So here’s a toolkit I think is useful to collect for those times when you need to dip into your toolbox and help yourself feel positive and happy:
1. Make a playlist of happy music
We all have that song that lifts us up and brings a smile to our faces. Create a list with as many tracks as you can think of, and have it easily accessible. (Mine include It’s A Beautiful Day by Queen; Dancing Queen by Abba; Boogie Wonderland by Earth Wind & Fire…I could go on, but my taste isn’t necessarily yours!)
2. List the compliments you receive
Every time you receive a compliment (which will be more often than you think), jot it in a notebook. Okay it may feel a bit silly, which it shouldn’t, but remember nobody else has to see it. When you’re feeling a bit down or unconfident, take a look and it will instantly give you a lift.
3. Find the silver lining
Actively focus on what you have, rather than on what you don’t have. It’s really useful to keep a list of all the things you are grateful for and focus your thoughts on them. Walking the dog in the rain? Be grateful you have good waterproofs and can walk. Washing machine broke? Be grateful you have one in the first place, and the money to get it repaired. Stay focused on the silver lining and you will feel much happier.
4. Celebrate (sm)all achievements
Yes it’s very important to have goals you want to achieve but remember to celebrate your achievements along the way. You may not have climbed Everest yet but celebrate that you climbed Snowdon. You may not have become a millionaire yet but celebrate that you’ve won your second best client.
It may be a cliché that when you smile, the whole world smiles with you, but like many of them it’s true! And it’s physically good for you. So even when you don’t feel like it, try smiling or watch a funny YouTube clip. The muscles you use to smile help release endorphins, which make you feel better!
6. Stop that negative self-talk
We can’t influence what others say about or to us, but we can influence what we say to ourselves so make sure it’s positive. Notice when you’re putting yourself down and cut out the ‘I’m rubbish at this’ phrase, rather say ‘I can’t do it yet but I will.’
7. Be kind
Make your colleague a cup of tea without being asked; offer someone help with a difficult project; give people the benefit of the doubt. It will make you feel better. And remember to be kind to yourself as much as you are to others.
For me, happiness is about all these things – enjoying the small things in life like playing with our kittens, going for a walk, being pleased with what I’ve done. You only have one life; celebrate and enjoy it.