Everything and absolutely everything we do in life is intended at achieving or maintaining even a slim bit of happiness-the elusive state where we can feel gratification, fulfillment, or even bliss.
Still, most of the time, we find it difficult to really point our fingers and call some things happiness. Life circumstances have little to do with it because; much of it is under our control that is, the products of our habits and our outlook on life.
Some habits, however, can and will lead to discontentment more than others do. Most of these pitfalls are quite easily avoided once you are aware of them. However, it is more important to focus on habits that help you become happier, other than the opposite. Below are a few of them.
Taking control of your emotions: One of the greatest misconceptions about the emotional intelligence of an individual is that it is about keeping your emotions under lock and key most of the time. Now, while it is true that there are feelings that people who have their emotions under control do not allow to erupt, that does not mean those feelings are not expressed. Emotional intelligence means honoring your feelings and allowing yourself experience the catharsis (big word) that comes from embracing them the way they are. It is only after understanding your emotions that you can express them in a manner that is not harmful to yourself and the achievement of your goals and others too.
Building a healthy social life: Everyone deserves to have a social life heck; even Jeff Bezos (the richest man in the world) has something of social life. The real question now is, how much time you spend plugged into whatever it is you define as social life (books, video games, binging TV shows, your phone, or your computer) and whether or not it makes you feel good or simply numbs you.
When your escape becomes a constant source of distraction, it’s a sure banker sign you have fallen into the trap of too much of a good thing. But the idea of being minimal shouldn’t deprive you of your happiness. Don’t take life too seriously; “wahala no dey finish”. Try and celebrate every eureka moment.
Balancing your quest for money. Now, every well-meaning book in the world has proven that it is not the acquisition of material wealth that brings happiness. When you make a living out of chasing materials, you are very likely on that dead-end to unhappiness because, beyond the initial ecstasy you feel when you get them; in the long run, you’ll realize you sacrificed the more important things in life (the things that actually bring joy) to chase after material things. By this, I do not undermine the importance of accruing wealth (please, by all means, go out and get it) but, there is a need for balance.
Avoid the comparison game. Jealousy, envy, and happiness are as incompatible as oil and water. If you are constantly comparing yourself with others, for your sake and mine, STOP. Here’s a good question you can ask yourself, what do you achieve when you compare yourself with others? Imagine a bird challenging a fish to a swimming challenge-it will forever think it is a failure! Now, this doesn’t negate the concept of healthy competition! But there’s often a thin line between wanting to become better and hating someone else when you embark on such activities. The ultimate goal should be “MAKING YOURSELF BETTER”. Instead of comparing yourself to another person.
Embrace change. For a long time in my life, I fought to change. The real reason behind this is because; I was scared of it (I am over it now). But, in my short life, I have seen that people fight change because they are struggling to remain in control (this does not necessarily mean they are control freaks). The problem however is, fighting change actually limits your control over the situation by putting a blockade between the actions you need to take to improve yourself and yourself. The idea here is to prepare for change. I do not mean this to be a guessing game in which you test accuracy in anticipation of what comes next. Rather, it means thinking through the consequences of potential changes so you are never caught off guard. There’s always an aura of freshness that every positive change brings. Trying to hold on to the ancient may deprive the joy that comes with the new.
Not improving. Because unhappy people can have a somewhat smeared outlook on life and sometimes feel a lack of control over their lives, they tend to sit back and wait for life to happen. Instead of setting goals, learning, and improving themselves, they just keep plodding along like sheep to the slaughter, wondering why things never change. A famous quote says, ‘you cannot do the same thing, the same way and expect different results’. Do not let this be you.
Conclusively, changing your habits in the name of greater positive reward is one of the best things you can do for yourself coming from someone who has been on a journey of personal change for years. But, it is also important for another reason-taking control of your life and happiness (if you ask me, they are two sides of one coin). Taking control of your life, making yourself happier, more successful (this too is important) will not bring you the joy we both want but others too. Take that bold step today!