Is it possible to take specific action steps to become happier? In a previous blog, I wrote about becoming happier through being more assertive and this got me thinking about what we mean by happiness. Do we find ourselves pouring effort into improving our circumstances, only to find that we’re not that much happier after all? Here in the UK, since 2012 the government has measured 4 indicators of well-being and one of them is happiness. So, how does an entire country, or even one individual, raise their happiness levels?

Happiness is sometimes something I discuss in my coaching sessions with my clients. Some find this topic difficult to talk about and even self-indulgent! Many of us devote considerable time and effort mastering a sport, working on our professional skills or personal development. But when we try to exert control over our emotional lives, we’re frequently confused.

We know that with sports, there’s a correlation between practice and mastery. As it turns out, the same applies to attaining greater happiness. You need to be prepared to put some work in and to practice.

To become happier, you must apply effort and commitment every day of your life. It’s hard work, but it’s the most rewarding assignment you’ll ever undertake.

A recent blog I wrote was on the topic of saying no, or at least, saying yes less! If you are a people pleaser and know that you spend too much time giving into requests that really you should say no to then this might be a good place to start.

As a licensed Emotional Intelligence (EQi) coach, the tool I use measures many dimensions of emotional intelligence. The resulting report gives an indication of overall happiness and well-being. The 4 components of which are optimism, self-regard, self-actualisation and interpersonal relationships, working on each of these areas to make sure that they are positive and balanced results you an individual feeling good about their life.

Why Work to Be Happy?

Researchers who study happiness have found compelling reasons to achieve it. Happier people are:

  • More sociable with better relationships
  • More energetic and take better care of themselves.
  • More charitable and cooperative
  • Better liked by others
  • More flexible and innovative
  • More productive at work
  • Better leaders
  • Better negotiators
  • More resilient when faced with hardship and setbacks
  • Earn more money
  • Physically healthier with a stronger immune system
  • Likely to live longer!

Happiness bolsters self-confidence and self-esteem. We come to believe in ourselves as worthy human beings, deserving of respect — a mind-set that facilitates positive behaviours and outcomes.

As we become happier, we benefit not only ourselves but also our partners, families, communities and society at large so surely it is a good thing to aspire too.

I love this quote from Eckhart Tolle

“Much suffering, much unhappiness arises when you take each thought that comes into your head for the truth.”

If you are feeling that you could be happier, then I would advise you to start by looking within, this is where our potential to be happy sits. Sometimes, it can come down to just taking notice of what we are thinking and then reframing it with something more positive.

It seems to me that the pursuit of happiness is worthwhile, as long as we don’t get too caught up in our own heads! What do you think?