask questions to help you develop ways to improve your own happiness.
First of all, I want you to think of happiness and what it means to you; how would you describe it? What does that look like on a daily basis for you?
Health and Well-being
As a human need we need our basic needs met; am I safe, can I feed and clothe myself, have I roof over my head and a place I can lay my head and rest peacefully. These are essential to our overall state of happiness. When these needs are met then you can look at your health and taking preventive measures to ensure your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is being given enough attention so that it doesn’t impact your life negatively. Through education people are realising the power of food and exercise can have an enormous impact on our physical bodies as well as lifting our moods and increasing our energy levels which are essential to our overall happiness.
Learning ways to cope with our emotional and mental health is essential for our happiness. Getting tools and resources to deal with the stress and challenges that we encounter, makes us more resilient in life. Realising what our needs are and acknowledging when we need to avail of professional services is crucial to resolving challenging or traumatic events. When we are happy in ourselves, our well-being improves.
We also need to look at the spiritual aspect as we all need to find a way to connect with ourselves. We need to listen to our own tune and follow our own path, not what we think we should be doing because of others opinions. In this world, it is imperative that we find what works for us and our happiness. Whether it is prayer, meditation, mindfulness or walking in nature it is important to find time where you disconnect with outside world and tune into the inner world as true happiness lies there.
Question: Which part of your well-being needs the most attention now (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual)? What is one thing you can do each day to increase your health and well-being?
Our environments can have a powerful effect on our happiness. These are the external conditions of your life. The good thing is we have some control over where we are spending our time, whether it be work, college or home. If we feel safe and secure and are able to relax and appreciate the beauty of these environments it can lift our spirit and raise our state of happiness. However, if these are cluttered, cramped or full of toxicity, these environments can be detrimental to our happiness. We must raise our awareness and identify what aspects are within our control and what are beyond our control. This can help us identify better ways to respond in these situations so that their negative effects are minimal to depleting our overall state of happiness. So, if we can’t change our physical environments, we then must change our perspective as to how we view the situation and try have a healthier response versus reacting and letting the situation overwhelm ourselves.
Question: Where do you spend most your time? What do you like about it? What needs improvement? What is within your control and what isn’t?
Fun and Pleasure
The best moments that bring the most pleasure, are the moments that we share with other people. Typically, when we think of our happiest moments they generally involve people in some shape or form rather than materialistic things. These moments are the ones that sustains our state of happiness in our lives in the long-term. We need fun and pleasure frequently throughout our lives. Anything that makes us laugh and allows us to switch off and enjoy ourselves is a great way to improve our happiness, which in turn reduces our stress and anxiety levels. So choose more fun where possible?
Question: What are your 5 happiest moments so far in your life and why? Where do you find fun and pleasure throughout your week?
This is the most important human need as we are social creatures. We are miserable in our lives when we feel lonely and feel disconnected from those around us. We love the feeling of a sense of belonging to our families, friends, teams, colleagues to those in our community groups. When we feel connected to those in our lives this enhances how we feel about ourselves and our happiness. In this day and age, we are so busy and technology has become the norm. However, it is causing us to feel more disconnected than ever before and impacting our happiness negatively as we don’t feel good enough especially when comparing our lives to filtered world that isn’t the true representation of people’s lives.
We need this human connection in order to thrive in our lives. Having people that we know are in our corner is invaluable and is one sure way of enhancing our happiness. Quality relationships are what is essential. There is a quote by Jim Rohn that says “you are the sum of the 5 people you spend your most time with”. This is a great way to examine the quality of the relationship with those closest to you and examine do they contribute to your happiness rather than draining it.
Question: Are you spending time with people who you enjoy their company and encourage you to grow in your life? Who is draining you and what can you do about it? Do you need to create new opportunities to meet new people?
How do you perceive the way the world should be and how are you living your life accordingly? In life coaching I talk about outlook when examining where you are in your life right now and where you thought you would be by now. Growing up we all had a blueprint as to how our lives would go e.g. going to college, settling down, travelling etc. When this outlook of life doesn’t match our current reality, it can cause us a lot of pain and heartache as we focus on what is missing in our lives rather than our blessings. However, if we have a flexible outlook about what must happen in our lives, it gives us a growth mindset and an opportunity for personal development. That focuses on the good in your life right now while having the clarity as to what you want to achieve and make your dreams a reality. For example, some people want to be married by a certain age, but when it doesn’t happen it can be devastating. But the person can adapt by having the outlook it is better to marry the right person versus settling too quick just because that age is approaching.
Question: What is your outlook on your life as to how it should be now and how it actually is? What areas do you feel you need to grow personally? How can you have a more growth mindset? What are you truly grateful for in your life?
As humans we need to feel like our life has meaning or a purpose. That we are making some contributions somewhere in our lives and that we feel part of something bigger. This can come from our jobs, our roles, raising a family or getting involved with community and volunteering your time. Recently I completed stage 1 of the Camino France, along this journey I met other travellers from different parts of the world. All of them were on the quest for meaning, they were sick of the rat race and were taking the journey to do some soul searching. Every single one of them were happy to take time out and reconnect with themselves so they could find the true meaning for themselves.
Question: What is the meaning of life for you? Where have you meaning in your life right now? Do you feel you are living your purpose in life or is fear holding you back?
Humans are designed to be doing and taking action rather than numbing ourselves with Netflix series and isolating ourselves. When you are involved you engage your creative side, your problem-solving abilities and get into the flow of doing rather than constantly thinking. These often are our hobbies or our side hustles that we work on outside work or study. Or volunteering opportunities where we give back and be a service to others around us. This is connected with our purpose and meaning to life as gives us a greater sense of fulfillment in life.
Question: What activities do you get involved in your life that allows you to be of service to others? Can you take up something new that would help you get involved and be of service to others?
Is the recognition by others that what you are doing in your life has value. Success that fulfills our human need, it doesn’t focus on materialistic things as that is only fleeting, temporary feeling of happiness. Instead to increase our happiness we must concentrates on having a sense of doing things well, learning something new, accomplishing your goals and dreams and making a contribution as part of our legacy. Remember how you define success maybe different to those around you and that is OK.
Question: What is your definition of success for you and your life? What must happen in your life to consider it successful and have few regrets?
It is about how well you cope when things go wrong, how quick do you bounce back when thrown a curve ball in your life. It is about having the ability to deal with our emotions that depletes our state of happiness. If we have limited resources or coping skills it can be difficult to deal with rejection, jealousy, betrayal, failure, grief, depression and anxiety. The great thing about resilience is that we can learn about it and find the right tools and techniques that works for you. There are several ways you can increase your resilience, these include;
- Reading self-help books
- Sign up for a course online
- Attend a workshop or training
- Seek professional support – a counsellor, therapist or a life coach
We don’t need to be 100% in each of these human needs. But we must choose the ones we relate to most and can see how it impacts our state of happiness. Then we need to nurture these on a daily basis to ensure we are maintaining our happiness and thriving in our lives as a result. By completing the questions throughout the blog, I now hope you have more clarity over your own happiness. While also understanding which human needs, are most important to you for your happiness and looking for ways to increase these on a daily basis.
If you need help with any of these aspects and ensuring you are reaching your true potential please do not hesitate to message me on 087 9040871 and see how coaching in person can be so beneficial to you and your happiness.