For most people, happiness is something they see in the future and set their sights on. They tell themselves, “I’ll be happy when I get a better job” or “I’ll be happy when I find a partner,” believing that happiness exists outside of themselves.
The truth is, the only place you can find true happiness is within yourself. It does not lie in a promotion, more money, a new house, a new partner, and certainly not in a new pair of shoes. Yes, these things can make you feel happy, but this type of happiness is fleeting.
As you cannot find real happiness outside of yourself, there is no reason why you cannot experience it right now. You have the power to make yourself feel joyful if you learn how to be happy with yourself.
8 Simple Ways to Feel Content With Yourself
1. Slow Down
With the fast-paced lifestyle of society today, it’s no surprise that so many people are feeling unhappy. We all know multiple people who are constantly doing something and can never sit down and relax. One reason people keep themselves so busy is to avoid the unhappiness they are feeling inside. However, this is the worst thing you can do.
If you want to learn how to be happy with yourself, you need to slow down and listen to the messages your body and soul are sending you. Yes, this will feel extremely uncomfortable at first, but without giving yourself this space, you won’t uncover the root of your unhappiness.
2. Meditate Regularly
Meditation is the best way to bring more stillness into your busy life. Set aside 10 minutes every day when you will not be distracted, turn your phone off, then sit on a comfy cushion and close your eyes.
If you’ve never meditated before, you will likely meet a lot of resistance. Your mind will tell you that it is not beneficial and that you are wasting time. It’s normal to experience these thoughts but don’t let them deter you. Instead, focus on your breathing, and every time you notice your mind wandering, catch yourself and come back to the breath. Over time, it will become easier, and you’ll even start enjoying spending this time with yourself.
Meditation will bring up things that feel uncomfortable, but this is all part of the process. Meditation doesn’t just help you destress and release anxiety, but you’ll explore deeper levels of yourself you’ve never accessed before.
3. Practice Gratitude
Most unhappy people focus solely on what they don’t have, believing that if only they had these things, they would feel happy. However, happy people focus on what they already have, even if that’s not much. Happy people don’t have everything they desire, but they don’t let their ‘lack of’ keep them down. Instead, they see the blessings they do have, and they focus their attention on these things.
One of the best things you can do to feel happy with yourself is to start a gratitude journal. Every day, write down 3 (or more) things that you feel grateful to have. These can be people in your life, recent experiences, pleasant interactions, or something as simple as having a roof over your head. Even on your worst days, you still have things to feel thankful for; you just have to direct your mind to them.
Doing this every day will reprogram your mind to think from a positive perspective rather than a negative one. Soon you will start to naturally think about the good things around you instead of feeling sorry for yourself.
4. Take a Break From Social Media
Comparison to others is one of the most common causes of unhappiness. And chances are, you experience this the most when you’re scrolling through your social media feeds. Unfortunately, most people use these platforms to document only the good things in their lives, creating an unrealistic image of their life. So, when you see people you know having fun and looking happy, you automatically believe this is the truth. And if you’re not feeling satisfied with yourself, this is just going to magnify those feelings of discontent.
So, experiment to see how social media makes you feel. Don’t check your accounts at all for one day and notice how you feel. Then, the next day, after you scroll through your feeds, take a moment to check in with yourself again. See how you feel now compared to the day before.
Once you see how it negatively affects your mental health, you’ll be keener to reduce your usage. I recommend taking a complete social media detox by deleting the apps on your phone for one week. This may sound extreme, but it will do wonders for your well-being.
5. Do Things You Enjoy
When we’re not working, we spend our time doing mind-numbing activities like watching TV or Netflix as a form of escaping from our lives. These meaningless activities may make us feel okay for a short time, but the feelings are fleeting. So instead, reflect on what activities make you feel good, such as your favorite sport.
If you’re not sure what you enjoy, think back to your childhood. Perhaps you used to love drawing but no longer allow yourself time for this creative pursuit. Or maybe you used to play the guitar, but now that instrument is collecting dust in the attic. Reconnecting to the things you enjoy will bring you so much more happiness than any Netflix show can.
6. Spend Time in Nature
Nature is the best medicine for the soul, but unfortunately, most people spend nowhere near enough time in it. Taking a walk in nature will make you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally better. Observing the beauty of the greenery and breathing in the fresh air boosts the happy hormones, endorphin and dopamine. It doesn’t take long to feel the effects either; a 20-minute walk is enough to boost your energy and mood, so make this your new daily habit.
7. Help Others
Another way to increase the feel-good chemicals in your brain is by helping others. This could be by performing a random act of kindness, volunteering your time, or offering support to someone in need.
Helping others and doing good in the world gives you a wonderful sense of purpose. It will also help you feel more connected to your community, thus creating a sense of belonging. What’s more, helping those who are worse off than you will put things into perspective as you’ll see that your life isn’t that bad after all.
8. Be Kind to Yourself
As happiness is an inside job, if you’re speaking badly to yourself, you’re preventing yourself from feeling good. Start to observe how you talk to yourself, and you’ll be shocked at the amount of negative self-talk that goes on inside your head. The next time you catch yourself putting yourself down, ask if you would say that to someone else. The chances are you wouldn’t, so why is it okay to speak to yourself in that way?
One way to practice self-love is to speak kind words to yourself in the mirror. For example, say you constantly beat yourself up about the way your body looks. If so, give yourself an affirmation such as “I am beautiful” or “I am perfect the way I am.” Start to tell yourself this every time you look in the mirror. Although you won’t believe it at first, you’ll start to change your perception of yourself over time and see the actual value and beauty you have.
Now you know how to be happy with yourself, start putting some of these things into action. No one else can make you feel content, so stop waiting to find happiness and create it yourself.