In celebration of National Admit You’re Happy Month, Profile’s Senior Learning and Development Specialist Natalie Papini has been dishing out well-being and happiness tips ALL. MONTH. LONG. Natalie already has her Master’s in clinical health psychology and is now hitting the books for her PhD. (In other words, she is one smart cookie when it comes to behavior change.)
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” - Ferris Bueller
When you think about the happiest time in your life, chances are you don’t recall a moment you were drifting on autopilot fumes checking off to-dos. That’s why my final happiness hack for National Admit You’re Happy Month involves you reflecting on how you’re spending your time. What would you do if you had a few extra hours? Sure, it’s probably practical to catch up on laundry or deep clean your kitchen. However, that may not be the best use of your time.
We live in a culture so entrenched in productivity at all costs that we often feel guilty for doing the things we enjoy. Ironically, spending time on your passions or hobbies can actually improve creative thinking, problem-solving and productivity levels. Here are four steps you can take to ditch the guilt trip and start doing things you love!
1) Find what you love to do.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen because it’s brainstorm time! Ask yourself, “What sparks joy in my life?” Do you love the outdoors? Does cooking bring you joy? Are you fond of animals? Jot down anything that comes to mind. Another question you can ask yourself is, “What did I love doing when I was a kid?” Revisiting your childhood interests can point to hobbies you’d love today. For example: If you spent hours doodling with sidewalk chalk, trying an art class might be right up your alley.
2) Embrace a state of flow.
Once you have your list, zone in on an activity that promotes a "flow state." This happens when you're doing an activity you love and are quite skilled at. People report losing all sense of time, heightened focus and attention, and feeling challenged but capable. For flow to happen, you must:
- Have a specific activity in mind you're passionate about
- The activity must be challenging but doable
- You're able to improve your skills at the activity
Examples of activities that promote flow include painting, skiing, writing, tennis or dancing. Passions that promote flow are more likely to improve your well-being and happiness.
3) Evaluate how you’re currently spending your time. Consider some time-saving hacks!
Once you’ve decided what your passion is, think about how your time is currently being spent. Can you forfeit a few hours of Netflix this week to hit the slopes instead? Are you willing to wake up an hour earlier to paint before your normal morning routine? Can you cut back on social media time? If you want to take this a step further, track how you are spending your time. This can be an eye-opening experience that allows you to honestly see where your time is going. Also, leverage technology to help you clear some time from your schedule. Many grocery stores offer delivery or pickup options, which can help you save time by shopping online. This could be one way to add more time to your week.
4) Ask for support from those around you.
Another way to find more time for your passions is to ask for support from those around you (and be willing to accept their help). Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness! Maybe this is asking your spouse to help with household chores or asking a friend for help when it comes to childcare.
In the first blog of this series, we defined happiness as living one’s life with purpose and meaning and feeling content on a daily basis. Figuring out your passions and dedicating time to them will add purpose and meaning to your life by fueling your creativity, increasing feelings of competence, and enriching your emotional, mental and social well-being. As you continue to practice the skills of gratitude, savoring, mindfulness, and pursuing your passions, take note of how it feels to challenge yourself and grow in new ways!
Remember that your Profile Coach is another person who is in your corner! Your coach can hold you accountable on your journey and help you brainstorm what your passions are.
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