Some people struggle with finding happiness more than others. It's a complex topic that hails countless opinions from various thought leaders. In any self-improvement practice, the individual must always consider different perspectives and ultimately do what is best for them.
That being said, here are 3 tools that help author Alex Banayan when he struggles with his happiness. Use them as a guide, and adjust as you see fit.
1. Increase your maitri
Maitri means having loving-kindness for oneself. Whenever you have lost your happiness, focus on having more compassion for yourself.
Try this: Say your name + "I love you" to yourself in the mirror every morning. Then list 10 things you love about yourself.
Sometimes lowering expectations for yourself is okay. Especially when there is a lot going on in the world or in your life, no need to be so hard on yourself.
2. Focus on simple actions
We don't always have control over our emotions, but we do have control over the conditions we create that affect our emotions.
Alex recommends this 21-Day Happiness Challenge by Shawn Ellis, where you pick one of 5 habits and try it out for 21 days.
Try these every day:
1. Write down 3 things you are grateful for
2. Every night journal about a positive experience you had
3. Do 15 minutes of fun cardio exercise
5. Write a surprise thank you note to someone
3. Re-examine your priorities
Take a look at this video demonstrating the Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand metaphor. The rocks are truly important things in your life, pebbles are other things that matter, and sand are the little things that bring you joy.
Do you have your rocks, pebbles, and sand in the correct order? Re-assess what truly matters to you, and take some time to focus on your biggest priorities.
Best of Q&A
Q: What if you are achieving what you thought was your dream, but you aren't happy?
A: As we change, sometimes what makes us happy changes, and that is okay. Assess the new cards you have been dealt, go through some of these exercises, as well as the past ones, and pivot if you need to.
Q: In tough times, should you focus more on rocks, pebbles, or sand?
A: All three are important to you, and can have a place in your life, but sometimes you just need to shift your focus. Having a checklist during really tough times is helpful. Figure out what your 5 things need to be.
Did you eat well today?
Did you go outside in the sun?
DId you talk to someone you like (in person)?
Did you drink water today?
Did you exercise today?
Q: Where's the limit for self-compassion?
A: There's a difference between self-compassion and holding yourself accountable. You can be gentle with yourself and make progress at the same time. You don't have to be so hard on yourself.
"Stop being the CEO of your success, and start being the CEO of your happiness."
This post is in relation to Alex Banayan's Third Door Mentor Sessions. Topic for Friday 6/5: Friendship