Remember when something you wanted to do seemed impossible? Maybe it was that first time you rode a bike, or drove a car, or asked someone out on a date. Then you did it and realized you had it in you all along. Creating a happy life is the same way — the first step is believing in yourself and your ability to live happily. Then you’ll see that you had it in you all along. This is why engaging in personal development is key to living a happy life. Self-confidence is actually a skill. When we learn how to think, feel, and act in ways that make us a person we really love, we can be more self-confident and, as a result, live happily more easily.
Now that we live in a high-tech world, we go through much of our lives on autopilot. As a result, we miss out on the best parts of being alive — positive experiences, connections with others, and even having fun. So maybe we already have a happy life . . . and we just don’t see it. When you become more mindful and self-aware, you stop feeling so numb and are able to better enjoy everything your life has to offer. To be more mindful and overcome attention fatigue, we first need to take breaks from media and technology, to give our attention a break. But of course, most of us cannot avoid technology indefinitely. We still have to live our lives. So, to maintain our happiness, we need to regularly engage in restorative experiences or go to restorative environments (which is in itself a mindfulness exercise) to develop our mindfulness skills.
It might seem hard at first to find these experiences—who has the time, energy, or money to truly get away? We might have to go to a local park (instead of our dream beach vacation) to reboot our mindful self. So take a moment now to think about what kinds of restorative experiences would work for you. Be sure to think of several experiences you could have in nature, but feel free to include other locations too. For example, you might try going to an art gallery, a car show, a pet shop, a local farm, a musical event, or any number of other events that are different, fascinating, and interesting to you.
Your entire life is made up of different behaviors and activities that you engage in. All of these behaviors affect your happiness. Some increase it; some decrease it. So, the more you prioritize engaging in activities that increase life purpose, meaning, and well-being, the happier you are likely to be. Remember, everyone is different, so try to think hard about what you personally enjoy doing with your time. If you don’t like to paint, or swim, or go for a run, then don’t put these items on your list.
You wouldn’t bake a cake without a recipe. You wouldn’t go to a place you’ve never been without a map. And you shouldn’t try to build happiness without a plan either. Creating a good happiness plan is what takes you from where you are now to the happy life you envision.
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