There are two very simple things you can do to make yourself happier:
1. Stop worrying about things you can’t control.
Everyday, I see people complaining and worrying about stuff they have no control over. Traffic. The weather. The last thing Donald Trump did. If you let these things dictate your mood, then you are relinquishing your happiness to the whims of life.
Instead of getting frustrated, focus on proactively minimizing the risk of experiencing undesirable events. Once you do this, you’ll find you have much more power than you think over things that are seemingly uncontrollable.
Here are a few examples.
- Traffic: leave an hour early and if you have time to spare before your appointment, read a book.
- Weather: keep a good umbrella and warm jacket with you at all times.
- Trump: quit watching the news and block all political stuff from your social media feeds.
Of course, you can’t prepare for everything, so when crappy things do happen, just figure out how to make the best of whatever situation you find yourself in.
This takes you out of the victim mindset, which is a state of unhappiness, into a position of empowerment and problem solving, which is a state that most people enjoy.
Think about it. Won’t figuring out a way to make your life better and successfully executing a creative plan of action make you happier than sulking and acting like a helpless child?
2. The second simple thing you can do to make yourself happier is to not expect anything from others.
“Happiness equals reality minus expectations.” -Tom Magliozzi
If you always keep your expectations as low as possible, it makes it very difficult to get annoyed.
I try to take this approach with people close to me and strangers. Here are a couple of examples:
1. I don’t expect birthday gifts anymore.
If a family member asks me what I want for my birthday, I’ll tell them something on my list of things I was going to buy for myself, but otherwise I just stopped expecting people to give me anything and it feels amazing.
Now, whenever I do get something, I feel so much more gratitude because it’s like wow, I got this thing that I wasn’t expecting to get.
2. When I’m eating at a restaurant, I don’t expect to get good service.
Now, when I do get bad service, I just shrug it off and when the service is exceptional, once again I am filled with this amazing feeling of gratitude.
The other day, I was eating at a Chinese restaurant with my family and the chicken wings we ordered as a starter took a while to come and ended up arriving with the main course.
Everyone else at the table was fuming. How could they commit such an injustice! And I was just like, “Meh. At least the spring rolls came on time.” The waiter kept apologizing and while others kept giving him grief, I actually felt a little bad for him. It’s not like it was his fault.
Anyways, if you find yourself constantly unhappy or stressed out, try these two things: stop worrying about things you can’t control and stop expecting things from other people.
It might take some time and practice, but once these habits are ingrained, I believe you will find yourself much happier in your day-to-day life.
Featured image by Edu Lauton.
First Published on Quora.