Lichfield City Academy meet Happiness
As we get more successful we should get happier, but often we just get more stressed and tired, shifting the bar higher and higher. How can we keep sight of the ultimate goal, to be happy?
A FORCE FOR GOOD
Ambition can be a positive driver, but it also often gets in the way of our enjoyment of an activity, loading it with undue pressure and even fear. It’s important that we each question where our ambition comes from and try to find positive internal motivating forces rather than be driven by external ones. Wanting to beat a personal best or last years results for example, is better in the happiness stakes than aiming for a marker set by someone else.
Research has found that some of the psychological traits associated with striving for happiness actually tend to make us more miserable – to feel important, needed and wanted. These things may help us to achieve attainment in the traditional sense, but in the process we lose sight of our original goals. Learn to prioritise what makes you happy, even the small things such as reading a book or or seeing friends at a match, and avoid sacrificing those things too often.
It’s easy to blame other people and external factors for your unhappiness, but while they might influence you, only you are responsible for your thoughts and feelings. Realising that you have control over your happiness and have it in your power to not allow certain stressors to bring you down is liberating and more likely to result in happiness. Next time you feel your mood deteriorating because of something relatively minor give yourself a good talking to.
Personal goals can be either incredibly motivating or massively demoralising depending on how you set them. Harbouring a burning desire to conquer a single incredible feat is likely to result in setbacks, failure, disappointment and self-inflicted stress. Instead the journey there should be marked by a series of stepping stones, each with its own tough challenges and rewards. You’re less likely to give up and will feel greater and more prolonged satisfaction and confidence with small short term goals with deadlines.
Regular exercise has been found to reduce your risk of depression, help you to relax and improve how you view your body, even before any actual weight changes. A run or walk outside could improve your mood even more, as research shows that just 20 minutes outside in the fresh air is enough to improve mood.
The adage ‘it’s better to give than to receive’ is true not only in terms of tangible gifts but also time, affection, advice and support. The quickest way to get smiling is to make someone else smile first.