But sometimes we don't want abstract ideas or lifelong strategies, such as noticing the world around you or working towards a long-term goal.
We want actual, tangible and straight-forward things to DO that will make us happier now, straight away.
Of course, some would say that happiness is a complicated thing - you can't just get it (especially if you're looking for it).
But in a new article for Psychology Today, psychologist Gregory L. Jantz argues that happiness is not elusive.
"We can all be happy right now," he says, because happiness is a practice. Here are three of the quick-fix steps for practising happiness in your everyday life.
Develop three relationships of significance
Connecting with people - families, friends, neighbours and colleagues - is central to our happiness. The quality of our relationships is something that impacts our lives the most, and if we are able to have shared experiences and intimacy, we'll be less stressed, healthier and may even live longer.
"Purpose and meaning in life often comes with purposeful and meaningful relationships," says Jantz. He suggests taking an inventory of the relationships that you have in life, with a view to building these three critical bonds:
1. A relationship with someone older and wiser, and who has lived long enough to understand the value of trusting, intimate friendships. This person will be someone you can just enjoy, listen to, and learn from without needing to meet someone else’s expectations.
2. Seek to build a friendship with someone your own age; a person you can easily relate to because of shared interests and values; a true peer.
3. Find some time each month to be a mentor to a person younger than you. This will give you a sense of purpose and perspective in your own life.
Create small pleasures
Of course, we hear this a lot.
But the art of really enjoying small pleasures comes down to asking yourself two quick questions, says Jantz.
1. What small pleasure do you truly enjoy more than anything else?
2. How long has it been sense you’ve engaged in these pleasures?
Whether it's lounging in the bath with a glass of wine and a good book, or spending a night outdoors under the stars, make sure you put aside time then and there, to do the thing you love. Too often, we let the rush of everyday life get in the way of what we really want to do. More on simple pleasures here.
Make exercise fun
But we're never going to do it if we don't enjoy it.
"Exercise does not have to include doing aerobics in spandex or pumping iron with guys in sleeveless shirts!" says Jantz. "Exercise can be as simple as a 10 minute walk each day with a friend, riding a bike at your own pace, or playing tennis. Before you know it, you’ll be doing your activity for 20 or 30 minutes, perhaps even an hour each day. If you make it fun, you won’t even look at your watch."
At the same time, it can't hurt to take a look at your diet and make sure you're getting some of these mood-boosting foods.
Read the full article on Psychology Today.
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