Happiness Tip #7: Learn Something New

People love to learn.

People love to learn. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is cited a lot, but I think that’s because it’s a concept most of us innately understand to be true: In order to flourish, people need more than just food, water, safety and even love.  We need to feel a sense of accomplishment, to express ourselves creatively, to grow and to realise our potential.

Do you know that feeling, when you start to learn about something and you just want to know more and more? That thirst for knowledge is exhilarating, but it only seems to build up momentum when it’s given a push start.

Okay. I know we are all being bombarded with information every day, but much of that we have no say over. Choosing to learn about something new that has aroused your curiosity, is intimate and meaningful.

I have always wished I could make a cool origami figure. I can remember feeling envious (on more that one occasion) when someone whipped up an elegantly folded crane as their seemingly effortless party trick. So today I learned how.

 

Did It Work? Eventually yes, but I was frustrated at times. I just had to make a dragon! That is typical me. There were plenty of simpler tutorial’s I could have started with, but I always feel the need to make things a little harder on myself. As you can imagine, I gave up a few times and got a bit miffed when mine didn’t look like the person’s in the video. When I finally did it, though, I felt tremendous satisfaction. I’m proud of my little dragon and that feels good.

Happiness Tip #8: Exercise to Boost Energy

Happiness Tip #7 is from Happier.com’s ’25 ways to feel happier in the next 5 minutes’.

How to Make an Easy Origami Dragon – Shinyorigami

Happiness Tip #6: Connect With People

Connecting with someone isn’t about being an emotional dumping ground, it’s a two-way street.

On Friday, I met with an old friend at a nearby sushi place. She is the type of person that always has a heap of crazy stories. She seems to just attract absurdity. Unsurprisingly, she needed to vent.

It’s common knowledge that opening up to a friend can make you feel better, but it also feels good to be the listening ear.

Did It Work? Yes, however, sometimes a friend’s venting can be toxic. I recall one friend in particular who, over time, drained me emotionally with their pernicious venting. Connecting with someone isn’t about being an emotional dumping ground, it’s a two-way street. If you feel used and underappreciated, it may be time to put some space between you and that person.

Happiness Tip #7: Learn Something New

Happiness Tip #6 is from The Guardian’s ’10 Easy Steps To A Happier Living’.

Happiness Tip #5: Swap Mopey Music For Upbeat Stuff

When I get low, I tend to put on songs that reflect my mood to comfort me.

This tip is from Cosmo’s ’16 Science-Backed Ways to Be Instantly Happier’.

Before we begin, I must confess: I can be a bit of a music snob. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as at home listening to country as hip hop, but I like music that makes me feel something. What I noticed today, was that those feelings, beautiful as they are, are more likely to be melancholy and longing, than joyousness and glee.

When I get low, I tend to put on songs that reflect my mood to comfort me. Studies suggest, however, that listening to happy music with the intention of cheering  yourself up, can genuinely improve your mood. Sounds obvious, I know. So what’s taken me so long?

Today, I decided to create an entirely new playlist of happy tunes and go for walk around town. I made sure to include a song that gave me a bit of a giggle (I’ll Make a Man Out Of You- Mulan Soundtrack) and a song that reminded me of my most special holiday (Champion – D.J. Bravo) but most importantly, I made sure that none of the songs reminded me of any exes or any unhappy times: Just a 100% fun, positive playlist.

The songs are listed in the above image. I intentionally didn’t include Pharrell’s ‘Happy’. I love the guy, but it’s a little on the nose.

Did It Work? Yes!!! I cringed at how ‘basic’ the list was before stepping out the door, but 1 minute into the first song and I couldn’t care less. I was loving it! This doesn’t mean I’ll be deleting all my usual tunes, but it’s good to know I have a tried and tested playlist if I ever need a pick me up. So, what’s on yours?

Happiness Tip #6: Connect With People

Happiness Tip 4: Try Something New

It can be anything from trying a new recipe to doing a skydive.

Today’s happiness tip comes from Shape.com’s 20 Ways To Get Happy (Almost) Instantly’:

“Try Something New”

Ambiguous I know, but that’s what makes it totally doable. It can be anything from trying a new recipe to doing a skydive. The point is that trying something new, creates a new opportunity for happiness. It lets you know that every day doesn’t have to be the same. You are in control.

Last night, I found some great websites with tons of ideas for new things to try:

LifeHack.com 30 New Things To Do Today

ElephantJournal.com ’52 Fun Things To Try

AllanKarl.com ’35 Ideas For Something New & Different in Your Life’ 

I was instantly inspired! So many great ideas I couldn’t choose one. I imagined myself learning a new language, knitting a scarf, taking a spin class and baking cream buns (I may return to that one). Today was quite busy though, and all morning in the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘What new thing can I do? What new thing can I do?’

But this isn’t meant to be a chore. It’s about doing one thing (big or small) every day to make it that bit happier.

So, as pathetic as it may sound, the change I made today was trying a tuna and swiss cheese bagel instead of a ham cheese toastie.

Did It Work? The bagel itself? Not really, but, the fact I made a choice today (however small) just for my own happiness made me feel good. You can do it too.

Happiness Tip #5: Swap Mopey Music For Upbeat Stuff

 

Happiness Tip 3: Find Your Mantra

In Buddhism and Hinduism, a mantra is a sound or phrase which when uttered once or repeated, can help a person enter an altered state of consciousness. It is said, that through this altered state, a person can achieve greater spiritual awareness, be protected from negative energy and be healed.

A mantra can also be a sort of positive affirmation.

If you are lucky enough to have a spiritual guru like Elizabeth Gilbert in ‘EatPrayLove,’ they may give you one. If not, you can try out these methods like I did:

1. Primordial Sound Meditation Mantra. This sounds kind of icky, but it’s recommended by Deepak Chopra, Oprah’s man for mindfulness. This mantra is intended to mimic the vibration of the universe at the time of your birth. Chanting it is meant to be your own personal ticket to a more peaceful state of mind.

Here’s how you find yours, using an example as if you were born in Dublin right now:

a) Enter the required details into the online calculator at: http://www.prokerala.com/astrology/nakshatra-finder/

a) Take the sound from the section ‘first syllable’ (circled in yellow in the above image), in this case, ‘Gu’.

b) Add ‘mto the end. In this case, creating the word ‘Gum‘.

c) Stick it in between the words ‘Om’ and ‘Namah’, so Om Gum Namah.

Mine was:

“Om Jam Namah”

Using The Mantra: I sat in my happy little window seat and repeated the phrase aloud at first and then in my head.

Did it work? Yes. I did find it relaxing. I’ve tried clearing my mind before and I couldn’t hack it. Repeating a phrase gave me something to focus on and stopped my mind from wandering to thoughts about dinner and people I forgot to call back.

(http://www.allgoodfound.com/2015/10/get-your-personal-primordial-sound-meditation-mantra-for-free.html)

2. Write down positive things that you want to attract into your life and also negative thoughts that hurt and bother you. You then use these thoughts to inspire a mantra personal to you. 

I want to attract happiness into my life and I feel quite self-conscious at times. So my mantra became:

“I am full of happiness and confidence.”

Using The Mantra: I tried repeating this phrase to aid meditation but I believe it would be better used as a positive affirmation for when I’m feeling low or insecure.

Did It Work? Yes, it made me feel good but I would like to try it out in situations where I need a bit of a boost. I think this method is great as it speaks directly in opposition to your negative thoughts and insecurities. I would definitely recommend it even just as a way of getting in touch with your inner dialogue.

( http://yogavoice.berlin/create-your-own-mantra-and-discover-a-tool-for-self-healing/ )

3. Just for fun, I tried the quiz ‘ What Is Your Ideal Meditation Mantra?’ (http://quizdoo.com/what-is-your-ideal-meditation-mantra/)

I only did this one so I could laugh at the pseudo-profound nonsense it proposed; that’s just the kind of cynical individual I am. Disappointingly, I quite liked my result:

Love is the only miracle there is.

Did It Work? No. It sounded beautiful at first, but instead of entering an enlightened state when I repeated it, I just thought ‘Wow. This is proper bulls***’. It might be useful for someone, but not for me.

Let me know if you have tried any of these techniques or if you have a mantra that you find useful.

Happiness Tip #4: Try Something New.

 

Happiness Tip 2: Fill Yourself Up

Having a support network of friends and family is hugely important, but ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness. 

I spotted this little guy on my walk the other day, peacefully swimming solo. I thought it would be the perfect image for tip 2:

Fill Yourself Up.

I took this tip from Notesonbliss.com. It’s about taking responsibility for your own happiness and fulfilment.

I originally chose this one to motivate myself to get on with odd jobs around the house without trying to rope anyone else in. And I did do it myself. Not the exaggerated, passive-aggressive, guilt-eliciting ‘doing it myself’, but the genuine kind.

Did It Work? Yes. I was working alone so I got to pick all the tunes (I resent having to listen to rubbish music). Also, it made me proud to look at the pretty, little finishing touches I added the apartment, knowing it was me.

Bonus: After a while, my other half came to me and asked me what jobs he could do around the house. I guess he wanted in on the happiness.

Getting  Deep: I wanted each happiness tip to be a straightforward activity that I could complete in a day. This tip is not that. I’ve contemplated the message over the last couple of days, “Fill yourself up“. The more I think about it, the more I realise how much I depend on others to make me feel good. I’m not sure if I look okay unless I get a compliment; if I’m trying something new, I need a friend to come with me so I don’t look like a “sad loner”; and if I’ve been having a bad day, I expect my other half to cheer me up. Having a support network of friends and family is hugely important, but ultimately you are responsible for your own happiness. This tip resonated with me so much it led me naturally to the next tip:

Happiness Tip #3: Find a new mantra.

Fill yourself up is No.16 from 30 Things To Start Doing For Yourself: http://notesonbliss.com/start-doing-for-yourself/

Happiness Tip 1: Go For A Walk Outside

A walk in nature is not a typical occurrence for me, but isn’t that the point?

Today’s happiness tip, I found in a Huffington Post article (link below), although it’s commonly said:

Go for a walk outside at least once a week.

Apparently, the combination of exercise and nature can improve a person’s mood. Sounds ideal!

It’s important to mention: I do not exercise. Compared to friends’ Snapchat stories, featuring gym sessions and picturesque hikes, I’m virtually stagnant. A walk in nature is not a typical occurrence for me, but isn’t that the point?

The Walk: I began around 3 pm. It was a beautifully sunny day, so I had absolutely no excuse. I chose to walk the route from Limerick City to the University, along the canal and River Shannon. Instantly, I felt good. There were beautiful flowers, old, stone footbridges, a team of mallard ducks and a swan amid the reeds. The weather had attracted plenty of other people walking, running and cycling the scenic trail. After a while, I began to pick up speed. I even jogged for a bit, when I hit a stretch of path where no-one could see me!

Did It Work? Yes! I rate it 5 happiness points (although I have no real system). The walk made me appreciate my city a little more and I felt good about myself, for opting for a healthy activity for the day. Moreover, after the walk, I felt energised; I came home and instantly wanted to get to work on all the things around the house that I’d been putting off….

Unfortunately, I failed to keep in mind that not everyone would feel this same, sudden enthusiasm for odd-jobs. I ended up having a bit of a tiff with my boyfriend because, unsurprisingly, he didn’t jump at the chance to clean the washing machine filter on a Saturday evening. Fair play; lesson learned. Anyways, it led me to select tomorrow’s tip:

Happiness Tip No. 2: Fill yourself up.

Meaning, don’t expect someone else to make you happy. Do what you want and need on your own. Tomorrow, I want to have a beautiful breakfast and then spend the day, listening to my favourite songs, while making my home a little prettier. So, that’s what I’ll do.

 

Huffington Post: 17 Easy Ways To Become A Happier And Calmer Person In 2017 By Lindsay Holmes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-be-happier-next-year_us_58581b27e4b039044709a942