Are you looking for happiness in your life? How is your New Year coming along now that a couple of weeks has already passed? This week was the “Blue Monday”, which has been named the most depressing day of the year. If you felt it, your year does not have to continue in the same way. You can have happiness in your life.

This 2-part post talks about 7 principles for having happiness in your life. Last week’s post looked at self-care, self-compassion, setting healthy boundaries and trying something new as a way to stimulate your brain. You can read it here. This week we look at being present in your life, connecting with people and finally adopting the mindset of gratitude.

5. Be present in your life

Do you spend your time planning the future? Thinking about the past? Using technology and on social media? Does it feel difficult to just stop and be present in your life and notice what is going on?

If you spend a lot of time on being busy, you may not be able to notice the small, everyday moments of happiness, such as a walk in the nature and the different colours, a good chat with a friend or a child’s laughter at something small.

If it is difficult to engage in regular Mindfulness practices, just become aware of how much you distract yourself by technology or other things. Find moments of peace. The more connected you feel with your life the more you are able to notice the small things that make us happy.

6. Connect with people

Do you find yourself isolating or being so busy that you don’t have time for people? Perhaps you spend time with people but they don’t really know you. Do you find yourself having distant relationships with people or you push people away?

Perhaps you fear that if they really knew you, they would not like what they see. It is likely that this is more of a reflection of how you see yourself, perhaps you don’t quite know and/or like yourself. Check out the principle of self-compassion again here.

Try letting people get to know you and allow people to help you out when needed. Don’t be an island – let love come in. The more connected you feel with others, it is likely that it helps you with feeling more contented too. If you are struggling in your relationships, you may be interested in reading my recent post on “6 signs that fear of rejection is killing your relationship” here.

7. Gratitude bringing happiness

Life is full of ups and downs. Perhaps sometimes it feels difficult to have gratitude. Acknowledge your struggles – you are allowed to feel your feelings regardless of what they are. However, having the mindset of finding gratitude in small things in your life can help to make it feel like there is little bit light coming to the darkness.

Start a gratitude diary which helps you notice the small things in life. Recently, I heard someone say that gratitude is like a muscle that you have to keep exercising to get better at it.


Now if you think about all the 7 principles – which ones are you struggling with the most?

Perhaps self-care, self-compassion or deeply connecting with people? You are not alone with your struggles. Probably for most of us it is difficult to apply one or more of the principles at any one time.

If you would like support with applying one or more of the principles in your life, take a look at my Services page. This is your time now for living wholeheartedly and having fulfilling relationships.

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Dr Mari Kovanen, CPsychol, is a counselling psychologist in private practice. She has a specialist interest in childhood trauma and supporting those who have been hurt in relationships in adulthood. Get in touch by email