12 ways to live a happy and content life

Sometimes we’re so busy searching for happiness that we don’t realise that it’s actually right in front of us! With the right attitude, it can be simple to enjoy bursts of happiness each day if we just take things slow and take a kinder approach with ourselves. It’s time to look up, absorb what’s around us and do things that will make ourselves happy and not others. With that in mind, here’s 12 ways to live a happy and content life; although some of these may take a lot of practice, with perseverance you will definitely get there and enjoy a life that’s happy and content!

Step out of your comfort zone and do something that scares you

Whilst living in our comfort zone provides us with..well..comfort, it’s far too easy to live like this and not step outside of this zone. Maybe there’s something you’d like to do that scares you that you’ve never dreamed of doing? But just imagine that triumphant feeling when you actually achieve that thing that you’ve always put off and how amazing it is. Befor eheading out make sure that you have a proper First Aid Training, just in case. You never know, you may just wonder why you were so scared in the first place! So go on, take a few steps outside of this zone, you may just like it and enjoy a new lease of life!

Be kind to yourself

Having a better relationship with yourself is something that’s just so important. You need to be okay with yourself and able to be your own best friend in order to experience true happiness.  That means not beating yourself up for not doing so well in an exam or kicking yourself for something you did or said in the past. We wouldn’t be so harsh to a friend or family member – we’d give them gentle and encouraging advice.

So why are we the first to criticise ourselves? Remember to use kind words with yourself and look after your body. Nurture your body with healthy and delicious food and ensure you do something a few times a day to make yourself happy – even if it’s just some time out to read a book or indulge in a luxurious bubble bath. Once you have a better relationship with yourself, you’ll be amazed at what life has to offer you. We attract in what we give out and it couldn’t be any truer!

Stop comparing yourself to others

This is an incredibly unhealthy behaviour that’s only going to result in a massive circle of poisonous negativity. People are on different journeys throughout their life and things happen at different times and something that one of your friends is experiencing right now just may not be the right time for you. Be patient and make the most of your present – your time will come! So stop comparing your relationship or your wage or anything else to someone else. Why does it matter so much? Every relationship is unique and if you’re happy and able to live comfortably on your existing wage, then why does it matter?

It’s the same with social media. Sure, there’s always going to be nice photos of people’s holiday destinations online, someone’s always going to be getting married or someone’s always going to have that amazing promotion at work. But why are you getting so jealous and letting it affect you so much? Obviously people only put the best parts of their life on social media. Just remember that next time you’re scrolling through, and don’t let silly things like social media bring your mood down! The best thing to do is to be happy for these people and share their joy and you’ll be surprised at how different you feel!

Be Grateful

Sure, there are times when things don’t go to plan or things go wrong. But that’s life. It’s going to filled with plenty of up’s and downs. Maybe you’ve had a bad day at work or you’re feeling like you could do better in life and put too much pressure on yourself. Whatever it is that’s causing you misery, do remember that there are plenty of things to be grateful and thankful for. Have you got a roof over your head and food in the fridge? Do you live close to a beautiful nature reserve? Perhaps you’ve got a loving family and some great friends? There’s plenty around us that we take for granted and it’s always great to remind ourselves of how blessed and lucky we are despite a given negative situation.

Get back to nature

Sometimes, the hustle and bustle of everyday life can just become far too overwhelming and it’s vital to take some time out to de-stress. One of the best things to do is get back to nature. Put on your wellies and go for a long coastal walk or make your way into the beautiful countryside. There’s nothing more refreshing than hearing birdsong, the crunch of leaves as you take each step and the trickles of fresh water running through the nearby river. It really does make you detach yourself from any worries and really take in that present moment of picturesque beauty.

Stop being such a damn people pleaser

The sooner you recognise that you’re a people pleaser, the better. People pleasing is unhealthy and just blatant neglect to yourself. People pleasers will normally put everyone else’s wants and needs first before they even consider their own. They’ll worry about how others will view or see them if they say no. They’ll also worry about what the other person will say about them and often think that they will be disliked. Unsurprisingly after a build up of time, people pleasers will often experience depression, stress and anxiety because they’ll feel overloaded with the burden of trying to please everyone.

It’s important to remember that it is okay to say no. You don’t need to justify to the person in question with a reason and if you feel that a situation is going to make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable then absolutely do not put others needs before your own.

Look up from your phone

There’s so much to do on phones these days; social media, games, instant messaging and texting and much more. Technology is just amazing and it’s incredible how we can keep in touch with our loved ones wherever they are in the world in just a few clicks.

Despite how clever technology is, it is important to look up and notice what’s around you. Spend time and focus on the people you’re with and make the most of it. After all, one day they may not be here and you won’t be getting that time back with them! You’ll probably also enjoy much better sleep, as when we look at electronic devices before bed, we’re promoting wakefulness which signals to our brain that it’s daylight which is very unhelpful when you’re about to turn in for the night. So go on, give yourself a little rest from your smart phone and start living!

Nothing is certain

The moment that you accept that nothing in the future is certain and surrender control is the moment you’ll finally be able to be free from any worry or past stresses. Let go of those people from your past that aren’t meant to be in your present, let go of the ‘What If’s in life and deal with them if they happen. It’s also being able to have faith that we will be okay with whatever life throws at us.

Do remember that letting go isn’t going to be something that can happen overnight, but more of a gradual process. With practice, you’ll be able to rid yourself of the unnecessary stress, worry and anxiety from your life and relationships and regain all those positive emotions such as love, joy and freedom! Remember that you can’t control what happens, but you can control how you react to a situation.

Layering your worries is never going to solve anything

Layering your worries is just a total no go. One minute you have a rogue thought in your head such as ‘What if this happens’ or ‘What if I said this?’ then suddenly the whole world is spiralling out of control about something that may not even happen.

It’s not long until you’ve arrived at the most catastrophic thought possible and that’s when the adrenaline kicks in along with those pesky heart palpitations which causes so much unnecessary misery. If this happens, you need to very firmly tell yourself to ‘Stop’ and ground yourself in the present moment.  If something hasn’t happened yet, then really it’s just fantasy. Working yourself up really isn’t going to achieve much more than making yourself feel poorly. Focusing on your breathing and meditation is a great way of helping yourself as is the art of yoga. And don’t worry, yoga isn’t just about standing on your head, there’s plenty of gentle yoga positions that will suit every ability!

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want

We’ve all heard of the saying ‘If you don’t ask, you don’t get’ and really it’s all very true. Where is the harm in asking for what you want? Whether it’s a pay rise or asking your partner if you can spend more time with one another, it’s all good. You may not get the answer you’re looking for, you may have to compromise or you can decide whether or not you want to continue with things how they are. It’s using that answer that you’re given to make a decision for yourself and decide what the best action is to follow, which will result in your happiness.

Spend time with positive people who make you happy

Time is precious, so spend it with friends and family that genuinely make you laugh and feel happy. There’s nothing better than the feeling of being uplifted when you’ve had a bit of a bad day and something’s gone wrong. After all, life is for having fun, so make the most of it. There’s no point treading eggshells around people that make you feel anxious!

Do what you want

Finally, do what you want to do. Want to go travelling? Then save up and hop on a plane. Fancy having an evening in to chill with the cat and watch old movies? Then do it! Live a life that will make you proud and always live how you want, not how others want you to live.

Pippa Masson

Pippa is head of content at Suit Your Look and specialises in fashion and beauty.

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