Being happy is a basic human desire.
And don’t get me wrong.
I understand that we can’t all be full of joy in every waking moment. But generally being free of suffering and avoiding pain is good enough for most people.
Now, think about this.
What if you could achieve happiness totally independently? I’m talking about not having to rely on anyone else. Having complete control.
Well, it’s possible!
You’ll just need to say goodbye to these six habits.
1) Taking stuff for granted
I have to put this at the top of the list.
Because taking stuff for granted kills gratitude.
Which in my mind, is one of the most important keys to unlocking true independent happiness.
Whether it’s the roof over your head, the delicious meal you’ve just eaten, or the beautiful countryside view from your window, be thankful for what you have.
Trust me, this is an incredibly powerful happiness hack! (that doesn’t rely on anyone else).
It requires a mindset shift.
Because it’s all too easy to feel entitled to basic comforts. Especially if everyone around you also has them.
But when you think about it, appreciation is a great leveler. It puts everything into perspective and makes you realize how silly and insignificant your problems in life actually are.
2) Comparing yourself to others
This is a classic negative habit.
We’ve all been there.
Seeing your neighbor pull up in a shiny new car or watching your colleague get that big promotion before you.
You naturally start to compare your life to theirs. Perhaps you feel jealous or frustrated at their success.
Stop! Nothing good ever comes from comparing yourself to others.
Here’s the thing.
You have to understand we’re all on our own unique journey through life. It’s pointless to judge where you currently are compared to others because you have no idea of what they’ve had to go through to get there.
We might look at successful sports stars with envy. They have money, fame, and the world at their feet. But guess what? Chances are they had to grind through thousands of hours of practice since they were children. Missing out on childhood experiences forever.
So instead, think about it like this.
If you want to compare something, compare yourself to your past self.
Focus on self-improvement, developing new skills, and becoming a better person.
Speaking of comparing yourself to others…
3) Scrolling through social media
In the modern information age, social media is fast becoming a life-changing addiction for millions of people.
We just can’t help ourselves.
Whether it’s scrolling through Instagram selfies, cryptic Facebook messages, or random YouTube Shorts, it’s not a great habit to build a happy life.
Quite the opposite.
Studies show there are many negative aspects of excessive social media use. From an increased risk of depression and anxiety to loneliness and decreased productivity.
It can make us feel inadequate about our lives or appearance.
Plus, it’s a complete waste of time!
So do yourself a favor, and stop mindlessly scrolling through those cat videos (I know they’re cute, but you can do it).
We’re all guilty of being lazy from time to time.
But I’m specifically talking about being lazy when it comes to physical exercise.
Hear me out.
Cycling, lifting weights down the gym, or even just walking can have an incredibly positive effect on your well-being.
There’s science behind it.
Exercise alleviates anxiety, puts you in a better mood, often results in better sleep, and even improves your confidence.
“I wish I never did that, I feel terrible now!” – said nobody ever, after a gym session.
Following physical activity, your brain releases feel-good chemicals that boost your mental health. I’m talking about endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin.
So, if you want to be happy without relying on others, regular exercise is a great place to start.
5) Living in the past
Perhaps the occasional flick through some old photos isn’t the worst thing in the world.
But if you find yourself thinking more about the past than the present, you need to stop!
Take a leaf out of Stoicism.
Stoics understand the present moment is all that really matters. You can’t change the past and you can’t predict the future, so focus on what you can control.
When you get your head around this simple idea, it can be quite liberating.
Think about it for a moment.
Worry, anxiety, stress, and even depression are usually states of mind outside the present moment.
Perhaps you’re embarrassed about something that happened during the day, or you’re concerned about how you’re going to pay your rent this month.
Enjoying the moment alleviates all this.
Meditation is a great way to practice being in the present. Focus your mind on your breathing, the room you’re in, the noises you can hear.
You can also find activities that put you into a flow state (where you’re completely focused on a single task).
6) Seeking external validation
Finally, this one pretty much sums everything up.
It’s a habit you’ll want to wave goodbye to if you seek true happiness (without relying on anyone else).
In a nutshell, seeking external validation means you rely on others to validate your self-worth.
Anything from fishing for compliments and craving likes on Instagram to buying expensive products to impress your friends.
It’s usually due to a lack of confidence.
In other words, you feel inadequate so constantly need attention from others. This could be because you had a deprived childhood or experienced some kind of trauma.
There is another way.
Take Buddhist Monks for example.
Now, I’m not suggesting you give up your worldly possessions and move to Tibet.
But maybe you can learn something from their simple way of life.
After all, they don’t believe in material possessions. Instead, they aim to be free from desire and practice Zen meditation daily. They seek peace rather than happiness.
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