What are you waiting for?
2020 has been a year of waiting. You might be waiting for customers to return to your small business, for the election to be over, for your virus symptoms to clear, for your kids to return to in-person schooling or for a vaccine to be developed.
Happiness expert Nataly Kogan points out that even during less-challenging times, we often allow some version of the sentence, “I’ll be happy when . . .” to hold our joy hostage. Believing that some event will make us happier, we look to the future, hopeful but waiting.
In her book Happier Now, Kogan invites us to approach happiness as a skill to be developed rather than an event that will happen. Drawing on happiness research, Kogan identifies five anchors for becoming happier now, regardless of your life circumstances. By developing these happiness habits and practicing them daily, you can claim more control over your happiness and well-being, even—and especially—during challenging times.
Kogan’s happiness habits are:
- Acceptance: allowing your difficult feelings to be experienced with kindness
- Self-Care: prioritizing rest, exercise, creativity and connection
- Gratitude: practicing appreciation for the positive experiences and people in your life
- Kindness: seeking out simple ways to brighten someone else’s life
- Purpose: focusing on your “bigger why” and pursuing meaningful engagement
The best thing about these happiness practices is that they can easily be woven into our daily lives and don’t have to take much time. For example, you might do 2 minutes of slow breathing (self-care) while focusing on releasing your expectations about something that didn’t go according to plan (acceptance). Or you could send a quick text to someone you appreciate (gratitude). When you check out at the grocery store, you could sincerely ask the clerk how the day is going so far (kindness). Also look for small ways to express your bigger why (purpose). Even spending 10 minutes reading an article about something meaningful to you will deepen your engagement.
By practicing these simple happiness habits daily, you can stop waiting and feel more joyful now.
Photo credit: Etty Fidele