Improving your mental health and boosting your mood is as simple as asking yourself five questions each day, according to psychologist Cliff Battley.
We are all born with limitless potential for creating true and lasting happiness. The problem is, not everyone knows what happiness is, or how to find it. So they struggle to tap into their potential for creating it. In fact, the single most common worry I hear from my clients is, “I want to be happy, but I don’t even know what it is.”
I don’t see this as a problem, but rather as an opportunity. That’s because happiness is not something you can simply define, box-up and label. It’s not a task to complete and tick off. It is not an end point. It is a by-product.
If you want to discover your happiness, and have fun while doing it, then try approaching it from a different angle.
Instead of asking, “What is happiness and how do I find it?”, try these five daily questions I give to my clients. Each one is specifically designed to help you define, create and build your personal happiness.
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5 daily questions to ask yourself to help you find happiness
1. Am I embracing the power of self-discipline?
Imagine what you could accomplish if you could simply get yourself to follow through on your best intentions no matter what. That if you made yourself a promise, it was 100% certain you would follow through.
Put simply, self-discipline says, I will do what I should do, when I should do it, whether I feel like it or not. Your self-confidence and belief in your ability to get on with the challenges of life is entirely dependent upon your capacity for self-discipline. It means you will happily commit to short-term pain for long-term gain. It means you can delay immediate gratification because you are determined to achieve your future goals. Self-discipline is the rocket fuel of self-esteem. The jet engine of long-term happiness.
2. Have I caught a dose of the ‘poor measles’ or the ‘fairies’?
With a kind and caring voice, ask yourself, “Have I been complaining or feeling a little sorry for myself?” If you answer, “Yes” then welcome to the club! We can all be guilty of this at times. Life is tough. It’s an unpredictable uphill challenge intermittently punctuated by unfairness, injustice and seemingly pointless curveballs. Yet if you think back over your life, each challenge you’ve faced has guided your path in the direction that is meant for you.
You may not see or understand everything in the moment, but take a moment to reflect on those historical negative curveballs and every one of them, has in some way gifted you the strength, resilience and self-confidence you stand in today. They shaped you. Your spirit, your mind and your vision. Today you are stronger than yesterday, and tomorrow you will be stronger again.
3. Who do I love and why?
The simple act of taking time to identify those you love alongside the specific things about them you admire is not only a powerful mood enhancement exercise but a sensational chance for private self-reflection.
The mountain of research supporting this simple daily practice cannot be ignored. If you forget all else you read here, commit to this one question. You will instantly find yourself in a happier place. Notice how blessed you are to love those who love you too. Notice the discomfort when you admit giving perhaps too much love to those who do not do the same for you.
Of all the things you must do with your brief time on this planet there is none so important as learning how to give and receive love. There is no higher act. This is your highest purpose.
4. Do I accept that today all things are possible?
Relax into this one by allowing yourself to connect with common logic. Anything is possible if you can accept starting at the beginning. Your beginning. Not another’s; and no matter how well they are doing, regardless of their expertise, they began as a fumbling amateur. So rather then lament your lost time, or their head start, be inspired by their efforts to prove to you, that whatever it is you see, if they are doing it, then it can be done.
So trust that today all things are possible. Pick your prize, dust off your pants and march forward. One step at a time. One day at a time. You can deal with it. You always have. You always will.
5. What do I wish to stand for?
This is not a quick answer. It is a lifelong question. You will do well to visit it daily. Take time to ask, who it is you wish to be. What personal laws will you live by?
Your greatest reward in life will come from remaining true to your chosen standards of behaviour. Your greatest punishment will come from placing anything above them. Forfeit your standards and you lose your inner peace. Lose your peace and you lose yourself and with that your purpose and self-esteem.
On the other hand, when you identify and live true to your personal laws, you guarantee your own self-approval and in turn, your happiness – because you will be living as the best person you possibly can. You will know who you are, what is truly important to you and exactly what you stand for. Regardless of the judgment of others.
Cliff Battley is a registered clinical psychologist specialising in helping individuals, parents and couples on their journey to happier more fulfilling lives. Read more of his work The How of Happiness: Simple Steps to Strong Self-Esteem and Five Practical and Effective Ways to Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem.