We all want to be happier, right? While that’s a rhetorical question that doesn’t need to be answered, it is something that you should be thinking about regularly. Your happiness is important. It colors everything in your life. It will even sour the good moments, making it nearly impossible to dig yourself out of emotional ruts. Happiness is the key to a well-lived life. It will elevate every aspect of your being, from your daily outlook to the way you treat others, from the joy you find in the mundane to how well you do your job. This is precisely the reason why you need to take the steps necessary to ensure your happiness. That may sound like a weird thing to say, but happiness isn’t something that comes naturally to us all, it’s something that you must work on and below you’ll find three strategies to ensure that 2019 is your happiest year ever.
#1 Don’t Just Fix Your Relationships, Excel In Them
The quality of your life is directly proportionate to the quality of your relationships. A good life doesn’t bring with it good relationships. Good relationships bring with them a good life. This is true for all of your relationships, each one of them adding or taking away from your life as a whole.
In the now 83-year-old Harvard study, where researchers followed the lives of students (it started from 1936 and is still ongoing) and their health throughout their lives have found that close relationships, more than money, fame, social class, or even genes are what keep people happy throughout their lives.
“When we gathered together everything we knew about them about at age 50, it wasn’t their middle-age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old,” said Waldinger in his TED Talk. “It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”
That’s why it’s essential to ensure that the relationships of your life are positive ones. I’ve been with my wife for 20 years now (I’m 39, so it’s more than half my life) and I can tell you first hand, the quality of the relationship that you have with your spouse is the single most important relationship you can have in this life. More than any other relationship it’s the cornerstone of your happiness. Here are a few things to consider:
- Communicate – I know this is a no-brainer and has been spouted many times, but communication is key to a healthy relationship. Disagreement happens. Talk about it. But, always remember that the relationship comes first. Yes, even before being right. Keep in mind that you don’t always have to win because winning means there must be a loser. Always look for the win-win solution.
- Listen – Relationships require work, they are easy to take for granted, but if you listen to what each other is saying and do the things you heard the other person say they need from you, it will strengthen your relationship tenfold.
- Love The Differences – If you learn to love what makes you different, instead of allowing it to push you apart, then you are better able to see how being different makes you a stronger team.
- Do – Don’t stagnate. Do things for the other person. Spend your free time doing the things that they love. Keep in mind that your relationships aren’t just about you, they’re about us.
What advice do you have? I’d love to hear them. Comment below.
For those of you that aren’t married and feel that the above list doesn’t apply to you, reread it. It applies to all relationship types.
#2 Be Thankful
The simple act of being thankful will have a tremendous impact on your happiness. I think that we go through life more in tune with what we don’t have than what we do. We take so much for granted that if we ever stopped to think about our blessings, we’d begin to find joy in things that we may not have noticed before.
You’re reading this, aren’t you? Be thankful to the people who taught you how. Are you able to walk? Do you have a roof to sleep under at night? How about a pair of socks? There is so much to be thankful for, look around you.
There have been many studies conducted on the power of expressing gratitude. It will change you for the better if you keep that in mind. Today, make it your mission to thank other people for what they have done for you. All of them. But, instead of just saying the automatic thank you, take it further than that.
- I appreciate you taking the time to show me how to do that. It means a lot.
- You really saved me today. You were gracious enough to put that report together for me, it really made my day!
- You’re amazing. Thank you for making my day just a little bit better.
- You’re appreciated!
Say the above with conviction and mean every word of it. It will not only create happiness for the person you are saying it too, but it will also change your own life in ways that you can’t imagine. Showing gratitude has been proven to increase your mood, elevate your happiness, increase your productivity and well being, as well as help protect you from stress and depression. What are you thankful for? Write it down. Every day, write down what you were grateful for that day in a journal, even if it’s just one thing.
#3 Make 2019 the Year to Forgive
Free yourself from whatever pain you’re feeling that’s related to another person’s actions and forgive them. If not for them, for you.
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
If you’re spending time thinking about how somebody wronged you and are harboring resentment towards them, you’re limiting your own happiness by allowing it to continue. Stop it. Forgive them. However, forgiving doesn’t mean that you have to keep that person in your life. Forgiveness means that you are no longer allowing the wrong to hamper your happiness. Give yourself a gift and be more forgiving in 2019.
Make This Year Your Happiest Year Ever
Happiness is designed. Take the steps necessary to ensure yours so that you can show others how to find theirs. It’s the duty of each one of us to strive to become the best versions of ourselves so that we can assist others to do the same. That’s the only way to fix the broken world around us. Be more so that you can do more.