What’s the number one reason people come to therapy? To be happier! Really. There are so many other ways to word it such as “decrease depression” or “get back to being myself,” but the gist is really as simple as happiness. At the same time happiness can seem like the most complicated goal of all. I’m here to tell you that it may be layered and deep rooted but finding your happiness doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. Here are some ways I help clients improve their levels of happiness everyday.
What is getting in the way?
Observe and notice. When is the last time you pressed pause and took stock of your life? This is going to sound simple but trust me it is also profound; make a list of things that make you happy and a list of things that don’t. It can be a running list and it doesn’t matter if it just starts with one thing on each list. Beginning to notice things in your life that contribute to or take away from your happiness is the first step to moving toward more happiness and less, well, other stuff.
Identify the top three barriers. Now that you have your “happy” and “not happy” lists going, take a look at things getting in the way of your happiness. Maybe it’s a particular relationship in your life or a behavioral pattern you have, maybe it’s simply the way you structure your time. Once you can identify what is getting in the way then you can do something about it.
Counter the barriers one by one. Here is the part where you start to move from observation to action. Go through your top three barriers and figure out what you can do to make the effects of each one less extreme. If you realize that when you work without a lunch break you end up cranky by 5pm then maybe you try to find a way to add some snacks throughout the day or really make sure a lunch break does happen.
What makes you happy?
Think back to time in the past when you were happy, what was happening then? Most likely there were some specific aspects that were contributing to your happiness, a relationship, free time, or activities you enjoyed are some possibilities. Looking back is a great way to figure out how to move forward because we are able to use hindsight to better understand past events. Perhaps at the time you thought it was your connection with a specific person that made you happy but looking back it was more the aspects of the relationship that mattered such as feeling heard or bonding thought connection of a shared interest. Really dig in and find the specific pieces of past situations that contributed to your happiness. And then move right on to the next step!
Identify your top 3 things that contribute to your happiness. Looking at your “happy” list from above and your past happiness aspects, come up with what you think are the top 3 contributors to your happiness. For me they are: 1. time with people who truly understand and validate me, 2. daily alone time for soul connection, and 3. time interacting with animals I trust. Everyone’s top three will be different so there is no need to compare, if you are connecting with yourself and listening to your inner guides you will eventually land on aspects that are true to you.
Start today - Start Now! Baby steps are your friend, you don’t need to wait until you hit rock bottom to make some changes, you can start small today. Be careful not to get caught with the “should monster,” even if you aren’t doing things exactly how you think they “should” be done you can still start making small shifts in the right direction today. Maybe it’s taking a walk in the park after work or texting a friend who always makes you feel important and connected, even the smallest of steps are worth taking today.
If you need help with happiness I know how to help you! I’ve helped many clients over the years find their individual paths to more happiness, not to mention my own journey crafting a life overflowing with nuggets of happiness! If you want help on your path click here to contact me today for a free 15 minute phone consultation so we can connect and get you moving in the right direction ASAP!