13 Happiness Habits
Feelings of sadness and depression can keep us stuck or in a rut in life. When we start feeling this way, we often don’t think of ways to “jump-start” our motivation and move in a positive direction. This list of HAPPY HABITS can be a source of joy in your life when you’re feeling down.
Be A Cheerful Giver
Being a sole proprietor of a small business can be stressful, and there are days when I feel sad or down because I’m not as “successful” as I think I should be. I try to find someone I can bless with free life coaching on days like that. For me, it’s a win-win; I find joy in giving what God has given me to people in need; and for the new client, they are blessed with a service they couldn’t afford.
There is something about a to-do list. I remember my days as a pastor, getting to the office on a Monday morning and working through my 25-item to-do list. Being productive in meaningful work reinforces the fact that our life does matter.
Be Active Now
I’m a gym rat. But you don’t have to be a gym rat to be active. One of my go-to homework assignments for clients dealing with sadness or anxiety is to go for a walk on a nature trail. Being active gets the blood pumping and produces endorphins that create a “good feeling” in our brain. Our problems may not be solved, but we are mentally better positioned to work on them.
Work on a Goal
Each year I develop a list of life goals. The list has three categories (Personal Life, Professional Life, and Relational Life) and two to three specific goals under each category (no more than seven total). Throughout the year, I work on the goals; as I progress on the goals, I develop a sense of accomplishment and productivity, leading to happiness.
Being present is a skill that I have learned through the years. It has helped in being a pastor and life coach. Being present means that I am fully aware and actively listening to the conversation I’m in. This can be complicated because my mind is always working, always thinking. A client might say something that triggers a thought in me that send me down a rabbit trail (in my thoughts). If I sense that I am not present, I will probably ask the other person to repeat their last thought (because I wasn’t fully tracking them). Be present in a relationship, brings depth and closeness. Being close to others can bring happiness.
Be Connected in Relationships
God created us to be IN a relationship with others. We were created to be incomplete, and we have to GO OUT into the world and find the things we are missing. We need others in our life. When you feel sad or down, you might need to force yourself into healthy relationships. Here’s the unfortunate truth; however, if you have avoided developing relationships in your good times, you will have no one to reach out to in your bad times.
One of the fastest ways to feel depressed is to compare yourself to someone else. When we compare, we typically compare your weakness to their strengths. This leaves us feeling sad and depressed about ourselves. So, take some time to reflect on who you are and what God has gifted you to do. Don’t apologize for being you. We all have flaws and weaknesses; happiness comes from embracing our imperfections and accepting them. Once we accept who we are (strengths and weaknesses), we are empowered to create a plan to grow and hone our lives.
Confront Your Faulty Thinking
Faulty thinking is the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, others, or God. It might sound something like this,
- Nobody loves me
- I’m worthless
- God doesn’t care about me
When I get stuck in the trap of faulty thinking, I get on my knees and pray about it. I do; I cry out to God and let Him know where I am mental. This helps! Another thing I do is go to my appreciation folder. This is a folder I keep in my office of appreciation letters or notes I have received through the years. There are days that I feel that my life doesn’t matter, and I go to a dark place. It’s time to pull out my appreciation folder and confront the faulty thinking swirling in my head.
EASY, write a thank you card each week. This small task can have huge benefits as you practice it over time. Last year I sent a thank you card to a client from another state. A month later, I had the opportunity to visit them. On the visit, I saw my card on their kitchen counter. It brought joy to my life that they kept the card.
Having healthy boundaries is having the ability to say NO to others, in the area that drains you in life. It’s also saying YES to requests and opportunities that compliment your identity. As you discover WHO you are personally, spiritually, and professionally you become empowered to speak NO or YES accordingly. When you say YES to a request that should be NO, you feel overwhelmed and resentful.
Hone Your Skills and Talents
We only have so many hours in a day, week, and year. Spend your best time developing your skills and talent. Become an expert in who God created you to be, and then live out of your strengths.
Holding a grudge and being bitter towards others will only rot your soul, giving the other person control over you (they’re living rent-free in your mind). Forgiveness is hard because we give up our rights to be angry at another person who hurt us or broke trust. When you forgive, let’s be clear; you do not have to trust them again. You have the freedom to move on, and it’s easier to move on after choosing to forgive.
Live By Faith
God is a rewarder of those who live by faith (Hebrews 11). As you take a step of faith, trust God and His character, you will see how much God loves you and IS making a way or path for you. Believe me, I know this truth. I must live by faith daily as a small business owner. Yet, I know God is my provider, and HE guides my path.
Think About It
- What happiness habits would you add to this list?
- What happiness habit will you work on this week?
- If you feel overwhelmed, please give me a call; I’d love to help you set up a life growth plan for you.
Cloud, Dr. Henry (2011). The Law of Happiness: How Spiritual Wisdom and Modern Science Can Change Your Life (The Secret Things of God). Howard Book.