How to build your happiness?

How to build your happiness?

Finding a way to happiness it's not as hard as many of us think.

Honestly, the last 3 months weren’t good for me in terms of writing. I had started a few posts but I finished zero. There are multiple reasons for that also I was/am worried about the current situation in the world. But, it’s good to be back and start writing, which I believe brings benefit not only for me but also for you, the readers.

I think that we are living in a time of huge uncertainty. In today’s post, I’d like to talk (write) about building happiness in your life.

What makes you (un)happy?

Let me ask this direct question – do you feel happy now? If the answer is yes (at the moment when you are reading this post) I’d like to ask you follow up questions:

  • Who or what is the primary source of your happiness?
  • Are you happy because of people or things?
  • Do you need external events to feel happiness?
  • Do you have this positive feeling constantly or from time to time?
  • Do you think that you might feel happier?

On other hand, if the answer is no (i.e. you feel unhappy right now) the set of the question that will be helpful later in this post is:

  • Why do you think are you not happy?
  • What is the primary source of your sadness?
  • Are you unhappy because of people or things?
  • What needs to happen to make your situation better?
  • Do you have this feeling constantly or sometimes?

I’m asking about the above because I think that is really important to recognize what makes us happy (and sad) and many of us don’t make an effort to think about it. In my opinion that “what” can be categorized as an internal or external factor.

External factors are everything that is happening around us (events) and what consists of the environment in which we live (people, things). Events are often out of our control – wars, inflation, political issues, and so on. People are those with whom we work, live, have relationships, interact on a daily basis, etc. Finally, things are everything that we have and what we would like to have.

Internal factor this is, in general, our self-esteem and what we think about people and things around us.

The next question is:

What can you control, and what cannot?

I’d like to propose a very easy exercise. In the table below you can find the list of the life situations. My ask is to think about each of them and associate your anticipated first feeling.

EventFirst Feeling
Negative feedback from your boos or someone’s opinion
Bad economic situtation
Another political scandal
Loss of relationship with the best friend
Argument with partner
Job loss
Bad health check results
You’ve gone wrong again with something (low self-esteem)

Right now I’d like to present the probable responses:

EventFirst Feeling
Negative feedback from your boos or someone’s opinionSadness
Bad economic situtationFrustration
Another political scandalAnger
Loss of relationship with the best friendFear of being alone
Argument with partnerAnnoyance
Job lossPanic
Bad health check resultsAnxiety
You’ve gone wrong again with something (low self-esteem)Resignation

I think that no matter if you are currently happy or not the feelings will be the same. The difference is how long this feeling will control you and what will be your later response. This is what, in my opinion, builds life satisfaction (i.e. make us happy people or not). What is crucial is to recognize if the particular situation is under your control. It’s really simple, I believe. In the given example, I added the third column.

EventFirst FeelingCan you control it?
Negative feedback from your boos or someone’s opinionSadness
Bad economic situtationFrustration
Another political scandalAnger
Loss of relationship with the best friendFear of being alone
Argument with partnerAnnoyance
Job lossPanic
Bad health check resultsAnxiety
You’ve gone wrong again with something (low self-esteem)Resignation

Ready with the answers? Here you are:

EventFirst FeelingCan you control it?
Negative feedback from your boos or someone’s opinionSadnessNo
Bad economic situtationFrustrationYes
Another political scandalAngerNo
Loss of relationship with the best friendFear of being aloneNo
Argument with partnerAnnoyanceYes
Job lossPanicNo
Bad health check resultsAnxietyYes
You’ve gone wrong again with something (low self-esteem)ResignationYes

Of course, your answers might be different, and this is totally fine. Just after the first reaction (feeling), it’s important to take time to decide what is your true reaction – in other words, what you think about a certain situation.

This is, what makes a difference between feeling happiness in life or not.

EventFirst FeelingCan you control it?What do I really think about it?
Negative feedback from your boos or someone’s opinionSadnessNo
Bad economic situtationFrustrationYes
Another political scandalAngerNo
Loss of relationship with the best friendFear of being aloneYes
Argument with partnerAnnoyanceYes
Job lossPanicNo
Bad health check resultsAnxietyYes
You’ve gone wrong again with something (low self-esteem)ResignationYes

Are you ready? My thoughts are:

EventFirst FeelingCan you control it?What do I really think about it?
Negative feedback from your boos or someone’s opinionSadnessNoFeedback (if constructive) is the chance to do something better in the future. On the other hand, I don’t have control over what other people think about me so I shouldn’t care about it if that opinion is not valuable to me.
Bad economic situtationFrustrationYesMy financial situation is totally under my control and nobody will take care of it.
Another political scandalAngerNoI just don’t care about it.
Loss of relationship with the best friendFear of being aloneYesIf it was a decision made by my friend – I had no influence on that.
Argument with partnerAnnoyanceYesIt happens from time to time and what we can do is improve our communication.
Job lossPanicNoI can find any job to cover the bills and at the same time look for the new one in my specialization
Bad health check resultsAnxietyYesI need to think about how to improve my health – again, it’s totally under my control and nobody will take care of it.
You’ve gone wrong again with something (low self-esteem)ResignationYesFailures are an integral part of our life, it means that I’m on the right path to success.

The true source of the happiness (and optimism)

Everything that you read so far has one purpose – to define what makes you happy (or not) and what shapes your view of the future. I strongly believe that the source of happiness and optimism should mainly be what is totally under your control. In my life, there are five core areas over which I’m controlling 100% and they are the main source of my happiness.

1. Self-esteem

In my opinion, this is the starting and the most important point. Psychologists describe this term as someone’s overall subjective sense of personal worth or value. Self-esteem is defined by many different things, including:

  • Belief in your competences
  • Self-confidence
  • Identity (who I am?)
  • Your values
  • Your outlook on the life

Low self-esteem can affect, for example, mental and physical health, relationships with people, and our overall mood. What I am doing to maintain strong self-esteem?

  • I accept my strengths and weaknesses and I’m open to improvement.
  • I have boundaries (in this what I’m doing, in relations with others, etc).
  • I know how to express my feelings and needs.
  • I know that I’m not perfect and never will be.
  • I know when to say “no”.
  • Every failure is a valuable lesson.
  • I am aware of negative thoughts and I accept them.
  • I challenge negative thinking patterns.
  • I defined my values.

Self-esteem is a strong foundation for building life satisfaction.

2. Mental and physical health

Having good mental and physical health is equally important – there is a strong correlation between them. Taking care of mental health for me means:

  • Maintaining strong self-esteem (described earlier)
  • Limit watching the news and reading comments on the news portal
  • Reading articles and books about psychology to better understand myself
  • Take some time for thinking in silence (it’s my form of meditation)
  • Journaling
  • To-do list (aka having control under every single day)
  • Practicing empathy

On the other hand, I may not be a role model when it comes to physical health but my rules allow me to be in a good shape and at the same time enjoy life. My approach includes:

  • I don’t have a specific diet but I’m eating on a regular basis and I don’t refuse to eat something unhealthy from time to time.
  • I do a sport that I enjoy and I mix different types of disciplines because it’s really hard for me to stick to only one or two.
  • During summertime, I choose bike when it’s possible.
  • I remember to dring a lot of water, every day.
  • I try to have good quality and length of sleep and avoid blue light before bedtime.
  • Once per year, I do a full health check (including my teeth)

I think also that everyone should find their own way to be a good condition in both healths.

3. Relationships

The third category is with whom we live and connect on a regular basis – in other words, our partner, family, and friends. Humans cannot live in separation so it’s really important to have true people around us. What I’m doing in this space?

  • I keep in touch with those family members I care about.
  • I do as much as I can to improve communication with my fiancee. We are talking about feelings and needs and what annoys us.
  • I keep a limited number of relations with friends – I value quality over quantity.
  • I have a friend with whom I can talk about every topic.
  • I avoid toxic relationships (including those at work).
  • I spend time (not only talking over the phone) with the people closest to my heart.
4. Knowledge (and career)

Another category is your job, your career, and in general, your knowledge. Because we spend around 8 hours per day at the workplace it’s a huge part of our lifes. In my example:

  • I have my own definition of work-life balance and I try to stick to it as often as it is possible.
  • I’m asking for feedback from colleagues from the team or my boss.
  • I develop my knowledge regularly by reading and experimenting.
  • I’m aware that my job one day may be no longer needed to gain knowledge in different areas.
  • I do networking – there is a lot that I can learn from others.
  • I have mentors.
  • I’m developing a growth mindset.
  • I have the passion (this is why this blog exists).

Practicing these things allows me to find myself at every point of my professional career.

5. Personal finances

The last category is your economic situation. Money is important, but what is the most important is to have control over them. In my approach:

  • I control the spending (I have a simple excel file).
  • I have savings for at least 6 months of living without income from the job.
  • I educate myself in the area of investing.
  • If I cannot buy something I don’t take credit for that – I just collecting money for that for the next x number of months.
  • I don’t skimp money on food and health.

The general rule (I think that this is the obvious one) is to spend less than I earn – simply as that.

The end note

I think that this article you find very useful and helpful. I believe that If I keep these five areas, mentioned earlier, in a good condition I’m able to reach for the majority of the life events (also those which are result in the part of my life that are not under my control), for example:

High inflation? It’s a problem but I’m able to increase my income using the knowledge and skills that I’m developing on a regular basis.

Uncertainty in the world – I have no control over it but I can help people who are in a worse situation than me. I focus on this what I enjoy the most and relationships with others.

Unexpected expense? I’m prepared for that with my savings.

New challenge or problem? I can talk about that with trusted people.

Also, my opinion is that we are living in a very interesting time. I’m curious about what will happen in the near and far future. I encourage you to think about your happiness on a regular basis.

Thank you for reading till the end. If you would like to be informed about new articles and receive information about interesting articles you can sign up for my newsletter.

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