If there’s one thing we all want, it’s to be happy.
As humans, we often shuttle between periods of overlooking happiness while trying to make ends meet and periods of chasing after it. Happiness is free, some say; so here are some tips to help you live happily:
- Gratitude: The power of gratitude cannot be over emphasised. Reflecting on life and being grateful, even for the littlest things, will keep you in high spirits. Looking back at God’s blessings is also a faith booster when things seem to be on a low. One of the best ways to maximize the power of gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal – a book or an app even, where you can note down what you are thankful for per day and then reflect on them subsequently.
- Bask in His Presence: In the presence of God, there is fullness of Joy (Psalms 16:11). There is no better way to refuel the happiness tank than spending time in God’s presence. As often as you can, take out some time and sing praises to God- you can even do this while in transit. Let the music play as your heart rejoices before the Lord, and when you can, dance joyfully in His presence. Now, that’s one way to stay happy… and fit.
- Good stride: Take every day in good stride. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus admonishes us to worry not about tomorrow as each day comes with its own challenges. Worrying consumes time but proffers no tangible solution to the issues, especially when what you are worrying about is a future ‘what if’. If you ever find yourself slipping back into the worrying phase, tell yourself ‘Wahala no dey finish’ (Problems do not end). There will also be something to worry about, but face the day and commit the next into God’s hand.
- Rest: You might say ‘Rest, again!?’ But stress (physical or emotional) can cripple your happiness by dampening your mood. Sometimes, you are burnt out and miss moments of fun; in this situation, happiness can feel so distant. If you need to go on a retreat to rejuvenate, do so. Part of making sure you stay happy is ensuring that you are not operating above your stress threshold.
- Avoid Negativity: There is a lot of negativity in circulation, from social media dramas to news about tragic occurrences in the world. Absorbing a lot of these information never does much good to our emotional health. A lot has happened in this year, and you can agree with me that taking a social media break is important. Once you begin to feel your optimistic spirit slip away, please take a break from social media and sometimes, news channels; you need it.
- Relationships: Sometimes, what you need to brighten up a dull day is the right company. There has to be that one person who can cheer you up and boost your positivity. No man is an island, and we all need a push or a pat on the shoulders occasionally. Likewise, don’t be the sole recipient, also be a giver. It’s important to be the kind of friend you want to have. Recent occurrences have shown us that not only do we have our individual happiness to consider, but also that of the people around us. One special way to do this is by providing a listening ear and a shoulder on which they can lean to find support and comfort.
Do you struggle with being there for others? Or would you like to do more to support others? Here are some tips to help you:
- Be Nice to One and All: People generally gravitate towards those who treat them nicely. We all want to be spoken to and acted towards with courtesy; as you go about your daily business, be sure to speak kindly and act nicely to the people you meet. A person’s rank, age, ethnicity, social status etc. shouldn’t hinder you from showing kindness.
- Be Approachable: This goes hand in hand with being nice. The people who display kindness are often seen as approachable. Your body language says a lot; therefore, when interacting with others – smile, be aware of your posture, don’t let haste reflect in your comments and don’t shut people down with mean remarks.
- Listening Ear: Be more willing to listen than proffer unrequested solutions to the problems of others. Sometimes, people share about the challenges they are facing in order to relieve the stress. Talking about the issue is often the sharer’s avenue to self reflection. It’s not the time to go all life coach or motivational speaker-esque’ on the person, just be there for that person.
- Optimism and Support: You have listened to them talk about their plight and now they want you to say something. You need to do be optimistic and supportive; remind them of God’s promises, pray with and for them, and give them sound advice. Sometimes, a person may come to you with a trouble that seems rather trivial, don’t make little of their challenge even if it is something you have been through. Be optimistic, but don’t spread false hope. Tell them that God’s thoughts towards them is of peace to give them a future and hope, don’t promise them what you can’t fulfil.
- Take a Break: Being there for others is beautiful, but you can only be there for others when you’re not overwhelmed. Just like caregivers, it is possible to get stressed by the requests for listening ear and the doling out of advice. Don’t feel guilty when you need to ask for a time out. You’re also human, and you need to rest so you don’t become fatigued while trying to be kind to others.
- Support System: The best and most stable towers have great foundations. Likewise, you need someone or people you can draw strength from and/or consult with. For others to be able to lean on you, you need a solid foundation- a spouse, a sibling, a friend to rest on. Don’t be an island, get yourself a good support system.
As we go through the last month of this year, remember to live happy and to be there for other people as well.
Written by Deborah Olajitan