How To Have a Happy Day!

Now I don't know about you but one thing I regularly notice on my daily walk to work to my office in Ely, is just how bloody miserable people seem to look! When someone comes in my direction I might move onto the road so they can continue on their way unimpeded, and as I look at them and smile they glare back as if I've stolen their last Rolo! (Remember the old advert about 'do you love someone enough to give them your last rolo'?) Or they stare at the floor and continue on their way as if I wasn't there and it didn't happen. 

(Or they may be so engrossed in looking down at their phone that maybe to their brain it didn't happen!)

But heck, these small interactions aren't going to colour my day, and I don't know what's going on in their world that makes them feel so grey and weary.

Of course not everyone does this; many others acknowledge me with a 'good morning' or 'thank you' along with a wonderful beaming smile and expression of gratitide. I like these people! I really do!

But if you're one of those people who wakes up glum, looking forward to nothing but a day of glum, going through the same old thoughts, feelings and experiences like you're on a hamster wheel, then you might want to do something about it, mightn't you?

The Truth About Happiness

Recently I was reading about someone on social media who has a weekly 'Smile Day'. On that day he would make a point of smiling as often as he could all day at everyone he came into contact with. And the thing about smiling is that the more you do it, the better you feel...and the better you make others feel. It's a winning strategy! 

You may already be thinking how you can adopt that into your own life. Because even just forcing yourself to smile repeatedly a few times in a row is linked to enhancing your mood and how good you feel (try it!). It can have massive positive benefits on your sense of wellbeing and happiness, as well as on your friendships and relationships.

Better still, force yourself to laugh a few times and you will feel better (there are whole classes devoted to just doing this for the purpose of happiness).

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Many people associate happiness with having 'stuff' and say things to themselves like, 'I'll be happy when I have that car/house/job/shiny thing' and so forth. And whilst we can get a short term boost from getting these things, chances are we soon end up just as unhappy as we were before (at which point we probably look for another shiny new object to attain). Research shows that happiness and money don't necessarily correlate (once basic needs are covered), with lottery winners ending up about as happy as they were before their win.

So the truth is that happiness is more a process of attitude and attention - what we pay attention to, and how we pay attention to it directly influences how happy we are.

So if your happiness levels could do with a booster shot then start implementing some of the suggestions below.

Developing The Happiness Attitude

1. Start Your Day A Good Way

How we start our day can set the tone for everything that follows that day. So start the day in a way that is likely to promote feeling good, positive and upbeat.

Rather than cursing your alarm, hitting snooze then lying in bed bemoaning all the worst aspects of the day ahead, make yourself get up and get moving. Get on with the day. Put on some music that makes you feel positive and upbeat, force a smile onto your face as you get ready and even do a happy dance (I know you've probably got one, haven't you? If not create one! Bust some moves like you are a boss on the dancefloor!). As you get ready, spend some moments thinking of three to five things you are looking forward to that day, however big or small they may be (some people stuggle with this at first but the more you do it the easier it gets and the more habitually you will prime your day to enhance your mood).

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2. Find The Funny

Towards the end of last year I went to a hypnosis workshop up in Derby which was run by Anthony and Freddy Jacquin. During one of the class demonstrations, Anthony had me recall a time when I laughed hysterically at something (I'd recently been watching the Inbetweeners movie and remembered how funny I found the scene where they start dancing to try and impress the girls - very funny!). The more I recalled it, the more I laughed. In fact, I laughed so much that I could feel the tears building behind my closed eyes, my stomach aching with laughing and my legs going a bit sort of weak. It was great! For the rest of the day I was in such a great mood! (I've stuck a link to the movie clip below if you want to see it).

So my point here is that we all have stuff that we find funny, that makes us laugh and gives us a huge shot of happy so actively cultivate it. Watch some clips on you tube, replay stuff you've seen in your head, imagine a face you find funny, imagine a noise you find funny and so on. Actively create some happiness for yourself.

3. Do More Of What Makes You Happy

Sounds obvious doesn't it? But many people waste so much time unproductively doing things that makes them miserable, or moaning about the prospect of doing them, that they don't give themselves permission to do the things that make them feel good. 

But of course, being happy doesn't have to be about a particular thing because it's a process and it involves paying full attention to what gives you the most. You can practice looking for what's enjoyable, what makes you feel more alive, brings you fun, or makes you experience gratitude in your everyday experiences.

So spend some time today starting to decide what happiness means for you so you can set your focus to notice it more and experience more and bring feeling good within your control. What brings you meaning, pleasure and happiness in your life?

4. Stop Shouting At Trees

How you respond to events, situations, cirucmstances and people that aren't how you'd like them to be is going to have a massive imapct on your levels of happiness.

If something bothers, frustrates or annoys you, then take action and do something constructive about it. That may mean that you need to develop your own skills and resources so you can take appropriate action.

If you there is nothing you can do about it, find a way to let it wash over you or let it go. If you spend hour after hour bemoaning it in your own head and wearing out the ears of others, then all you will do is make yourself feel worse. If you were walking down the street and encoutered a tree in your way, you wouldn't shout at the tree to move, would you? And when it didn't, would you shout at it more and call your friends and tell them all about this tree that is trying to ruin your day? Of course you wouldn't: you'd go around it, or past it some other way or change your route a bit.

Wasting your life being passively unhappy about things you can't change is not that far removed from shouting at that tree to go grow somewhere else. It achieves very little.

5.  Sifting For Gold

Are you sifting for the gold in your life?

(I resisted the urge to start talking about 'going for gold' which as we both know was a quality TV show  in the late 80's and early 90's.)

Have you ever seen one of those western films where they are all down by the stream and sifting through the dirt and dust and mud to find a few nuggets of gold? They don't spend their time focussed on the dirt and how much muck they find; they are focussed on finding a few bits of gold amongst it all.

So just like our gold sifter, spend a few moments at the end of every day 'panning for gold' from your day. Make a list of all the good, positive and pleasant things that have happened to you during the day. Maybe you laughed at a joke; maybe you saw someting beautiful in nature; maybe someone smiled at you or appreciated you in some way. It doesn't matter what the thing was; just take a moment to sift through your day for these moments of gold. Relive them in your mind. Re-experience them as you play them over. Write them down and add to your list at the end of each day. 

Not only will you feel good as you recall and write your list but you'll also be able to review your ever growing list whenever you need a pick up. And you'll be creating a habit of automatically noticing all that is good, happiness-inducing and enjoyable for you in your life each day.

To the happy you!

Dan Regan

Hypnotherapy Ely, Newmarket, Skype


PS Can hypnotherapy help you be happy? Sure, check out what Jodie and Natalia had to say about it.

PPS If you've never seen the Inbetweeners dnce scene take a look here - always makes me laugh: