Short term happiness is easy to come by, but can leave us feeling miserable and exhausted. My little list of happy makers will not bring you instant gratification like a glass of wine or slice of cake would, but trust me, as a person who has survived two mental breakdowns, these are tried and tested long-term happiness boosters!
Learn to distinguish between your wants and your needs
This is perhaps the most important, because people often place too much value on the wrong things. It's a common train of thought to believe that if we were wealthier then life would be better. Here's the thing though: unless we have attained our happiness first, all the money in the world would be pointless. There is no denying that money can make life easier, especially when we're in debt and see all our problems relating back to finances. It can seem that money has caused our unhappiness, but it usually stems from something much deeper rooted than money. Which leads me nicely on to my next point.
Make peace with your past, otherwise it will haunt you forever
Unhappiness, depression and anxiety always comes from somewhere deeper than the surface problems in front of us. Having been through two mental breakdowns, and seeing numerous friends suffer from mental health problems over the years, I am more convinced than ever before that our own behaviour and the environment we live in has the biggest impact on our well-being.
Coming to terms with a dark past or facing up to an unpleasant reality can be a scary prospect. The fact is that unless we face our demons and make peace with whatever has gone down, we will never be able to properly move forward and experience true happiness. Our demons will haunt us forever, and we might even pass them onto our children, which just isn't fair. If you feel you're ready to start facing your demons, but don't know where to start, check out my book Become the Best You.
Trust your gut
In a nutshell: if something doesn't feel right, then just don't do it. The same rule applies to people, if you have 'friends' who aren't supportive and don't have your back, then don't be afraid to ditch them. A true friend would want nothing but happiness for you. They would not be jealous of you, or try and sabotage your success.
Don't resist change
Life constantly evolves, and we must be prepared to adapt when necessary. Refusing to change, and being stuck in our ways rarely leads to happiness. It leads to bitterness, resentment and feeling like everyone else is happier than us.
When we assume we make an ASS of U and ME. Think about that. This rule is most poignant when assuming that people are out to get us. It's equally important to learn that not everything is about us, and we are not the centre of the universe. (Can you hear Carly Simon singing in your head too?)
Concentrate on finding solutions, rather than getting bogged down by the problems
Day to day life can be overwhelmingly grinding, and it can feel like curve balls are being thrown left, right and centre. However, focusing on the challenges, instead of putting our efforts into finding ways to overcome them is a straight road to a negative rut. Anyone who has been in a rut will know how hard it can be to get out of it. There are always solutions, and often they are staring us in the face. We just need to be willing to open our eyes to seek them out.
Don't buy into the fallacy of perfection
There is nothing wrong at all with aiming high in life, but don't become a slave to the idea of perfectionism. It's possibly the biggest lie we're sold: the myth that other people are perfect. If you have a warm house to live in, food in your belly and love coming at you then you're a very lucky person. No matter how difficult our lives are, there will be plenty of folk who would give a limb to have it. Absolutely no-one is perfect, even though Instagram would have us believe otherwise.
We are what we eat
It is now becoming common knowledge that what we eat has a huge impact on our physical health and state of mind. The gut/brain connection cannot be underestimated! I personally have never functioned as well as I did when I was on the controversial GAPS Intro diet. While it might be seen as 'boring' by not drinking alcohol and eating only natural food, there is no denying that this lifestyle leaves you feeling incredible.
For those who aren't quite ready for a full on overhaul, I'll leave you with my biggest piece of advice for healthy eating. The fewer ingredients the better. The only way to fully control what goes into your body is to make it yourself, but that's not always possible. So when you're buying pre-prepared food, you should always scrutinise the labels, and aim for the smallest amount of ingredients as you possibly can. Oh and try to avoid ingredients that you can't pronounce, because chances are they are made in a lab, not a kitchen.
For truly healthy food inspiration, check out the recipe archive on my blog.
Always be kind to yourself
Just for the record it's not something I've mastered yet, but I'm working on it ❤️