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How to be happy: Top five habits for a happier life

Happiness is something that we're all looking for. When you ask someone what they want out of life they generally answer: ‘I just want to be happy’. But what is that? And how to do we achieve it?

When I'm working with clients one of the exercises I always do is determining what exactly makes them happy. Or what feeds their soul? Many of us talk about being happy but very few of us really know what or who feeds our souls.

We can’t be happy all the time, as life will throw us a curveball every now and again. But we can develop habits that will increase the amount of happiness in our life. Doing this will start to tip the balance in favour of a more contented, happier life.

Having worked with hundreds of clients on achieving happiness in their lives here are my top five tips:

1. Take some time out and ask yourself the question: What and who feed my soul?  This might seem odd, but if you don’t know what makes you happy, the only way to find out is to ask yourself. Do this in a quiet place. I often do this on a winter’s night, with the fire lit, and a glass of wine and just complete peace; Or sitting beside the water as I find water very calming. When you ask the question just be still for a while. You may not get the answer straight away but what you have done is planted the seed and your subconscious will help you find the answer. In the same way, when you're trying to remember the name of a person and a few days later the name comes to you, so it is when you ask the question of yourself. You have the answers within you, and they will come to you, but you must ask the question: What and who makes me happy? Then just listen for the answer.

2. Daydream about winning the lottery. This is something I often teach clients to do to help them identify what and who exactly makes them happy. If time and money are removed from the equation and you are free to do whatever you want, with whoever you want, wherever you want you will choose those things and those people and places that make you happy. 

3. Get to know yourself talk.  We all talk to ourselves in our thoughts and this self-talk will have a bearing on our feelings.  If we're having negative thoughts, we will not feel so good and if we're daydreaming about winning the lottery, we can't help but feel good.  Your thoughts affect your feelings.  So tune in on a regular basis to get to know what you are saying to yourself.  Doing this once every hour for a few days will help you know the gist of what you are thinking.  When you know what you're thinking then you can choose to change it, and by choosing what you want to think about you can directly affect your feelings.  So choose to think about what feeds your soul.

4. What you focus on you get, when you know what you want to think about take some time every day, it doesn't take more than 15 minutes to half an hour every day but will have a great impact on your life.  Focus on what it is that makes you happy even if you don't have it yet, think about it as if you already have. Just like daydreaming about winning the lottery, you will feel good in doing this.  The great thing about our thoughts is that the majority of them come from our subconscious mind and our subconscious mind does not know the distinction between what is real and what we are imagining, so use your imagination to see what you want and to feel good about it.

5. Watch more comedy.  I recently had a lazy day where I watched 3 hours of comedy programmes followed by a thriller.  I love a good psychological thriller.  What struck me that day was, even though I was in really good form when I watched the comedy I felt brilliant but when I watched the thriller I could feel myself dipping.  So be careful about what you look at.  Reducing your time on social media and by being very selective about the programmes you watch, or even what you read, while helping keep you lifted.  It doesn’t have to be 100% comedy but by bringing more reasons to laugh into your day will greatly influence how you feel.

Happiness is something we all can have.  Just do what feeds your soul.  It is that simple.


Dympna Hannon Founder of The Distraction Process

Dympna Hannon is a specialist in chronic pain and mental health recovery. Dympna has worked with hundreds of people helping them lead full, pain free and balanced lives. She understands that all pain is personal and her whole person approach to determine the cause means the pain can be addressed and cleared. Dympna is the founder of 'The Distraction Process', developed to help people control and change their thoughts and is used extensively in mental health recovery and moving on from long term chronic pain.

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