Would you say that you are a typically happy person? If you answered yes to that question, you are in a narrow minority of the American population. In fact, only 33% of Americans say that they are satisfied and happy; a statistic that declines a little more every year.
Why are two-thirds of Americans — who live in the land of prosperity, and don’t face a fraction of the destitute circumstances that much of the world face — so unhappy? True, we live in a relatively safe society. Most of us have a roof over our heads, and a stomach full of food. We don’t have to struggle like those in third world countries. However, the life of the average American gets a little tougher every year. The average household debt rises, while income levels remain stagnant. It’s more difficult than ever to find love in our society, which is more connected to communication than ever, but void of personal contact. The little things that make a human feel fulfilled are slowly disappearing: we don’t eat family dinner any more. Kids don’t play outdoors anymore. We don’t smile at strangers anymore.
While the circumstances that rob us of joy plague us all, the fate of being doomed to feel dissatisfied with life is a choice that you don’t have to make. No matter what hand you are dealt, you have the opportunity to bloom where you are planted. If you struggle to find happiness with your life, consider implementing the following tips:
Three Tips for Leading a Happier and More Satisfying Life
- Participate in guided meditation.
Guided meditation is a process of following a mental journey that a spiritual coach or gratitude teacher leads you in. Left to your own devices, it might be very difficult to muster the mental strength to clear your mind of the cloudiness of stress and improve your outlook. Guided meditation is a great way to overcome the inner anxiety that prevents you from enjoying life. Critics of guided meditation question its validity, however scientific studies back it up:
- Reduced anxiety. Out of 36 independent studies on the effects of meditation on patients suffering from anxiety, 25 of them reported improved symptoms.
- Better sleep. Studies show that patients with chronic insomnia find significant improvement with guided meditation.
- Addiction therapy. Reports from 13 different studies confirm that guided meditation supports patients ridding themselves of unhealthy addictions such as smoking.
- Healthy hearts. We aren’t just talking about love. People who practice guided meditation are 87% less likely to be hospitalized for heart issues. They are also 55% less likely to develop cancer.
Guided meditation is easy and very powerful for the body, mind, and soul.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
One very simple tactic that we suggest in our happiness coaching courses is keeping a gratitude journal. Rather than focusing on stress and anxiety, a gratitude journal leaves the mind focused on the factors that bring you joy.
When you start a gratitude journal, we recommend simply thinking of five things each day that you feel thankful for. Maybe it was a nice text that a friend sent. Maybe you learned something new. Maybe something made you laugh. Anything that brought you joy that day. Studies show that people who keep a gratitude journal for two months report improved satisfaction with life and optimism. In fact, a report that was published in Applied Psychology suggested that when you spend 15 minutes recording what you are grateful for each night, you are more likely to sleep better.
- Do something kind.
When you feel really down and out, sometimes doing something kind for someone else is what it takes to get out of your rut. When you “pay it forward,” you not only improve the life of the person you help out, it also gives you those warm fuzzies that improve your outlook.
Being kind doesn’t have to be hard. Pay someone a compliment. Make cookies for a friend. Tell a cop or soldier that you appreciate what they do. Just find a way to make someone else’s day happier, and you’ll find your own day better!
Do you have any other suggestions for achieving a happier life? Please share with us in the comment section!