Times get tough.
No matter who you are, things happen in life that land you on the metaphorical teacup ride at Disneyland after eating an entire funnel cake and grape slurpy.
You want to get off the ride and out of the agonizing pain, but you can’t seem to escape. The cup is spinning and the seat belt is on too tight.
We’ve all been there, even some of the most successful artist has lived through tougher times than most. Jim Carrey lived out of his family’s car as a kid, Shania Twain started working at the age of 8 to support her mother and J. K Rowling couldn’t even afford a computer to write Harry Potter on. But they found a way through it, and so can you.
It is all a matter of choice, making the decision to create joy and create positive habits that bring happiness back into your life. In the moment, this choice may sound impossible, but there are simple things you can start doing right now to bring more happiness into your life.
1. Outsource what you hate.
Time is the most valuable commodity you possess, how you spend it matters.
Here’s the deal, we all have a unique set of powerful strengths, those things that you love to do and are so naturally gifted at you barely even realize are strengths. And then, there are things you don’t like to do, whether they are a weakness or a talent, you simply don’t want to do them.
That task feels like a time suck and generates bitterness that seeps out and into your day. Reviewing those reports you hate or running that errand you’d rather not do, creates a lingering feeling of anxiety, bitting into what could otherwise be a great moment.
Solve this by outsourcing the things you hate most. A recent cross-cultural study discovered that people who spend money to save time are actually happier than those who don’t. This could be anything from outsourcing your business content needs to a business similar to mine or hiring a house cleaner.
Don’t have the funds, there are still options. Offer to trade work services with someone or ask your partner to do the dishes one day a week while you walk the dogs. Take control of your happiness and move the things you hate to a service that is willing to do it. Because one person’s most hated task is another person’s passion.
2. Do something every day for your health, your heart, and your mind.
Take stock of how you are taking care of yourself. If you aren’t at your best, you can bet your work, relationships, and overall life won’t be either.
For a few weeks, do a self-care audit at the end of the day. List out all of the things that happened that lifted you up. The easiest way to do this is to break the day down into three categories: health, heart, and mind. This could look like hitting a spin class in the morning, having a dinner date with someone you love and learning a new skill at work.
You may begin to notice patterns in what you do each day and observe which area of your life is craving time and attention. If all you have listed is work accomplishments that are making you smarter, chances are, your health and heart are suffering.
This exercise isn’t meant to show you what you are doing wrong and lead you down a road of negative self-talk, in fact, it is quite the opposite. This is a tool that will show you the best way to create more happiness for tomorrow.
3. Practice gratitude the right way.
Every morning and every night I write down three things I’m grateful for. On top of that, whenever something troubling happens, I pause and find something that I feel grateful for in that very moment.
Get this, a study by UCLA and the University of Miami found that people took the time to write down their gratitude were more cheerful and optimistic than those who didn’t. Not to mention, the study also found these cheerful grateful participants had fewer doctor’s visits and absent days from work.
The key here is to focus on writing gratitude notes that are rooted in emotion, not necessarily a tangible thing. Sure, you can be grateful for these things, but when you look at what they bring to your life from an emotional perspective, gratitude becomes far stronger.
Most people write out gratitude like this:
I’m grateful for…
- My brand new car.
- My shiny engagement ring.
- The goofy coffee mug my coworker got me that has Leonardo DiCaprio’s face on it.
Instead, it could look like this:
I’m grateful for…
- Feeling safe in my car while I drive to work each day
- Always having a reminder of the love I share with my partner.
- Being able to laugh at work with someone who knows me so well.
I hope you are feeling better!
A little bit of effort can go a long way in creating lasting happiness. Don’t aim for fleeting moments of peace, instead, create a life of joy that moves from one fulfilling moment to the next.
In tough times, always remember, this too shall pass…it may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
This article first appeared on Medium.