Are you a happy person? If someone had to describe you to another person would they use the word ‘happy’?
I ask this because someone said this about me recently. I caught up with a friend I used to work with on the weekend. When she left the office saying she was having lunch with me, another ex co-worker of mine said ‘Oh Happy Carly? Tell her say Hi!‘. I was totally chuffed. I am lucky in that I am a natural optimist, so I do tend to see the bright side of most situations. However that doesn’t mean that I leap out of bed every morning, with a to-do list as long as my arm, and go ‘Yay! I have to do four days worth of work in three hours! Sunshine and Unicorns! Fairy Floss!‘. I still need to work at my own happiness everyday. I know that lots of people struggle with having a positive attitude and feeling happy. I’m not talking about clinical depression, I’m talking about your everyday, garden variety, got-your-knickers-in-a-twist cranky pants days. So I thought I’d write a little list of things that might help you feel a little bit more chipper about life.
7 Things Happy People Do
1. They Get Rid of Things That Make Them Grumpy
This includes people, possessions, jobs and partners. No one expects you to be ruthless or reckless but if you feel sick with nerves driving to work everyday, if you avoid going home to your partner in the evenings, even if it’s something simple like your travel mug spilling coffee on your shirt every morning, you need to start recognising the negative effect these things are having on your life. Happy people pin point the source of their annoyance and take steps to change or remove those sources from their lives. It’s not easy to quit your job or cut out a toxic friend but your attitude will shift the moment you start making changes to improve your situation, so start immediately. I guarantee your mood will improve.
2. They Start The Day On A Positive Note
Every one has to do something that they don’t want to do every day. It might be going to work, going to the gym, cleaning the toilet, having an awkward meeting with your boss or dropping the kids at child care. Every one has to do this stuff, even happy people. The difference is that happy people start the day on a positive note. They just get in there and do the nasty tasks that they don’t want to do, by faking being happy about it. Vacuuming the floor or suffering through a work meeting with a less-than-lovely colleague will be much easier to face with a deep breath, a smile and a glass-half-full-attitude. Suffering through a tough spin class will only be tougher if you have a shitty attitude about it. Another great tactic is to off-set your unpleasant tasks by thinking about your fun ones. For example ‘Right. I just have to run on the tredmill for 30 minutes and then I get to go and meet my friend for dinner!‘. It’s all about putting a positive spin on it.
3. They Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Happy people don’t let small things ruin their day. If the cafe runs out of their favourite sandwich, instead of rolling their eyes and complaining to the cashier, they simply smile, order something else and look forward to having something different for lunch. If you let every little bump in your day have a negative effect on you, it will add up and you’ll just feel awful all the time. Try saving your cranky-pants moments for things that really matter, rather than wasting them on something small like someone else using your coffee mug at work.
4. They Make Other People Feel Good
Happy people love to do things for other people. They’ll grab a coffee for their co-worker, they’ll watch the neighbours kids and they’ll make a cup of tea for anyone who asks. They aren’t door mats but they know that the most pure form happiness comes from making other people happy. If you make the effort to improve the day of the people that surround you, I guarantee you’ll get an instant happiness boost.
5. They Know When to Say Yes…
… and they also know when to say no. If you’re feeling a bit down, try getting involved in more stuff. Join a book club, go do some karaoke on the weekend or go to a pub trivia night. Humans are social creatures and sometimes loneliness masquerades as sadness. Try surrounding yourself with uplifting people. It almost always works. However happy people also know when to pull back and decline that dinner invitation, because they need some time to themselves. Try this – whenever you get an invite for an event, sleep on it before you answer. If you give it 24 hours you’ll know whether or not you want to go.
6. They Take Care of Themselves
Happy people know that they’re at their best when they’re taking care of themselves. They’ll put time aside in the day to go for a run, properly blow dry their hair, read the newspaper, take their dog for a walk or do some messy finger painting with their kids. Whatever it is that makes them feel good, they take a little time for themselves every day and they don’t feel guilty. Read a trashy magazine at lunch time or have a little power nap in the park after work. Happiness and contentment go hand in hand, so make sure you take some guilt free time for yourself whenever you can.
7. They Aren’t Embarrassed to Be Excited About Stuff
Happy people own their pleasure. A happy person will tell you how excited they are about their favourite musical coming to town or gleefully show you the awesome salad they made for their lunch. Somewhere between being a kid and becoming a teenager, it tends to become uncool to be enthusiastic, but happy people don’t give a crap. When something great happens, let your enthusiasm show. Excitement is delightful, so just go with it.