“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Circumstances can certainly make life unhappy. But a part – often a big part – of unhappiness comes from our own thinking, behavior and habits.
3. Getting stuck in the past and future too much.
Spending much of your time in the past and reliving old painful memories, conflicts, missed opportunities and so on can hurt whole lot. Spending much of your time in the future and imagining how things could go wrong at work, in your relationships and with your health can build into horrifying nightmare scenarios playing over and over in your head. Not being here right now in life as it happens can lead to missing out on a lot of wonderful experiences.
No good if you want to be happier.
How to overcome this habit:
It is pretty much impossible to not think about the past or the future. And it is of course important to plan for tomorrow and next year and to try to learn from your past.
But to dwell on those things rarely help.
So I try as best as I can to spend the rest of my time, the big part of my time each day, with living in the now. Just being here right now and being fully focused on these words I am writing and later as I cook and eat my lunch and work out be fully focused on doing that.
Whatever I am doing I try to be there fully and not drift off into the future or past.
If I do drift off then I focus only on my breathing for a few minutes or I sit still and take in what is all around me right now with all my senses for a short while. By doing either of those things I can realign myself with the present moment again.
4. Comparing yourself and your life to others and their lives.
One very common and destructive daily habit is to constantly compare your life and yourself to other people and their lives. You compare cars, houses, jobs, shoes, money, relationships, social popularity and so on. And at the end of the day you pummel your self-esteem to the ground and you create a lot of negative feelings.
How to overcome this habit:
Replace that destructive habit with two other habits.
- Compare yourself to yourself. First, instead of comparing yourself to other people create the habit of comparing yourself to yourself. See how much you have grown, what you have achieved and what progress you have made towards your goals. This habit has the benefit of creating gratitude, appreciation and kindness towards yourself as you observe how far you have come, the obstacles you have overcome and the good stuff you have done.
- You feel good about yourself without having to think less of other people. Be kind. In my experience, the way you behave and think towards others seems to have a big, big effect on how you behave towards yourself and think about yourself. Judge and criticize people more and you tend to judge and criticize yourself more (often almost automatically). Be more kind to other people and help them and you tend to be more kind and helpful to yourself.
Focus on the positive things in yourself and in the people around you. Appreciate what is positive in yourself and others. This way you become more OK with yourself and the people in your world instead of ranking them and yourself and creating differences in your mind.
And remember, you can’t win if you keep comparing. Just consciously realizing this can be helpful. No matter what you do you can pretty much always find someone else in the world that has more than you or are better than you at something.