Living a happy life is probably the most common pursuit of human kind. We are all driven by happiness. Everything we do and don’t do is determined by whether it will make us happy. But how do you reach a happy life?
In this post we walk you through an exercise that takes less than 10 minutes to complete and will get you on track to living a happy life. Before we dive into the exercise, we need to clarify a few things about happiness and living a happy life.
Have you considered a sabbatical as a means to change your life for the better?
- Check out our Ultimate Guide to Taking a Sabbatical.
Living a happy life is your choice
We’ll just get right to it. A happy life comes from within. Yes, yes, it sounds very philosophical, but it is what it is. No external factor can make you happy, it is up to you to live a happy life. And it is even simpler than you might think.
A happy life is determined by your attitude. It is a choice that you make. It is your attitude and the way you view things. According to various studies, the Danes are the happiest people in the world. The Little Book of Hygge explains how the Danes create a lifestyle that makes them happy. It is definitely worth a read!
Hence, you are able to create a happy life for yourself, regardless of your circumstances. Through our travels to various parts of the world, we have learned that some of the poorest people in the world are actually the happiest people in the world.
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You can live a happy life regardless of any external factors
During our visit to Nepal where we went trekking to the Annapurna base camp, we had the honour to be invited for dinner with our guide and his family. Our guide, his wife, and their two children live in a small 1 room hut that is 3 meters by 3 meters. Yet, our guide, his wife, and their two children had an aura of happiness and joy around them. They truly live a happy life. Something that seems unattainable with these circumstances in the world we come from.
How can this be? How can a family living in such conditions be happier than so many families that live in higher standards? They choose to be happy, they know that it is in their hands to live a happy life, and no external factor can impact that, and they are in charge of their life story.
Travelling to various destination is a great way to learn about happiness in different cultures and circumstances. However, it does require some time to truly immerse yourself and understand the various ways of living.
A sabbatical is a great way to take time to think and reflect and travel around the world.
- See our Ultimate Guide to Taking a Sabbatical to learn how you may benefit from a career break.
Embrace change and take charge of your life
We are all good storytellers, but how often do we write the stories we tell?
Everyone that makes a drastic change in his or her life has a story to tell.
After all, people don’t just throw their lives upside-down every other day according to their mood. It is usually a process and a build up of things that lead to those radical changes. There is just one problem, changes often happen to us, without much planning or schedule. The story then becomes the aftermath of a bunch of random events that link together retrospectively.
Now you must be thinking, this is just how life works. But what if it isn’t?
Through pursuing our bucket list dream of travelling the world, we had the mind space and time to reflect and understand our own story better. Prior to setting off on our trip, we were both unhappy with our lifestyles. It was a mix of things that have been present for a while. We could not pinpoint exactly what it is in order to make the needed changes. After 8 nomadic months full of reflection and evaluation it finally dawned on us.
We were not writing our stories, but had them written for us
We’ll admit it. We were not in charge of our life. Expectations of our parents, our friends, our colleagues all lead us to live a life that is not truly ours.
The astounding part is that we are not alone. People often live their lives on autopilot and can endure unhappiness for long periods of time before finally making a change.
Our survey revealed that 9 out of 10 respondents would like to take a break from their current lifestyle. Moreover, 70% of them had that feeling for longer than 6 months. But what does all of that mean?
Everyone should be able to create a lifestyle full of purpose and happiness. In spite of that, there seem to be various barriers that hold us back.
Change isn’t easy! It calls for us to get out of our comfort zone and trade what currently works well for something that we are unfamiliar with. We are required to leave our security behind, and explore uncharted territory. And besides the accompanying uncertainty, where do we even begin and what should be tackled first? Nonetheless, people still make changes to live a more fulfilling lifestyle. It all boils down to figuring out what you want to change and then planning how to do it.
Without patients, the pursuit of happiness can seem eternal
Here is something we can agree on, changes do not happen over night and usually involve a series of events before they actually occur.
Many of us dream of a different lifestyle, but instead of pursuing those desires, we often halt and hope for an external force to improve our situation. We had to be the ones that have to break these news to you, but it simply doesn’t work this way.
You need to take actions and be patient until you reach a more fulfilled state.
The key to a happy life is to start somewhere
Over the past weeks, we have been working on a framework that will help you to go through a mindful reflection on your values and dreams, and set actionable goals for the future. The framework is based on our own experience as well as proven principles and techniques.
We are testing various parts of it to ensure it will have the impact we would like it to have on people’s lives. Today, we’ll be sharing a part of the framework with you. Let us lift the veil for you.
You are about to find out how to start making a change in your life.
This is an exercise we developed and it will only take 10 minutes of your time.
10 minutes exercise to start living a happy life
Time needed: 10 minutes.
Happy Life – 10 minutes exercise for a fulfilling life
- Map out your daily routine
Grab a blank sheet of paper or open a new document on the computer, and think of all activities you typically do on a regular day. Take into account everything from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. Write these down in a chronological order from morning till evening.
- Rank activities according to your energy level
Now, next to the activities make a note of your energy level, ranking them on a scale of Low, Medium, or High. Low being activities that take energy, and high are activities that give you energy. You can even color-code them to make a more visual impression.
- Start making a positive change
Once completed, you will have a clear picture of your daily routine and how you feel about every activity involved. That’s where it gets interesting! It’s time to make positive changes. Read below more about how to make the changes.
As mentioned earlier, start with small steps. Look at the overview and pick something you would like to change today. Through eliminating something, or doing more of something, you can start your journey towards a more fulfilling lifestyle.
Will you start writing your own story?
Although change is difficult, it is important to start somewhere rather than waiting for something to happen or the right timing. Start off by figuring out what exactly it is that you want to change and then take small steps towards it.
Did you know that habits form a large part of our daily routine? Next week we’ll dig into how we can take charge of our habits. Read that post to learn how you can use habits to change your life for the better.
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