5 little ways I try to live a happy life

Life can get so overwhelming sometimes can’t it? Stress, pressure, expectation – we all have things going on that can leave us feeling burnt out and miserable. IF WE LET IT.

Call me a hippy, but I believe in the power of positivity and using it to balance out our difficulties.

There are many ways you can do it and every person is different – what’s uplifting for you may not be the same for me. Still, how great would it be to get to your old age and look back knowing that you did everything you could to make your part of the world a positive place to be? Or that you were the type of person who made people feel good and enjoy life when they were around you?

Here are some of the things I do or have decided to do more of, to try and achieve just that.

Be a champion of others

It’s nice to be nice, so if I notice that someone has a nice outfit on or is having a good hair day or that they are simply doing well, as awkward as I may feel saying it, I make it my mission to tell them. It’s only a small gesture but a genuine compliment can go a long way. I emphasise the word genuine because I think you should really mean what you say, always.

That applies both in real life and online. Obviously normal people don’t go around trolling each other, but how many people leave nice comments or even hit like when they do actually like something? Do you scroll past, keeping all those kind thoughts to yourself?

You wouldn’t think it now by the amount of time I spend on Instagram, but I used to find it quite difficult to be online. Go back three or four years and social media was a real anxiety trigger for me. It made me feel small and insignificant, as if the whole world was comparing me to all the beautiful/happy people out there. I used to avoid it by deleting the apps for weeks at a time.

Thankfully, I worked through it and don’t feel that way anymore – quite the opposite in fact. I love seeing other people living their life to the max, looking good or just being happy – it inspires me.

Because of that I try to bring the idea of being a champion of others into my social media. Supporting other people online makes me feel like I’m part of a community instead of a competition.

Invest in myself without guilt

Maybe it’s an Irish thing, but for some reason guilt is an all too familiar feeling. For me, I feel guilty over spending money on something that I only want and don’t actually need.

The ritual of throwing everything you own away is the latest movement to make me feel a bit of the ‘G’ word. I have no doubt that living a minimalist lifestyle works wonders for many, but what about the rest of us? The ones who like things?

Should I feel bad because it’s not fashionable to have a house full of stuff? (Thank you Marie Kondo! Lol).

Of course not!

I think that if you work hard, pay your bills, save a few bob every month (for that rainy day!) and can still make room to treat yourself, then why not? Life is too short to sit around feeling guilty about the fact you are being nice to yourself.

Be mindful of what I’m reading and watching

Along with half the country, I watched The Ted Bundy Tapes on Netflix recently. Even typing his name now makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I was, and still am, totally freaked out from watching it.

I’ve lost many hours of sleep to horror movies, gory documentaries and podcasts over the years. I found all of them interesting and even strangely entertaining (I can admit that because most people I know are the same!). However, not everything that entertains you is good for you.

I’ve never finished a movie, season or episode like that and felt happy after it and I’ve been questioning why I would continue to do that to myself since the Ted tapes. So, I’ve decided to cut stuff like that out for the next while, no more negative tv or podcasts.

Everything around you has an effect on your wellbeing – good and bad. It’s important to be mindful of what you let in, you are what you consume after all.

Hygge life

If the above is the stuff I want to cut out, then hygge is everything I want to add in! I’m almost finished the fantastic book The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking and I am now fully convinced that I must be part Danish. (I’ll be pretty damn devastated if I find out that’s not the case some day! LOL) I could happily live their way for the rest of my life.

According to Google, hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is defined as “a quality of cosines and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”.

In English, that basically means if you practice hygge you are making your life as snug as possible.

Being cozy seems to be a universal feeling and often involves warmly lit rooms, blankets, candles, hot drinks, family time and the likes. It can be movie marathons in your pjs, sitting under a blanket by the fire while it rains outside or cooking a hearty meal with a loved one, once you feel a sense of comfort doing it, it’s hygge.   

Reading that book affirmed that I already live a very hygge life, so I am really just aiming to do more of it from now on.

Fluffy socks at the ready!

Digital downtime

I spend a lot of time online. The word ‘digital’ is quite literally in my job title, which means between work and this blog I’m a permanent resident in the digital realm. While it brings a lot of fun into my life, I think that taking a step back every so often is vital for avoiding a burn out.

That’s partly why I haven’t fully committed to my Fitbit. Don’t get me wrong now, I am still obsessed with it. I love tracking my exercise, water, food (although not too closely or I would drive myself mad) and my steps. Yet, there are still two times when I don’t want to be connected to it – while I sleep and while I yoga.

Naturally when I first got it I was mad into seeing how many hours of sleep I was getting – no matter how uncomfortable it felt to sleep with it on! However now after a couple of months, I admit that it was more of a hindrance than anything else at night. It wasn’t helping me to sleep so what was the point?

During yoga I love that I can completely switch off from the world and tune in to my body. I’m very new to the yoga scene but already it’s given me so much, I’ll save that for another day. The main thing is, I don’t need to track anything during that time and I certainly don’t need to get any notifications, so the watch comes off for every class. Nothing is so important that it won’t be there when the hour is up.

Being a busy person can definitely leave you feeling out of sorts when you take a minute to slow down. It’s perfectly fine to be busy, so long as you accept that it’s equally as important to give yourself a chance to rest every now and then.

While I’m not going to set an actual challenge around this, I do commit to making a conscious effort to listen to my mind and body. If I need to unplug for an hour (or a day!) any time, then I will.

Everything else

There are lots of other things I try to do to build and live a happy life. Making time for writing is one, taking care of my body and reducing the amount of toxins around me is another – I figure, if it’s doing me harm then it needs to go. That applies for food, products and vibes. I also try to read whenever I can, I travel regularly, I make sure checking my phone isn’t the first thing I do in the morning and I try to spend quality time with my loved ones as much as possible.

Again, things that work for me may not work for you – take some time to stop and think about what you do or could be doing to make life a little easier on yourself. You’re only going to get to do all of this once, you’ve been gifted with one life – don’t you deserve it to be amazing?

Written with love,

Rachael

Follow my journey or reach out on Instagram if you’d like a chat – @lovelytomeetme

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