How do you define happiness? Is it a beach cabin in Hawaii? Is it having freedom to do what you want to do? Is it having a good relationship with a special someone?
Happiness is indeed an individual definition. For our purposes, let's agree that it would mean a life that's working and comfortable in several different areas: Time, Environment, Work, Thoughts, and Relationships.
Every day, you are given a day to use any way you choose. You choose how you make your living, who you spend time with, what you think about, read, or listen to. You choose where you shop, what internet sites you visit, and what you learn.
You choose what TV shows you watch, how your furniture is placed, what color your walls are. You choose how much how much you smile, what you wear, and what you eat. Are your choices contributing to your best possible life?
1. TIME: How do you spend your time? Is it wasted time, or refreshing time? Does it take your toward your goals, or away from them? Are you consciously spending time, or just letting it happen? Does the way you spend your time reflect what you say is important to you? What you do today is important because you're exchanging a day of your life for it. Write down how you spend your days, your week. Include sleep time, grooming time, wasted time, relaxing time, work time, etc. Be as specific as you can. You'll quickly see if you're spending your time where you WANT to spend it or not, or if time is passing you by.
2. ENVIRONMENT: What is no longer working for you in your space? Are there broken appliances or outdated equipment? Are there unfinished projects that were important at one time, but no longer intrigue you? When you look around, does your environment make you feel good? Make you smile? Research shows that your environment has a big impact on the way you feel. Color and lighting can improve your mood. Changing the direction your desk faces can give you a different perspective. Make some small but dramatic changes. Add color to your walls with some paintings. Try a fresh coat of paint. Use things that make you smile.
3. WORK: Do you feel fulfilled and happy about your work, whether that's a domestic engineer or a CEO? Or do you dread doing the work, and just count the minutes until time off? We've all been overly influenced by shoulds, oughtas and have-to's. So much so that what you want truly want in life, what would truly make you happy, may be suppressed WAY down deep. Remember things that you enjoyed as a child or young adult, and ask yourself why you don't do them anymore. Ask yourself if you had 1 minute with all the world's attention, what message would like to give them. These clues help you know what your purpose is in life, and what would make you feel most proud, happy, and fulfilled.
4. THOUGHTS/SELF TALK: Do you talk to yourself like your best friend, acknowledging the wrongs, but supporting change? Or do you talk to yourself like the neighbor your despise? Do your thoughts inspire and motivate you, or hold you back from your best self? As scary as this thought (pardon the pun) may be, you are living right now what you thin. Everything begins with your thoughts. You have direct control over how you act and what you think (feelings and physiology are indirectly affected). Feeling better begins with controlling your thoughts.
5. RELATIONSHIPS: Do the people in your life support you and your goals? Are you proud to introduce them to others? Do you learn from them? As you've probably noticed, you don't live in a vacuum - whatever you do affects other people, and what they do affects you. While you absolutely cannot change other people, you CAN set up your life so that the people closest to you provide support and encouragement. Build reciprocal, healthy relationships, such as working with other people who want the same changes that you do, or who you can support in their own activities. Seek them out. They're looking for you too.