Rules To Live By For A Happier, Fuller Life
By: Rachel Lustbader
Updated February 01, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Fawley
Day to day, we go about living our lives. We meet new people, make decisions, have arguments, and make mistakes. As people, we have aspirations and dreams. We also have good days and bad days. Life is full of finding balance and achieving big and small wins, while learning to forgive and grow from big and small losses.
Sometimes, life can be a struggle. Life decisions can be difficult. We chase our dreams and sometimes we put them on hold for any number of reasons. Half the time, we may not even know what we want. Even if we know what we want, it can still feel confusing trying to break out of old patterns and achieve something new. Other days, we just feel lost somewhere between trying to manage relationships, work, money and everything else that life throws at us. But it is possible to lead a happier and fuller life, no matter your life circumstance, These 6 tips below can help you move forward into a happier, fuller life.
Rules to Live by
- Appreciate what you have, tangible and intangible,and avoid comparing yourself to others. Someone will always have something that you do not have. It may be a partner, a job, a hobby, a skill level, or any number of thing.The wonder of life is that you will always have things someone else wants too. But by valuing the things that make you uniquely you, both in your life circumstance and your personality, you can learn to feel more grateful for being alive where and who you are. The grass always seems greener on the other side, but the reality is that it often is not. We can never truly know what goes on behind closed doors. That thing they have you desperately want to own or achieve may not actually be the dream you believe it is. It may actually disappoint your expectations if you had it. Whether it is someone’s job, their partner, their looks or something else, your own satisfaction will move farther away if you give in to that envy. Instead, try accepting what you have and being content with it, or putting a plan in place to achieve that dream. Remember that life’s greatest gifts cannot be bought or achieved, they are given in friends, family, comfort, and joy. You have all the tools inside of you to find and make those things come true for yourself. They will pay off longer and better than any tangible achievement. It’s not nearly as enjoyable to have that nice house, car, or career, when you have no loved ones to share it with.
- Do not focus on negative situations. Unfortunate things happen which are often outside of our control. You can choose to stay focused on situations that you can't do anything about and feel upset or angry, or you can choose to work through those negative feelings and take positive action. Learning from your mistakes, lettinggo of the negative thoughts, and putting energy into rethinking how you can begin again will help you move on. The only way to let go of the past and live in the present is to accept the past. It can help to realize that the only thing we really have is the present. The future is not promised, nor is it here yet. All we can do is make good of this present moment. There is very little use in trying to dissect past problems and look for answers; you do not really need answers to make peace with something or someone that wronged you. The human brain naturally seeks for understanding when something negative happens by asking questions of others, themselves, or even God. We want to make sense of why we are hurting, and maybe we want to try to prevent future pain. But pain cannot be prevented, and sometimes the most healing thing to do is to accept your feelings of unfairness about what happened.
- Work toward being open-minded. Being open-minded means knowing that you don’t know everything. By acknowledging new ideas and experiences or bybeing willing to try new things without making snap judgments, you will enjoy things you never thought you would like, meet people from all walks of life, and most of all, learn more about the world than you ever could with a closed mind. When you try new things, it creates stimulation in the brain that contributes to positive levels of endorphins. You may also feel a sense of pride that you did something unexpected. In the long term, gaining new experiences throughout your life can lead to greater satisfaction and a feeling of a life well-lived. You don’t have to travel far or make risky choices for these experiences. Often, just being willing to observe and listen to those around you can lead you down some pretty interesting paths.
- Make active choices to live the life you want to live and not the life that others want you to live. Sometimes, we understandably do things because our family or friends want us to, or because it seems like that is what we should be doing. It is important to spend time asking yourself honestly what you want to do or be. Be true to yourself and follow your dreams. You may not want to pursue the standard definition of "success.” Your definition of success may be different if you are doing what you want to do and working towards your goals. At the end of your life, you will likely have wanted to live a life that was yours and no one else’s.
- "What if I Fall? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?" - Erin Hanson. Say yes to opportunities to leave your comfort zone. Often, we turn down bright options because the outcome is often uncertain. There may be more risk where there’s greater reward. Sure, things could go wrong, but it could also turn out to be the best choice you have ever made. You won’t know until you’ve tried it. It may look like trying a new hobby, taking a risk in your work, or breaking outside your routine in your home life. If you stick to living in your comfort zone all the time, you will never experience anything new, and you might miss out on amazing opportunities for growth. To live a happier and fuller life, one must sometimes take risks. Many times, even positive changes can bring on some negative emotions like fear and uncertainty. If you give in to those feelings to the point where they stop you from "going for it," you may miss out on changing your life and those around you for the better. It is okay if not every risk you take ends of paying off, the risk-taking itself is a learning experience too.
- Love yourself no matter what. Love yourself on good days and bad days. Be proud of your achievements, but love yourself and practice compassion when you make mistakes or when things go wrong. Unconditional self-love gives you the strength and courage to try new things and go after your dreams because you know that no matter what the outcome, you will still love and accept yourself regardless. None of us is perfect. We all have things we want to change about ourselves and that is necessary to keep us moving forward. The key is to accept yourself for everything you are while letting go of all the things you are not. In doing this, you will increase your overall level of happiness and even perhaps have an easier time making those changes that are within your control to change. Be proud of who you are and everything you have gone through to make you that way.
- It is scientific knowledge that engaging in positive self-talk (i.e. telling one's self - either aloud or mentally - about one's positive attributes and abilities) will actually put you in a better mood overall and boost your confidence levels over time. This practice allows you to see more clearly, and believe more easily, all the positive things that make up who you are. Simultaneously, you should avoid engaging in negative self-talk and doubt as much as you can. In fact, when you feel yourself begin to think negatively, stop the train of thought in its tracks and question it. What is making you believe or say that? Do you really believe that to be true? Would you apply that same unkind lens to others? Try replacing that thought with some positive self-talk instead. You do not have to train your brain to stop thinking negatively about yourself. You just have to train your brain to let go of those thoughts when they arrive. Simply label them as unhelpful in that moment and turn your attention back to boosting yourself up. Spending extra time in thoughts that tear yourself down is not a place to spend your energy.
If you need help to overcome the barriers that are stopping you from living a happy and full life, help is available. BetterHelp provides affordable counseling from licensed therapists, online from the comforts of your own home.
While in-person therapy certainly has proven benefits, many studies are showing how online counseling can be just as effective for alleviating symptoms. In some cases it may actually be more cost-effective. One study in 2014 found that 46% of participants who engaged in online modules with a counselor experienced a reduction of symptoms over their treatment. Those results were maintained at a one-year check in as well.
Online therapy is often a cost-effective option, making payment easy and removing one more barrier to living a healthier and happier life. Online therapy is also available when you need it, allowing you to trust that your journey is constantly supported.
You can hear from other users who have worked toward making their life happier and healthier with BetterHelp counselors below.
“Since working with Jerah, I have found myself sharing my feelings and truth more with those around me. Jerah is and incredible therapist and is so supportive of my journey! Therapy has helped me love myself and be more compassionate towards myself.”
“I like Laticia’s pragmatic and supportive style, her input helps me stay focused on what I can control and keeps me from letting the negativity of my situation drive my choices.”
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