We’re all busy. Our days are short and the list of things we need to do is long. It’s easy to get bogged down in that list feel like life is wearing you down. It seems like there’s no time for the things that make you happy, and without them life can become a tedious drag.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. You know the things that make you smile. You just have to find time to fit them in, and then you can enjoy the power of smiling. Here are some tips for making that happen.
Trade Up Your Free Time
Take a look at how you’re currently spending your time. There are probably some hours in there that aren’t strictly spoken for. Maybe you crash in front of the TV after getting the kids to bed. Or maybe you have a long commute. Is what you’re doing at these times making you happy? Or are you just doing it because it’s easy and what you’re used to?
Instead of TV, consider pulling out an old hobby or maybe picking up a book. If you ride a bus to work, try using that time more productively. Read, draw, or even write on your commute. Even if you’re driving, you might be able to get more out of your commute if you switch from the radio to audiobooks. Even trying a new radio station could increase your smiles per mile–give it a try!
And don’t forget to consider how you’re spending your lunch hour. If you’re working through lunch, maybe you’d be happier if you actually get out once in awhile. Or if you are going out with the usual lunch crowd, maybe you might be happier spending time alone a day or two a week.
Make Your Happiness a Priority
Recognize that your happiness is too important to just fit in wherever there’s a gap in your schedule. When you sit down to make your schedule for the week–or however you allocate your time–make sure that something is put aside just for you.
This may mean adjusting some duties between you, your spouse, and maybe the children. If everyone else has time for the activities they enjoy, shouldn’t you?
Drop the Digital Device
One way that people spend a lot of time and get little happiness is social media and other online distractions. In fact, between looking at the news and seeing all the things others are doing, social media can be a major source of unhappiness.
If this is eating up too much of your time and not making you happy, cut it out. Set aside times and places where you aren’t allowed to look at your phone, tablet, or computer. Then put this time toward things that actually do make you happy.
Turn Down Invitations and Requests
Seeing others and helping them out can be a great source of joy. Or not. If you’re accepting invitations or doing work for others simply out of a sense of obligation, maybe it’s time to cut back. Don’t stop altogether, but be more choosy in the things you commit to. Learn to say “no” sometimes.
Not only will this make time for other things that make you happy, it will reaffirm your commitment to the social activities and favors you do choose to do. These are the things you’ve chosen to do, and that will give you more smiles not just for yourself, but to share.
Share the Load
We’ve alluded before to reapportioning household duties. If your time is being eaten up by work around the house, maybe it’s time to divide this up more evenly. Maybe your spouse isn’t doing all they could. Maybe the kids are ready to take on more responsibility now that they’re older.
And if there’s no-one in your house willing to take on more of the work, maybe there are some neighborhood kids who would like to earn a little extra money by doing work around your house.
Still Don’t Feel Like Smiling?
What if you’ve found the time for the things you enjoy, but you’re still not feeling like smiling? It’s possible that your old interests don’t engage you the way they used to. Try out some new interests and see if you can find your next true joy.
Or maybe you don’t feel like smiling because you’re unhappy with the appearance of your smile. We want you to be comfortable with your smile and feel free to share it.