True contentment comes from learning to accept yourself, just as you are.
1. Escape from ‘must’ and ‘should’
Challenge any thought of ‘I have to’ or ‘I ought’, because this attitude creates resentment and makes life a chore. If you reframe your options and think of them as choices, you are in a stronger position to direct your life. Think through the consequences of what will happen if you don’t follow the ‘shoulds’ and find an alternative you prefer.
2. See mistakes as a journey
No human being is perfect, and thoughts of perfection make us miserable. Focus on what you have learned from your mistake, and carry this wisdom into your future. FAIL = First Action In Learning, or in other words, there is no failure, only feedback that you can learn from.
3. Be more authentic
Let go of self-consciousness and have the bravery to say what you really think and feel. You are likely to feel better and those around you will feel more secure because they know more of your true self. Trust your own instincts – they will be right for you.
4. Minimise worry
Avoid over-analysing by going over and over the same thoughts (often negative ones). This takes up valuable headspace which could be used for more positive things. Worrying is usually about the future – the thing you’re afraid of may never happen. Instead, stay focused on the present and the things you can work on or change, within your own sphere of influence. Stop being anxious about things outside your control.
5. Be thoughtful about your relationship
Rather than pick fights or get resentful about the little things, have the courage to ask your partner what’s going on fundamentally in your relationship. What is your vision of the future together, what might be on your mind that’s not being said? Make sure you really listen to what they say, even if it’s hard to hear – which helps avoid miscommunication.
6. Gaining by getting older
If you see the opportunity for life-long learning, your self-esteem can stay high even as you get older. Be mindful of the experience and wisdom that you’ve acquired along the way, as well as seeking opportunities to learn something new or put something back into the community as your life goes on.
7. Accept changes
Happy people tend to be more resilient and able to accept change, even if that change is unwelcome. Unexpected change, like redundancy or chronic illness, can be hard to deal with and bring a big loss compared to what you enjoyed before. But if you can accept the transition and the implications it brings, you are better placed to look for the opportunity or new solution to any changes, even if it takes a while.
8. Know you’re good-enough
One of the greatest causes of misery is feeling inadequate or not good-enough. Really take a look at your standards and expectations of yourself, which often come from significant influences from your childhood. If you can hold the belief that you are a worthy person who deserves respect, then you can accept your own version of good-enough and be kinder to yourself. Have goals by all means – but make them reasonable and enjoyable to achieve.
9. Live in the moment
One route to happiness is to value what you have right now, by appreciating the people and pleasures in your life. If you constantly rush from one thing to another or always focus on future goals, you are missing what you can enjoy right now. If you really find little satisfaction day by day, then maybe it’s time to make some changes.
10. Laugh a little (or a lot)
The ability to laugh at yourself kindly, to know your foibles and find the humour in situations – this trait is common for many happy people. Be optimistic and choose to see the funny side, a great demonstration of how to be more accepting of yourself and those around you.