Most of us tend to drift through life, accepting the ups and downs and just ‘getting on with it.’
The idea of being happier and enjoying life is vague and daunting. Questions enter our minds…
Is there a lot of effort involved? Are there that many accessible ways of improving your life? Will it cost a lot?
Fear not – we’ve got some effective ideas to boost your happiness levels and allow you to enjoy life like never before.
Some of them may cost you a small amount of money, but most of them are about shifting your mindset and resetting your energies…
1. Be Present
Life is pretty great, most of the time! The problems arise when we think too much and start comparing ourselves and our lives to others and theirs.
It can be hard to focus on what we have in our lives when we’re bombarded with edited images of people ‘living their best lives.’
Social media can encourage feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. We live in a world of filtered photos and unrealistic expectations, which can make it very hard to live in the moment and see things for what they really are.
If you want to enjoy your life more, and in new ways, it’s worth considering how often you just let yourself relax into the moment and appreciate what’s really happening.
We’re not suggesting that you completely give up on social media, but try to change your perspective a little bit to enjoy what’s actually in front of you.
Of course, it’s unrealistic to try to do this every minute of the day – we all have unpleasant thoughts and feelings crop up from time to time!
However, if we stop thinking about how our lives should look and what we should be doing and instead focus on what our lives are like and what we are doing, we’ll be well on the way to feeling more content.
2. Let Yourself Be Happy
Once we learn to be in the moment, we can move on to being happy. Sometimes, we need to give ourselves permission to be happy.
It might sound strange, but a lot of us hold back from letting go. Accepting where we are in our lives and learning to enjoy it takes a lot of effort and energy.
We all hold back for different reasons. Some of us are scared to admit that we’re happy with the way things are because we worry that we’ll ‘jinx’ it.
We don’t want to relax into a relationship because we don’t want to let ourselves get too attached or reliant. We’re scared to say that we love our job just in case it gets snatched away from us.
This is quite natural and is a form of protection against any future pain we fear might arise.
By accepting that change is inevitable, we can find ways to make the most of what we have now and let ourselves sit back and unwind.
Once you push past the fear of clinging on to things for safety, you can enjoy them for what they are and be happy.
This will help you enjoy your life like never before and will shift the way you view other things, too…
Let’s be honest – there have been times in all of our lives when drama has been entertaining.
Sometimes it’s quite fun to have lots going on and it can be a great distraction from your real life.
And, sometimes, that distraction will become your worst enemy. Drama can be incredibly toxic and can steer our minds in a very negative direction.
It may seem relatively harmless at the time, but it’s likely to have a much deeper impact than you may initially realize. It may be unintentionally dragging someone else down, or will be shining a negative light on your own life.
Avoid this type of behavior and you’ll feel so liberated!
As soon as you let go of the mentality of complaining about other people or talking down your own actions, you’ll feel so reenergized.
You’ll get to a stage where those around you seem petty for gossiping, and that’s okay – rise above it and get on with your own life.
By shifting the focus from other people’s drama to your own reality, you can get stuck into enjoying your life like never before.
4. Make The Most Of What You Have
Enjoying life doesn’t need to mean adding new things to it. Sometimes, it simply means falling back in love with what’s already in it.
Think about things that you already own that aren’t being used to their full potential. Thinking about new hobbies will sometimes remind you of things that might be buried away and forgotten about.
It’s more common than you’d think – most of us have a camera stashed in a cupboard somewhere, and a pair of roller-skates tucked away in the garage!
Rather than buying new things each time you fancy injecting some excitement into your life, consider what you already own and find ways to maximize their use.
This will help you feel better about your life – you’ll feel resourceful, crafty and you’ll essentially be getting something ‘new’ for free. It’s a win-win situation…
5. Practice Gratitude Daily
You don’t just need to find new ways to use things you already own, you can find ways to think more positively about your current situation.
This can take whatever form best suits you – you can journal and jot down things you’re grateful for throughout the day, you can share your thoughts with a loved one and bounce ideas off each other or, of course, you can keep your thoughts to yourself.
Either way, you’ll be making a huge step toward enjoying your life in new ways. After the classic ‘shelter, food, safety, health,’ you may hit a bit of a wall.
Dig deeper and start thinking about other aspects of your life that really matter to you.
It may be that you love being a regular at your local café and it feels good that the barista always knows your order. It may be something like having the time to take your dog for a walk after work – or even just having a dog!
Whatever you choose, focus on the feeling it gives you. After the first week or two, you’ll find it super easy to think of things you’re grateful for.
Once the 30 days are up, you won’t be able to stop yourself from grinning at your takeaway coffee cup!
This is where self-assessment comes in. Write down things about your life you want to change or aren’t content with. This can be anything that comes to mind, from not being able to quit smoking to feeling bored at work.
List it all down and set yourself some goals – but be realistic and specific. Instead of ‘quit smoking,’ choose something like ‘buy patches and gum; listen to hypnotherapy tape’ and think of ways you can help yourself.
If you’re quite pressure-orientated, give yourself a deadline. Set an alarm on your phone to check the list in a month’s time and see how well you’re doing with your goals.
It may be that after a month, you’ve not bought any patches and haven’t taken any steps toward what you want to achieve. Do not despair!
Sure, you’ve not done what you set out to do, but this can work as a great motivator – do you want to check this list again in another month and have the same feelings of disappointment crop up?
If you have checked these things off your list, celebrate. Not with a cigarette, of course!
Give yourself the credit you deserve and make a note of how great you feel for doing what you said you’d do.
Being accountable to ourselves is important in terms of self-esteem, so you deserve to feel good about it.
This will also remind you how great it feels to achieve things next time you set yourself goals – it’s all about positive reinforcement…
Get out of your comfort zone and into something exciting. You can explore somewhere you already know, you don’t need to go abroad for an adventure!
Grab a camera and wander around your local town – you’ll be amazed at how many more things you see when you’re paying attention.
Something that many people experience in terms of not enjoying life is that feeling of being ‘stuck,’ of being in a stale place in their lives.
This is totally natural and happens to all of us at some point, and there are some easy ways to deal with it.
If you’ve been living in the same place for some time, it’s no surprise that you feel like there is nothing new for you. By getting out and physically exploring, your mindset will start to shift and you’ll start actively looking for new things.
It could be something as small as floral decorations cropping up in community flower beds, or a new coffee shop on the other side of town.
It’s important to note that these new things don’t have to be life-changing; they just need to remind you that change is happening all around you.
Think about the seasons and the way they affect the landscape of your home. Use the shifting seasons to shift your mentality to one of positivity and openness and you’ll be surprised by how many things you notice and how refreshed you start to feel after each excursion.
8. Try New Things
Enjoy life more by expanding what you fill it with. Try new activities – lots of places offer a free trial so you don’t need to pay or commit before you’re ready.
It’s worth looking into community classes or online courses; you’ll be amazed at what you can find. Go for something physical and enjoy an energy boost, or choose an academic course online.
YouTube is a great resource, with thousands of videos to get you motivated into trying out a new hobby, as well as advice and support when for once you’ve started.
If you’re after new tricks and hacks for your camera, get online and find some tutorials. Or follow other people’s journeys as they try Pilates or kickboxing for the first time – it’s always great to know you’re not alone in those achy muscles!
If you can afford to splash out slightly more, travelling opens up a whole world of adventure and new experiences, and will give you a new take on your own life – we’ll get onto this later on…
9. Look After Your Body
Part of ‘living your best life’ and enjoying life to the full is looking after your body.
Sure, we all know that we should be eating lots of fresh fruit and veg, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly.
It’s so easy to acknowledge these aspects of healthy living and shrug them off, but it’s important to create space for them in your life.
By shifting your mindset and physical routine, you’ll start to see things differently – you may be more capable of doing active things like family bike rides, or you may gain clarity in terms of your mentality through meditation.
Either way, treating your body like a temple isn’t such a bad idea after all! Yoga and meditation will have a huge impact on your life, even if you only practice sporadically.
Eating well and staying hydrated will help you enjoy life more because you’ll be energized and functioning much better.
This will impact your attitude toward work, relationships, and friendships, all of which have a huge knock-on effect on your happiness and enjoyment levels.
By working out or taking steps to incorporate more exercise into your life, your body will let you do so much more than you think it’s capable of.
However you choose to make a change, you’ll see a big shift in your enjoyment levels of life in a very short time!
10. Be Kind To Yourself
Take time to do what makes you feel good. It might sound simple, but it’ll open a gateway to enjoying life on a whole new level.
As we’ve already discussed, we can be so harsh on ourselves – it is true that we’re our own toughest critics. Comparing ourselves to those around us and what we see on social media can be very damaging.
All of this combined can lead to a toxic cycle of punishment – we get frustrated with ourselves for not being as ‘good/fit/successful’ as others and push ourselves into relentless activities to try to ‘better’ our situation.
This might mean staying after work for hours on end, forcing our weary bodies through gruelling workout sessions, or creating a negative mental health space by constantly blaming ourselves.
These might sound like common actions, or reactions, but they are not healthy. A lot of us wind up punishing ourselves rather than working to improve ourselves – and there is a huge difference in those two things.
Rather than beating ourselves up, we have to learn to be kind to ourselves and acknowledge that we are growing and changing constantly.
By doing this, we can spend time and energy looking after ourselves and filling our lives with positive things that we enjoy.
Ironically, the more comfortable we are in our personal lives and the more we do things we enjoy, the better we feel about ourselves – and the more likely we are to improve at work, want to be healthier, and be more committed to our passions.
Everything will fall into place as soon as you start caring about yourself and let go of the blame you’re crippling yourself with.
Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.