I have a very long list of thoughts and ideas about happiness. This blog post is an attempt to categorise some of these. Some points have some kind of basis in some studies but mostly these are just things that made sense to my own brain. It's basically a post where I try to remind myself of a few of these ideas as succinctly as possible.
This one feeds into all the others. I think that happiness and emotional well-being takes continual hard work. Even when you are happy, something may happen in your life that changes the world as your know it.
Something that seems to me to help is having a purpose and a reason and feeling that you are doing useful work. I find it also helps to feel like you have a story, like there's some narrative pulling you forwards, so I try to keep a diary. I think when you find something feels purposeful you can be in that moment.
I think that the crux of dissatisfaction due to social media is the comparison of the very best parts of millions of people's lives to all the parts of your life. I also try to return to the thought of happy bronze medal winners and sad silver medal winners as a reminder of how perspective may distort your satisfaction.
For me, it is important to prioritise relationships with my family first and then with my friends. I think its very powerful to find your community, whatever that means for you. I also think facilitating positive interactions with people you meet who you may never see again is an important part of this.
There are also a bunch of values I have that I feel help me regain a sense of who I am in darker times. I love the 'school of life' concept of valuing the ordinary over romanticism. And the one about 'good enough' over perfectionism. I value experiences that are meaningful over things that are material. I try to live frugally but invest in things I value.
For me sleep is a lifestyle factor that seem to be the highest-yield. A good night's sleep can make a world of difference. Also, some gentle exercise, being in nature to transcend yourself and minimising screen time where possible.
I find the 'begin with the end in mind' concept helps me to prioritise. The (slightly morbid) idea is that if you were lying on your death bed looking back what would you have wanted for you life? What would you have wanted for today?