by Rory Gardiner | Featured Contributor
Do you feel like you have everything going for you, but still unsatisfied? You have people to love, you have people who love you back, you have a roof over your head and a steady income. What more can you ask for? EVERYTHING!
There is a certain personality type that live day to day as if tinker bell is flying over head dropping fairy dust over them 24/7. These individuals walk through life with a constant smile on their face. It is not relative to income, lifestyle, hobbies, or secret mood enhancing drugs. They are just truly grateful to be walking the earth, and I am incredibly envious of these people.
I suffer from a non-fatal, condition called “perfectionism”. This is common among artistic or creative types. It is also known to be associated commonly with entrepreneurs. You may have a thriving business, a house on a hill, and regular intercourse with models in Victoria Secret or Calvin Klein advertisements, but there is always something missing your life. You are never truly satisfied.
After endless research, trial and error, and a little luck, I stumbled upon a possible reason for the never ending search for happiness. Some individuals are more susceptible to the hedonic treadmill. This is better known as hedonic adaptation, in which we can have truly positive or negative events happen in our lives, but eventually return to a stable level of happiness. A good example being, when you buy a new car. You’re on top of the world for the time being, until the new car smell eventually wears off.
Those highs feel great, and we try our best to always get there, but due to this frustrating treadmill, the bar just keeps raising, and always seems out of reach. But what if instead of always trying to reach the bar, we attempt to focus our efforts on the 5 elements of happiness, so that we have a consistent and constant balance, instead of jagged ups and downs.
5 Elements of Happiness:
1) Develop real human relationships. Try to find a partner to share things with. Love and be loved. If that’s not your thing, then consistent socializing with friends or colleagues is perfect. We as humans need to interact with other humans. Have regular debates or conversation. Downloading your thoughts, dreams, fears, hopes onto another human being is incredibly therapeutic and a big element contributing to your overall happiness.
2) Peruse your passion and find new challenges. Everybody has at least one thing they like to do more than anything else. If you’re a sports nut, try to obtain a career in sports. If you can’t do that, then join a recreational league so that you can play this sport, or host a night where you can get together and watch sports. The key is to actively pursue something related to what it is your passionate about. Always find new challenges. If you’ve recently retired and need a new reason to get out of bed in the morning, take up golf. You’re new daily mission is to beat your best score.
3) Brain Function(serotonin). This is the good stuff. There are a number of activities that can increase serotonin in the brain, contributing to your smile. Avoiding artificial substances, one of the most efficient ways to increase levels of serotonin in your brain is regular exercise. Diet is also important. According to some evidence, tryptophan, is an effective antidepressant in mild-to-moderate depression. Try to get a consistent routine with exercise and diet. Turn that frown upside down.
4) Get rid of annoyances. Is your husband a pain in the butt? Lose him! Just kidding, I can’t help you there. But daily annoyances tend to pile up. If you can improve efficiently in your list or implement some automation, it will clear some headspace for a more relaxed frame of mind. If you have a long commute, think about moving closer to work. If you can afford someone to clean your house once a week, do it. There is nothing more satisfying than coming home to a clean house and a nose full of pine sol.
5) Work toward a 75k+ income level. Research has shown than making more money is a great way to increase levels of happiness. Levels of happiness increase greatly when we earn more, but plateau right around 75k/year. After this amount, any increased income only incrementally increases your levels of happiness. If you can find a way to earn passive or residual income, that is truly a bonus. Getting money without having to put in the additional hours is a great way to increase your wealth and give you more free time for items 1-5 on this list above.
There you have it. For those of us who need constant stimulation to be satisfied, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s just a great way to eventually burn out. Take each day for what it is, and live in the present. Optimize your happiness by trying to implement some of the above items, then live each day like it was your last.
Rory Gardiner They say if you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life.
Singer/Songwriter/Author/Entrepreneur/Comedian/Lactose Intolerant Rory Gardiner has seen the success of his compositions published and performed by other artists, as well as songs licensed and synched in TV advertisements airing daily throughout North America.
Rory has appeared on multiple CMT(Country Music Television) nationally broadcasted reality shows in Canada, and keeps a busy 100+ shows a year touring schedule.
Author of “Break Free: The Road Map for Building a Healthy Lifestyle & Breaking Bad Habits.” Using humor, parable and motivation, Rory outlines how the right small changes in a busy lifestyle can have a dramatic effect on how you look and feel.
Rory has recently released his first country music children’s record “Yee-Haw” on iTunes, influenced by becoming a parent himself. The album has already been awarded a “Parents Choice Award”, and Rory states “I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us next!”