3 Steps for Happiness That Might Help You Get Your Sparkle Back

When I first wrote this article, we were in the early days of the COVID19 pandemic. The world was nervous, confused and curious all at the same time. As the U.K. entered our first lockdown, ironically 20th March marked International Day of Happiness.

Meanwhile, debates raged on social media about which expert was right and who was wrong. Some were suffering with pandemic-related anxiety. News was hurtling in from every direction, mainly negative in content. We literally watched death tolls rising every day. People couldn’t hug their loved ones, or be with others as they died and were buried.

So if we can’t seek a little happiness on difficult days, when would we?

I don’t mean making light of the awfulness – and it really was as horrible as it seemed. This wasn’t about not talking about emotions or pushing them away either; I’m a big believer in feeling the feels. And I’m definitely not one one of those to say “all you need is to think positive” – because it’s not that easy, and besides if it was that easy to “think yourself happy” we’d all be doing it.

But in all the years I’ve worked with the bereaved, when the time was right, they wanted some ideas about how to get their sparkle back.

There are of course lots of ways to happiness, and everyone is different. What helps you might be different to someone else. But here’s three tips that might be useful:

1) Moments of Joy

Joy and happiness aren’t the same, though they are interconnected. Joy is transitory – it doesn’t last, and we have to be careful we don’t go in search for ways to ‘numb out’; craving and seeking “highs”, after a while, is never enough. However, we can learn to appreciate moments that lift our spirits.

Throughout the day, there may be opportunities or experiences you can cherish, some might catch you by surprise, without even looking for them. It might be a gorgeous sunset. A text from a friend. Finishing a good book. It all counts.

Mindfulness can be helpful here. You can learn to experience the present moment without judgement and experience life just as it is. You probably wouldn’t think a tree needs more leaves, so you might learn to appreciate what Gelong Thubten calls a micro-moment, and the preciousness it has to offer just as it is. You could also engage in some restorative acts of self-care especially on difficult days.

2) Meaning

What gets you out of bed in the morning and what puts a little bit of sparkle in your step? Happiness includes ensuring your needs are met, in the form of self-care and purpose.

One suggestion is to get a blank sheet of paper and write the word “Me” in the middle. Then create a mind map of all the things that get your motor running.

It might be spending time with friends, helping out at a Foodbank, exercise, writing or something else. You might join a sports club, set up a writing group, or offer some more hours to a charity.

You could ask a good friend “What could you see me doing in life?” or “what do I do well?” and see if their reply inspires you. You might also find compassionate goal setting helpful. Then when you know what nourishes you, see if you can find ways to do more of it. Reach in to organisations that can help if emotions are intense, especially if you’ve noticed a drop in your mood and mental health.

3) Connection

We are hard-wired for connection. In our lives before technology, we were always part of a community. We shared. We communicated. We belonged.

It’s been said that the opposite of connection is addiction. We find ourselves needing “stuff” to fill a hole (see point 1), to plug the gap of what’s missing in our lives; we can be addicted to pretty much anything. Sex, shopping, gambling, our phones. Even our thinking.

So, the key then may be to pause and reflect on how you can reconnect. Like meaning, you might find it involves like-minded people. Set good boundaries. Communicate mindfully, authentically and wholeheartedly. Start by finding a way that feels right to say “I am enough”. And have a think about what connects you to others, especially if you’re having a difficult time.

You might also like: Monday Mojo™ – feel-good motivation for the week ahead. Click the button below to subscribe.

Answers In The Dark aims to join the dots between sleep, dreams and our mental health, specifically how grief shows up, even if no one has died. It’s out now on Amazon and Hive.

©️ Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020, updated 2023

Published by Delphi

Offers "educational side-bars". Aims to help people find their mojo and get their sparkle back. Been on the telly. © All rights reserved.

%d bloggers like this: