We all have a desire to be happy. It is a part of the human condition to seek joy and good feelings. Yet many of us unintentionally undermine our happiness every day.
Being a Life and Executive Coach, I see common patterns in people’s daily behavior that are keeping them from lasting happiness. Too often our desire to feel good in the moment overrides our deeper wisdom on what it takes to be truly happy.
We all have the ability to modify our behavior and make choices that will be better for our long-term happiness, once we are aware of how we are sabotaging ourselves. Here are 5 common habits that I see people partaking in that are ultimately hindering their ability to be truly happy.
1. Staying up late to watch one last episode
It is easy to get sucked into another episode of your favorite show or to find yourself mindlessly watching TV one program after another as you get into the later hours of the night. Yet this time could be better spent getting the much-needed sleep that too many of us have forgotten that we so desperately need. Research findings now clearly support the fact that by far the majority of people require 8 hours of sleep each night in order to function adequately. Set yourself a regular bedtime and begin seeing sleep as an absolute priority.
2. Mindlessly scrolling through Social Media
Social media is the greatest time-sucker of the modern generation. You may jump on to have a glance and before you know it you’ve spent half an hour thoughtlessly scrolling through people’s pictures and updates. It is incredibly easy to get into a habit of using social media as a distraction for your mind, but it is a mindless not mindful activity. What is better for your happiness is to take mindful breaks. Instead of using social media to fill in your downtime, you could be more aware and take a five-minute walk with no distractions or pick up an old-fashioned book and read the material you are genuinely interested in.
3. Winding down with a glass of wine most nights
Modern life is chaotic, busy and stressful and far too many of us live on the borderline of burning out. We are naturally designed to look for methods to alleviate undesirable feelings, but when we do this unconsciously we often rely on short-term solutions that are in fact detrimental to our long-term well-being. One of the most common unhealthy short-term coping methods is drinking alcohol to help us relax and unwind. Although it may make you feel better in the immediate moment, alcohol impacts on the quality of our sleep and stop us from getting into the most restorative sleep phases. Alcohol is also a mood depressant and after the short-term high, we inevitably are left feeling lower than we otherwise would have the next day. Be conscious of your behavior and look for healthier ways to manage your stress such as partaking in self-care, exercise or meditation.
4. Putting off catching up with good friends
In the midst of our busyness, we are prone to feeling like making time for our friends is a luxury, not a necessity. It becomes something that is easily postponed or we simply don’t organize. But friendships and genuine human connection matter. Research now clearly supports the power of strong social connections in keeping us healthy and happy. The caveat here is that we need ‘genuine’ human connection. A friendship that you partake in out of obligation, or that you find draining or hard work, is not going to boost your happiness. Don’t feel guilty making time for you good friends. It is an investment in your well-being bank account.
5. Living completely in our day-to-day routine
Modern day self-help literature frequently reminds us that our lives are only happening in the ‘now’. This is absolutely true, but there is also a danger in getting stuck in the day-to-day living of our lives and forgetting to ever dream or plan ahead. We feel most alive when we step outside of our comfort zones and do new things. To make sure you don’t get stuck in a rut, and live the same life day-in-day-out like groundhog day for years, you have to give yourself some time to dream and set goals. Don’t forget to reflect on the life you are living to ensure you are heading in the direction you want to. Frequently make time for the stuff that makes your heart sing and you’ll feel happier in the longer-term.
Enjoyed this? Want more tips on how to be happy? Click here to sign up and receive a free mini guide with 8 Tips on How to Thrive in Life.
Hi. I’m Kate Snowise. I’m a Life Coach who helps people get clear on what they want, need and crave, and then helps them take the steps to move towards that. I believe life is about more than surviving and being good enough. Each of us truly has the ability to thrive and live a beautiful, aligned life where we remember and connect with our authentic selves. I have an MSc in Psychology (the positive kind that concentrates on what is right with you). To read more about my signature coaching program The Thriving Life Project click here.