Dr. Max Pemberton has been practicing psychiatry for a long time, and over the course of his career, he has noticed several things about his patients that have stuck with him over the years.
These things all related to a patient’s happiness level. While many people struggle to find happiness in their lives, Dr. Max has found that even people who are faced with adversity and tribulations have something to be happy about in their lives.
The trick is to find the positives in the negative situations.
After years of practice, Dr. Max created a list of 10 things that he thought would help people become happier. After all, it’s been working for his patients; it might work for you too.
1) Stop Worrying – It Might Never Come to Pass
If we added up all the time we spent worrying about the things that could happen in our lives, we’d never leave the house.
Dr. Max had a patient who was worried about things all thing time. To help his patient overcome that worry, he drafted a list of all the complaints she had ever brought him. When they went through the list together, he pointed out that none of her fears had come true.
(The daily application of mindfulness leads to greater success in all areas of your life – including your personal relationships. Check out our practical guide to living a more mindful life here).
2) The Thing That is Making You Mad is Not Actually the Thing That is Making You Mad
Dr. Max recounts a story of one patient who was angry at her husband because he would never wash the dishes.
They had many arguments about the fact that he wouldn’t do the dishes. When Dr. Max suggested to the woman that she get a dishwasher, she said her and her husband would just argue about something else then.
Of course, it became apparent that not doing the dishes represented her fear related to her husband’s lack of interest in her.
3) Be Nice to Yourself
Dr. Max continues to be surprised at the way patients talk about themselves like they are curbside trash.
In all his years, he continues to be shocked by what mean things people can conjure up about themselves. Being kind to yourself doesn’t take any more energy than being mean so why not try being nice to yourself for once?
4) Be Nice to Others
You know that old saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them”? Well, that is truer in life than ever. Stop worrying about what other people are doing, saying, wearing, and stop judging them for it.
Instead, try swapping out those negative thoughts to positive thoughts about that person and watch your mood improve. Being nice is not hard.
5) Get Another Job
For some people, work is everything. And it can also be the thing that kills them slowly. Dr. Max points out that people who suffer through work are suffering and it shows up in other areas of their lives.
We have to work to make a living, but we don’t have to work ourselves to death in misery.
6) Accept People or Move On
We spend a great deal of our energy trying to change other people. It keeps us up at night about how Sally leaves her rotten lunch in the fridge at work.
The silliest things make us feel angry or upset about other people. If you can’t accept someone for who they are, smelly lunch and all, then you need to move on so that those feelings don’t consume you and make you very unhappy.
(To learn more techniques on how to let go and practice non-attachment, check out my eBook on the no-nonsense guide to using easter philosophy and Buddhism to live a better life here).
7) Stop Saying You’re Fine
If things are bad, say they are bad. Stop hiding from your life by saying you are fine. People know what fine means, and they are willing to listen, more often than not. Don’t keep things bottled in if you have something to say.
You’ll feel better as soon as you get it out and have a chance to talk about it.
8) Say No
Just do it. Try it out. See how it feels. Don’t recount it when you do. Saying no will give you the freedom to do the things you want to do in life, and will help you to stop feeling so indebted to other people.
(If you want the power to say no, you need to embrace your inner beast. Check out our free masterclass on how to do this, turning your anger into a powerful force for change in your life.)
9) Talk it Out
Everyone needs to have at least one person in their lives they can share their thoughts and feelings with. Some people prefer to journal or see a psychiatrist, like Dr. Max.
Whoever or whatever that outlet is for you, use it on a regular basis so that you don’t get trapped in your own head in perpetual cycles of negative thinking.
10) Tell Others You Love Them
You might not wake up tomorrow – scary, but true. Don’t leave anything left unsaid. Take advantage of the opportunity to tell people you care while you can.
You’ll be glad you did, and it will make you feel happier that you don’t keep those things bottled up inside.