How to Develop a Happiness Toolkit
© Priscilla du Preez
Happiness is a hard concept to define and differs for everyone. Juggling the responsibilities of work, family, home life, and external pressures can, at times, feel like an uphill battle, often leaving little room for us to focus on our own internal happiness. Even though happiness is an essential aspect of human existence, finding the time to focus on our well-being can prove to be quite challenging.
Establishing a structured approach, such as a “happiness toolkit,” can be beneficial in prioritising your own happiness and developing healthy habits. Carving out dedicated time with the sole purpose of enhancing your well-being is crucial in managing stress and promoting positive mental health.
The happiness toolkit
A happiness toolkit is a list of powerful action tools to help build your happiest life.
How many of these points can you apply to your daily life?
1. Practise gratitude: At the beginning and end of each day, think of three to five things that you’re grateful for. This will put you in the right mindset for the day ahead and help you fall asleep feeling positive.
2. Practise optimism: Try to see the best in situations, people and circumstances. Make it an intention to picture positive outcomes. Challenge negative thoughts with perception vs reality and practise kinder self-talk.
3.Surround yourself with supporting, positive people: Being around people that match or raise your energy can give you a boost in feel-good hormones. Having the support of good people can help you overcome challenges and drive motivation and ambition on your road to success.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others: If you find yourself comparing yourself to others and it’s having a negative effect on your self-esteem or mental wellbeing, then change the focus back to your own life. You may need to take a break from social media or re-evaluate who you’re following. Recognise your own achievements and the things you like about yourself. When you become happy and fulfilled in your own life, it doesn’t matter what others are doing.
5. Live in the present: Try to stop worrying about everything that needs to be done tomorrow or the week ahead. Instead, create an effective plan forward and then enjoy the present moment.
6. Learn to accept what you can’t change: If something is out of your control, then learn to accept that and try to let it go. If something can be changed, then make a list of actions that you can start implementing.
7. Learn to manage stress effectively: Stress plays a pivotal role in our health and wellbeing. Stress can disrupt the brain’s ability to modulate feel-good chemicals of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
8. Give back: Helping others boosts feelings of happiness and optimism. It can also encourage recipients to repeat good deeds, contributing to a positive community. There are many ways in which you can give back, for example, volunteering, raising money for a good cause or simply being kind to others.
9. Get active: Ensure that you’re moving around as much as possible, especially if your work involves being sedentary. Choose exercise that you enjoy and will continue to engage in even on busy days or when you’re not quite feeling like it.
10. Spend time in nature: Spending time in nature or even viewing nature scenes can help reduce negative emotions such as anger and stress. It can also help your physical health by lowering blood pressure. Nature can help you feel great, so get outdoors and make the most of your local park, countryside or coast. By implementing these techniques into your daily life, you can gain greater control over your emotions, behaviours and thought process, helping to keep problems in perspective, bounce back from challenges and choose happiness. The next two tasks can be practised at any point throughout this journey, but they could also be a great way to get you started, so why not try them today.
How to start putting these into action:
Try practising gratitude
Close your eyes and take a few moments to think about someone influential in your life. Now write down everything that you appreciate about them. When your list is complete, read your list to them over the phone or in person. (If that’s not possible, perhaps share it with them by email or via a private messaging app.) Finally, reflect on how this exercise made you feel.
Try a happiness journal
Spend five minutes writing about one positive experience that happened to you in the past twenty-four hours. Include what happened, how it made you feel and what you are grateful for. Reliving a positive experience like this will extend the feel-good factor and give you the time to really appreciate the experience.
This is an extract from Don’t Burn Out Stand Out by Bethany Ainsley.