This may not seem like the usual kind of post for a personal finance site. But, being happy in life is probably the most important thing to us all, even if we aren’t fully aware of it. All aspects of your life need to align in order to find happiness; including your finances. So then, let’s look at how to be happy in life and how to have happy money. I mean, life is too short to just be slogging away at a boring job and eeking out a living.
How to be happy in life
Here are 7 tips on how to be happy with life and how to align your finances with your values and with what’s important.
1. Give your physical body the priority it deserves
We only have one body and one chance at this life. Far too many people are focused on working hard, living the fast live, living it up and in reality, giving no attention to their bodies.
We need to eat healthily, exercise, attend to medical issues and proactively prioritise our health.
Prioritize your money and your spending to give yourself the healthy lifestyle and body you need in order to thrive!
Why be heathy?
It’s incredible that so many people ignore the very obvious benefits of a healthy lifestyle and body.
Firstly, you feel good. It’s hard to describe the feeling when your body is strong and happy. You feel good about yourself, you feel confident, and you feel exuberant. This may sound a little airy-fairy to you, but can you remember when last you felt good about yourself and your body?
A healthy diet can contribute to reduced stress, improved performance (mentally & physically), and improved concentration.
By being physically fit and strong you can enjoy experiences that life offers. From sailing, hiking, playing sport, canoeing, or surfing. All these physical experiences stimulate your brain in a way that online “life” can never replace. This in turn will improve your mood.
And finally, when you’re older, the years will catch up to you. Neglect to your health may lead to many ailments and distress and although there is no knowing what the future may bring, a strong and healthy body will always be to your benefit in the ageing process.
And now, how healthy are your finances? Take the test.
2. Identify the things that make you happy
When looking at how to be happy in life, it goes without saying that you need to find what makes you happy. This is hard for many of us. We simply don’t know what makes us happy. And the constant options of whether “this” make me more happy than “that”? Or whether I always be happy with my choice? Can I chop and change?
Well, life is constantly changing and we may find that what makes us happy does in fact change over time. That’s okay. You will however find some constant, reliable experiences, things, places, and people that make you happy. Identify these and learn to gravitate towards them.
If you find that you’re really happy and content when you are hiking, well, do more of it. If you enjoy reading, make time for it. And if you enjoy being creative then find ways to express yourself.
When you experience things that make you happy, make a conscious decision to prioritise your budget towards that. So, spend time, money & effort doing things that make you happy.
Also remember that we will never be 100% happy 100% of the time. That is just not possible and goes against human nature. But, we can be mostly happy, most of the time. See what you can do.
3. Learn to say “no”
Learning to say “no” is all about finding the things that don’t make us happy and saying “no” to them. These are obvious for many although we often think that we don’t have any options.
You may hate your job and find it soul-destroying. You can’t just walk away from it, especially if you have a family who are dependent on you. But, you can say no to working over-time and being abused by your employer. You can also be looking for another job.
Definitely easier said than done, but it can be done.
Also learn to say no to other energy-draining things in your life. Identify what it is, why you have to do it, and what alternatives you have.
You may not be able to say no to all the things you don’t enjoy doing. You will probably still have to wash dishes and do some household chores. This is more about the bigger items that really crush your soul. Find alternatives and say “no” when you just can’t do it.
This goes for your budget too. When friends or family are pressuring you to spend money that you do not want to, learn to stand up for yourself and to look after your own needs too.
4. Be kind to yourself
Being kind to ourselves is something that we often struggle with. Especially if you are a goal-driven person. However, if this year has taught us anything it should be that crazy and unexpected events happen that are far beyond our control.
It’s great to have goals and to have a plan for your life and for your finances. But, circumstances change, life changes, and we change as time goes on. Being kind to oneself is all about recognising the changes that happen around us and observing the state that we’re in. Be it a physical state, emotional or financial. We are where we are and we need to understand how we ended up here. And then, what we want to do going forward. But it’s no use being upset with ourselves about circumstances.
Happiness comes from being able to be kind to yourself.
5. Be content
Contentment is a hard concept to explain sometimes. It basically just means that you accept your curent situation and circumstances, be grateful for what you have, and be happy. But, being content does not mean that you give up and simply accept things as they are. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have goals and that you want to improve.
So it’s a state of mind where you recognise that you may not have everything you want right now, but you’re happy with your current life knowing that things may change. In fact, things always change. No matter where you find yourself in life, nothing is permanent. That’s just how life is. So if you want to be happy in life, you need to find happiness in your current circumstances and not wait until some future event where you can “turn on” the happiness button.
Many people feel that they will be happy when they retire, or when their children start school, or when……
Find happiness and contentment now.
6. Seek experiences rather than “things”
Have you ever noticed how buying a new “whatever” only brings you temporary joy? It’s super exciting getting a new phone and you’re obviously very happy about it. But for how long? A week? A month? A year? Same goes for a car, clothing, jewelry, or even bigger items such as a house. It does bring us happiness, but not for long.
Experiences also don’t last forever, but the memories and connections can bring us joy for years to come. It may not always be the case, but experiences do somehow bring a deeper sense of emotional connection.
A new study, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, concludes that our experiential purchases bring us greater pleasure in terms of anticipation and remembrance than do our material purchases, and they also bring us greater in-the-moment enjoyment.
Try it for yourself.
7. Find the right friends
To me having the right friends is a vital to happiness. You want to surround yourself with happy people and with people that enjoy the same things that you do. It’s true that one should diversify your friend group to ensure that you are exposed to different ways of thinking and experiences, but you still need people that share a similar set of values to you.
I want to be around people who are fun, who make me laugh, and who accept me for who I am. I don’t want to have to pretend to be someone else or need to pretend to fit in. My friends should uplift me, support me and motivate me.
I also want to surround myself with positive people who see the best in others and who inspire hope for the future.
Being around the right people can vastly affect your emotional state.