We all know that no one can make us happy which means that you (and only you) can put a perpetual smile on your face. Read below for 10 questions to ask to bring serenity now! Ok, maybe not right now but soon.
1 | Do I seek to add value?
One of the things I always advise my interns to do is to sit down and think about the ways they have added value to the jobs and organizations they have worked in. No one wants to hire someone who does the bare minimum. This check-in can be used in every area of our lives. Do we offer support, kindness, understanding and constructive feedback or are we stirring up negativity with gossip, complaints, unnecessary criticism and not carrying our weight? When we think about the ways we are adding and subtracting to a situation our entire approach can change.
2 | Do I surround myself with people who enhance my life experience?
Remember your clubbing days? You never wanted to spend your evening with the riff-raff in some sketchy club. Why would you want to spend your life with them? While some of us may feel guilty for letting go of relationships that no longer fit into the lives we have now, it's vital to edit our lives now and then. If you can't trust or count on the people around you, you'll not only constantly feel insecure, but you'll expel valuable energy.
3 | When was the last time I learned/tried something new?
It sounds like a silly cliché but knowledge is power and experience does give you an edge -- but only if you use it to your advantage. Learning a new word each day is only effective when you use these words to create a better daily vocabulary. Skimming headlines is a great way to memorize topics but doing deeper research allow you to form an educated opinion that can be shared in much more interesting conversations. Best of all, since anxiety and fear are based on uncertainty and ignorance, you will feel a boost in confidence and walk into the client dinner, boardroom or date feeling much more prepared.
4 | How much consideration do I give myself in my own life?
We can't always do exactly what we want to do in every situation but if you're focused more on pleasing those around you than honoring your own vision, dreams and desires, then it's time to make changes. As we grow older, we learn that it's OK to not always do what your friends, family members and partner feel is best for you. Unless you are doing something truly destructive or disrespectful, there's zero reason to feel guilty or be sent on guilt trips. Sit down and think about the life you would be living if you didn't have to worry about being judged. That is what you need to work toward.
5 | Do I get swayed by feelings or react to facts?
Feelings are notoriously misleading. Facts are reliable. It's not always easy to redirect your attention to what really is happening and not what you want to happen (or fear might happen) but making an effort to do so can really change how you act, react and how others act and react toward you.
6 | Am I impatient or productive?
Just because you are being offered something you want or will enjoy does not mean you should "reach out and grab it" the second it appears. The reality is, that "once in a lifetime opportunity" will likely not evaporate in the 24-48 hours. Sit down and really think about the decisions you are making. Saying "yes" to a last minute weekend trip is fine but signing contracts, rushing to their door to profess your undying love or moving house last-minute are decisions worth spending time to ponder. Follow your heart, use your head.
7 | Do I own my behavior or simply judge it?
You said you would go to the gym. You didn't. You went to have margaritas and nachos with your friends instead. Congratulations, you now have a memory (and maybe a hangover). Instead of beating yourself up, accept that we are in full control of our choices. When we choose short-term gratification over our long-term goals, it's a sign to prioritize. The more we do this, the easier it will be to choose toning over tacos and vice versa without feeling as though we are missing out or messing up.
8 | Can people count on me?
We often think about the people in our lives who are there for us and get mad at the ones who are not. But how do you measure up? Do you say what you mean, do what you say and are you where you say you will be (and are you fully present) when you're supposed to be there?
9 | Am I appreciative?
That dog that annoys you every morning when he needs to go out also greets you with love and forgiveness every time you open the door. That coworker who takes time out of his day to read over your email or grab you a water? He doesn't have to do that. Start paying attention to the gifts people give you each day in terms of time, understanding, kindness and assistance and your life will expand instantly.
10 | Is it really that important?
That sink will get fixed. That email was not that serious. Your boss is human. Everyone's job is stressful. Your jeans will fit again. Now what?
How often do you feel unhappy? What are three things you can do to change it?
Brenda Della Casa is a digital media expert and author. She is the owner of BDC Digital Media, LLC and the founder of Badass + Living Magazine.