Happiness is an attitude and a way of life. It’s also all about living in harmony. However, our sense of harmony and our definition of happiness are unique. Therefore, our pursuit of happiness is a personal quest, but there are still some handy hints you can follow to in helping to achieve it. Below are five top tips from Bilal Hassan that will help you maintain a happy, healthy life.
Understand your golden triangle
Make sure you allocate an appropriate amount of time and energy to the things which have an impact in your life. Some people would be keen to balance a triangle of financial stability, good relationships and a sense of purpose. Alternatively, others might focus on the simple pleasures, mainly home, love and work.
I personally strive to stand in the middle of my golden triangle: myself (sleep, exercise, health and wellness), my personal life (friends, family, love, social circle) and my professional life (work, studies, professional development, professional network). If one of these isn’t perfect, I can still find stability, but if two of them are not right, it’s a red flag and I allocate more time and energy on that to bring my golden triangle back to its shape.
Start by finding your golden triangle and make sure it’s balanced. Think of steps you can immediately take to maintain the balance on weekly or fortnight basis.
Hospitality is more than food and lodging. It’s about trust and wellbeing, and the relationship between people. It’s the art of staging experiences and making people happier. Hospitality dates back centuries, and every culture, religion and civilization has taken pride in being hospitable.
Your ability to be hospitable is directly linked to your happiness. Learn how to be a better guest and a better host. Initiate gatherings and find time to share good moments with people. People are the essence of life. You could start by having the habit of at least one meal/coffee per day shared with colleagues at work.
Focus on positive outcomes
Our brain is much more motivated by a positive outcome and does not actually directly process the negation. For example, let’s say you don’t want to eat chocolate or a snack at lunch as you want to lose a few kilos. Try focusing on your goal of being healthier, and incorporate this positive self-talk in everything you do. By telling yourself you want to be healthier, a positive outcome will be achieved.
Mindfulness is the most impactful of all to improve our brain. It’s very simple yet highly effective and enables us to gain control of unruly thoughts and behaviours. People who practice mindfulness are more focused (even subconsciously). Mindfulness is an excellent stress reliever, increases our creativity and our emotional intelligence, and makes us a better person in the long term.
Start by switching OFF your mobile phone (flight mode is only halfway), focus on your breathing (feel the air in your body and the temperature difference), walk in nature (focus on everything around you and use your five senses), and, most importantly, enjoy the present.
Find out what motivates you to get out of bed. Something that absorbs you so much that you forget to eat and sleep. This might be your trigger. Start by asking simple questions: What do I love? What am I good at? What does the world need from me? What can I get paid for?
If you have a match for all four, and are actually doing this, you have found your Ikigai (a Japanese concept meaning “a reason for being”). If not, balance your work with a passion or a hobby (charity, sport, music).
Finally…bring all those five together
Learn to appreciate the small things in your life and be grateful. Gratitude improves the quality of sleep. Sleep improves your mood. Improved mood makes you more optimistic and more focused on planning and decision-making. Decision making will empower you and improve enjoyment. Enjoyment increases your agreeability, which will make you more likely to be physically active, socially connected, emotionally balanced, and, most importantly, HAPPY.
Bilal is currently leading Strategic Business Project, Applied Research Project and Health & Wellness classes at Les Roches Bluche. He is also co-founder of SoHappy Institute Geneva, integrating traditional and alternative medicine with applied happiness research to create workshops that enable people to lead happier lives.