15 Rules to Live By for a Happier Life

BY Elyse Santilli        May 19, 2015

1. Treat every day as a beautiful gift.

Hands up if you countdown the days until Friday? We’re wishing away more than half of our week while simultaneously lamenting that ‘life is too short’. We’re saving our favorite things for ‘a special occasion’ which automatically sends a message to our brain that today will be ordinary.

Make it a habit to wake up with an appreciation for the brand new day you’ve been given – a new amazing opportunity to experience life, grow, eat, laugh, give, explore, dance, dream, create and discover what it feels like to be you.

2. Learn to open up and lean on people.

Many of us are scared of being vulnerable and authentic — of being seen for who we really are, weaknesses and all. It’s okay to be seen without all the pretenses; without all of your social masks. By opening up and being your true self, and asking for help when you need it, you automatically give other people permission to do the same. You create a better world by leading by example.

3. Practice the art of acceptance.

If you are not yet living your ideal life, make peace with this fact while you work towards your goals. If you struggle against each day, resenting each task you need to complete, it will drain all of your precious energy, leaving nothing left in the tank to go after your dreams. Do things with a happy heart and a light-touch, and you will feel freer and more energized.

4. Make time to get in touch with your soul.

Your soul is your eternal essence — it’s who you really are underneath the chatter of your monkey mind, the social masks you wear, and the titles and roles you hold. Get in touch with your soul each week through meditation, writing a journal, spending time in nature, or making time to just sit and soak up the world without judgment for a few moments.

5. See the light in people.

People may do things which frustrate, hurt or anger you, or they may have nothing in common with you at all — but you can choose to see beyond these external factors and focus on the common humanity and Universal divinity you both share. You are both souls in human bodies trying to navigate the world at this point in time in the best way you know how. Accept and forgive other people whenever you can.

6. Let your emotions be your guide, but not your identity.

When people experience strong negative emotions like anger, jealousy or pain, they usually do one of two things — bury their emotions deep in their subconscious, or get so caught up in their emotions that they are consumed by them and adopt them as part of their ongoing identity.

Neither choice is healthy. Instead, when a strong negative emotion arises, learn to observe the feeling — the act of observation immediately distances you from the emotion — and ask yourself what it is trying to teach you. Do you need to work on yourself and grow into a more resilient and peaceful person, or do you need to make crucial changes to your life situation?

7. Open your mind to new possibilities and leave room for surprises.

So much can happen in a single day — you could meet the right person, stumble across a new opportunity, have a life-changing idea, move jobs, move houses or move countries.

While it’s worthwhile clarifying your desires and making plans, keep a little room in your heart and mind for the unexpected — things might not go to plan, and that might be the best possible outcome.

8. Give to give, not to receive.

There is something so beautiful about giving from a place of pure love, without conditions or expectations — to feel someone else’s happiness as your own. Try to give more without seeking anything in return, and notice how the positive feelings you experience from seeing someone else’s joy and comfort are more than enough return on your investment.

9. Be led by joy, not fear.

So many people make decisions based on their fears, rather than following their intuition, interests and passions. You are a once-in-a-humankind combination of talents and quirks and there will never again be anyone like you. When you make decisions based on what you enjoy and what feels right with your soul, you light up and the whole world benefits from your light.

10. Speak and think in positive terms.

The world is a reflection of your dominant beliefs. If you constantly focus on and complain about your problems, struggles and worries, you will perpetuate the same circumstances over and over again. If you start to shift your focus towards the more positive aspects of your life and all of the things that could go right, you will immediately start to experience more good fortune and positive outcomes.

11. Don’t mistake making a living with making a life.

Take a good look at your life in all areas — are you making time for loved ones, friendships, health and well-being, travel, self-growth, fun and joy outside of work? If your answer is no, you may need to reassess your priorities and set new boundaries to create a fulfilling and sustainable life balance.

12. Give up the word ‘should’.

So much of our unhappiness stems from feeling like we are not living up to the standard definition of success, the status quo, media standards and expectations — or that life and other people are not living up to our expectations of how things should be. If we let go of preconceived notions about what we should be doing with our lives, and give up our rigid expectations of how other people should act, we will instantly become freer and happier.

13. Decide to accept yourself no matter what.

Love yourself on the good days — and love yourself on the bad days, too. Love yourself when things go to plan, you light up the room, and kick all of your goals — and love yourself when you make mistakes, succumb to bad habits, and let your fears get the better of you. Unconditional self-love gives you the strength and courage to try new things and go after your dreams, because you know that no matter what the outcome, you will still love and accept yourself regardless.

14. Embrace a new level of uncertainty.

Tony Robbins once said, “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably deal with.”

Too often we hold ourselves back from taking risks, going after our dreams and creating the life we want to live, because we don’t know exactly how we’re going to get there or whether it will work out.

We keep ourselves secure in the safety of our comfort zones and the ‘known’ — without recognizing that even our safe circumstances could change at any moment without our consent. In many ways, we are no more secure in the known than the unknown, but we are denying our power to create our dreams and live our ideal life.

15. Redefine your definition of ‘failure’.

What if, instead of seeing it as a failure when we give something a go and it doesn’t work out, we see it as a victory that we tried in the first place? Perhaps the word ‘failure’ would be more aptly used in situations where we don’t attempt things at all, because we’re ruled by fear, self-doubt and the lure of mediocrity.

You didn’t fail when you went on a date and it didn’t work out — you succeeded at putting yourself out there in the world where true love is found. You didn’t fail when you went for an interview and didn’t get offered the job — you successfully made a worthwhile attempt to improve your circumstances and you gained vital lessons from the experience. Apply this new way of thinking to everything in your life.

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Elyse Santilli

Elyse Santilli is a writer and life coach at NotesOnBliss.com. She is passionate about helping people discover their inner spirit, create their dreams and expand their happiness. For free updates and tips, sign up to her newsletter here.

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