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BY SUSAN R. KILEY

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Steps to Happiness
Ekwer/ Getty

Will these three super steps to happiness give you overall well-being? My belief is yes; however, happiness and overall well-being require more than just three steps. These are only a fraction of what it takes for happiness.

When you stop and take inventory in yourself – being honest – what do you see and like about who you are? Developing solid overall well-being is taking the first step to happiness:

 

  • What is it I like and need? 
  • What can I control? 
  • How do I feel (and what do they mean)?

Steps to Happiness and Overall Well-Being

Through numerous articles and a lot of research, I found humans have six basic fears: isolation, failure, rejection, loss of control, death, and the unknown. 

Recently, I found myself in a position where I experienced five of the six fears. Holy buckets is correct. During my recent application process – I applied for twelve jobs – all online. Of these, I received two interviews, one on the phone, one in person. My feelings – isolation, failure, rejection, loss of control, and the unknown. 

Here’s the breakdown of how fear works and my thought process. I will not get hired (rejection from the employer). But is this an actual fear, or do I fear rejection from someone else? 

Fear of rejection: Am I fearing rejection from my partner or my children in the sense that I am letting them down? 

Loss of Control: Not getting the jobs meant I was not liked. Is this reality, or do I fear my partner or children will think no one likes me? And, why do I even care if they like me or not (the employer)? 

Failure: Why do I feel like such a failure? Applying for a job is no different (or should not be) than if I was prospecting someone to hire me through email or LinkedIn. Correct? 

Isolation: Every application felt like I was isolating myself more from my goals. Why? Is it because I felt if I got a job with a company that would be worse than being hired as an agency or freelancer with the company? 

Unknown: Hello not knowing what the next hour or the next day brings. Everyone, in my opinion experiences unknown ‘anxiety’, either good or bad. Why? Because we are human and like to control every situation. 

In the overall scheme of applying (and getting denied) for jobs, does any of it change the way my partner or children feel about me? No, not at all. Yes, I want a job (stability, income, recognition), but not getting one is not that big in the overall perspective of life. 

What Steps to Happiness Are You Taking?

Other steps to happiness include being aware of how you contribute to your unhappiness. Do you fail to take responsibility for your actions and blame others, look for the easy answers, or might you be intentionally making yourself unhappy? Isn’t it more fun to be unhappy than happy? 

 

Maybe not consciously, but many people inadvertently sabotage their happiness because being unhappy is ‘so rewarding’ (saying sarcastically). You know those people who love to be miserable – going out of their way to be miserably unhappy. Am I right? 

Journaling: Step to Happiness

Journalling is a powerful self-awareness tool. Many, including myself, journal in the morning before the start of the day. I tend to free-write and just let words and thoughts flow without worrying about complete sentences when I journal. 

Sometimes, I doodle and draw as a journal entry, and other times, I color in a coloring book. Whatever method you prefer, ask yourself, “How do I feel at this moment?” Once you can identify how you feel (emotionally, mentally, physically), you can begin to identify and understand why you feel (sad, mad, happy, blah, ick, etc.). 

Identifying your feelings and then why is your first step to happiness and overall well-being. Remember, when you know how you feel and why you feel a certain way, you have greater control over your life and change the ‘things’ you do not like. 

Questions to Ask Yourself When Journaling May Include:

 

  • Do I have any control over my current situation? 
  • Will any of this matter in an hour, a day, or a week from now?
  • Does being pissed, sad, or unhappy help me? 
  • Is there any benefit to being unhappy right now?
  • What can I do right now that will help me be happy?

 

This is your journal, and you do not even need to write in complete sentences; pay attention. In the evening, repeat the exercise to see if you feel better. You do not need to spend hours journaling. I tend to spend five to fifteen minutes. My favorite journals are:

 

If journaling isn’t your thing, you can also grab your favorite coloring book. My favorites are: Color Me Happy and You Suck! Both of these books will help you take a step to happiness and help with your overall health. Adult coloring books take you away from blue light and help you focus (mindfully, at the moment). 

Related: 3 Reasons Adult Coloring Can Actually Relax Your Brain and Coloring Books for Adults: 9 Science-Backed Reasons to Pick Up Your Crayons

 

More Steps to Happiness and Overall Well-Being

Not getting enough sleep has a profound effect on your happiness and well-being. Even if you slept for eight to ten hours, you might not have gotten quality sleep. A quick fix set a wind-down schedule. My watch notifies me when I have thirty minutes to bedtime – start turning off all blue light, noise, and external stimulation. 

Eliminate caffeine within 12 hours of bedtime. This includes soda, coffee, and lots of chocolate. One of the best ways to get quality sleep, get your bedroom set for maximum quality sleep – cool, comfortable, dark, and quiet. I sleep with the sound of rain for three hours (Alexa, play rain sounds).  

Adding physical activity to your day, every day —walking the dog, piddling in the garden, a short walk around the block during your lunch break, yoga, cardio… . Whatever you are willing to regularly do for at least 20 minutes every day. If 20 minutes seem too much, start with 5 minutes and gradually increase your time until you reach 20 minutes. 

Healthy Foods for Overall Well-Being and Happiness

Having a healthier diet contributes to your overall well-being and happiness. We all know that having too much of anything, like sugar or caffeine, even processed food is a recipe for poor health. Not only will your health suffer, but you will also notice your emotions fluctuating (happy to crabby), being more tired, and having an increase in irritability. 

When you combine poor food choices with day-to-day stresses, you’ll find getting enough sleep at night a problem. Poor sleep means you will wake up to another unhappy day. Continual hamster wheel. 

Removing carbonation and drinks with caffeine or alcohol – both of which will make you dehydrated and increase your inability to sleep. For me, carbonated drinks spike my insulin and make me feel miserable throughout the day – unhappy. 

Extra Steps to Happiness

Blogs / Articles

The internet gives us plenty of external motivation opportunities – if we allow ourselves to see, hear, and feel. As you can see, ‘how to motivate’ is a hot topic written by hundreds.

YouTube

Do a quick search on YouTube, and you will find hundreds (if not thousands) of videos of people speaking about motivation, happiness, and a plethora of other inspirational topics.

My favorite YouTube videos on motivation and inspiration include the Success You channel: 


Books

One of my favorite ways to find inspiration and motivation is in books. Currently, I am sitting at a cool 631 Kindle Books. Sure, that’s a lot, but it includes all my book genres like business and romance, not just self-help and motivational books.

What I find most helpful is to first download a sample. If I enjoy the sample, I’ll buy the Kindle or Audible edition. And for those I really enjoy and want to highlight and reference, I buy the physical book. 

Personally, I have a (physical) book addiction which is why I had to declutter and free myself of over 1000 books. When finding ways to motivate yourself, you can choose books, videos, podcasts, or a combination of them.

Basically, find the medium that will have the most significant impact on you. Here are a few of my paperback books and those on Kindle. 

Podcasts are another great way to listen to people who are inspirational and motivational – in life and business. Of course, I’d love for you to check out the Success You podcast on your favorite platform and make it a habit to tune in to every episode. 

If you get a chance to check out Success You or any other podcast, please take thirty seconds and leave a review. By leaving a review (good or bad), this lets us know how we can improve and what content to keep creating for our listeners. It would sure mean a lot to me and all other creators in the world! 

Bonus Ways to Motivate Yourself

Sometimes, you will be lucky enough to meet someone who truly inspires you with their story – filling your heart with warmth.

I met this gal once at an adult store, somewhere I wasn’t familiar with but needed to research the book I was writing (under a pen name as it was steamy). I never thought in a million years I would leave the store with humility, warmth, and motivation.

We all need others at times to motivate us – to help us see the happiness when the skies are dark – life is too heavy.

Ultimately, you are responsible for your happiness and for motivating yourself. One of the most common things I see in people is watching, listening, or reading too much. Many people begin their day looking for someone else to make them happy, to motivate them. Stop.

Final Thoughts on Steps to Happiness and Well-Being

A person can take numerous steps to happiness for overall well-being; I’ve only identified three. If you are one of those who like to skip to the bottom, my biggest takeaway would be to understand what you do and do not have control over. 

One of the ways you do have control, your body. Your body signals when you are emotionally, mentally, and physically struggling. If you want to be happier, you need to practice healthier eating, getting exercise, and taking care of your emotional well-being through journaling.  

Keep moving, one step at a time. You got this!

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Susan R Kiley is an author, content creation expert, blogger, podcast host and YouTube host. She provides real-world information on how to build wildly happy and successful businesses using content without overwhelm. The Success YOU podcast is all about empowering today’s content creator, aspiring writer and YOU to finally do the dang thing and start doing today that truly makes you happy! Susan also runs a digital agency, Kiley Media.

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