5 Ways to Cultivate Happiness

Ditch your fears. Enjoy your life!

How would you define “happiness”? That’s pretty different and personal for each of us. A quick google search prompted these definitions:

  • feeling or showing pleasure or contentment
  • having a sense of confidence in or satisfaction with (a person, arrangement, or situation)
  • fortunate and convenient

So… are you happy with your life?

If not, do you know what’s holding you back?

I’m a big believer in cultivating awareness; the only way for us to improve in any area of our lives is to first, understand what’s holding us back and then second, develop a plan or strategy to improve the current results.

If you’re genuinely unsure of what’s holding you back, I’ve developed a 14-day Happiness Challenge to raise our awareness and then take action to improve our happiness. Here are five areas from our challenge that you may want to consider exploring.

Face Your Fears

Fear can undoubtedly get in the way of happiness. Fear of the unknown, of failure, or what people think about us are common barriers to happiness. In fact, fear can be downright crippling!

Fear of change, in particular, can cause people to stay in a soul-sucking career or stick with an unhappy relationship. The unknown is scary, but what if happiness is on the other side of your fear?

Develop Positive Self-Esteem

Self-esteem isn’t constant. It comes and goes like the ebb and flow of the tide. It’s normal to internalize negative feelings, but it’s important to catch them before they lead you down the path of feeling unworthy.

The antidote to poor self-esteem? Self-compassion.

Control Your Thoughts

Our thoughts form our emotions, not the other way around.

It’s a common misconception that we can’t control our thoughts, but this is simply untrue. Negative thoughts seem automatic because they’ve become ingrained in our thought process, and that voice in our mind can be very harsh. You probably say things to yourself that you wouldn’t say to others or even allow someone else to say to a loved one.

So why do you accept these thoughts as truth?

Ditch the Highlight Reels

Beware the Comparison Trap!

Whether we realize it or not, we’re constantly faced with situations where we may be tempted to compare ourselves to others. This can never turn out well. When scrolling through social media, for example, we’re viewing an edited reality. We’re not seeing a clear picture of someone’s life, more like the highlight reel.

If you feel the need to make a comparison, compare your today-self to your yesterday self. Is there anything you can do to improve your current self?

Practice Gratitude

Research has shown that being thankful has many positive effects such as improved health, better immune systems, feelings of connection, and higher levels of collaboration.

Incorporating gratitude into your daily routine is a great way to ensure happiness. Focusing on our shortcomings, rather than our blessings means losing sight of the fact that most things in our lives are pretty good. This is my favorite 365-day gratitude journal ($6.99).

Ready for more? Register for our free 14-day Happiness Challenge within the Strive to Improve community.

Published by Aimee Wong

When she's not in the lab, you'll find Aimee officiating high school basketball games or at Saturday night family dinners. She's passionate about learning, lattes, and lifting weights.

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