Article at a glance

  • Often our desire to feel good in the moment determines our behaviour and overrides our deeper wisdom on what we know it takes to be truly happy. 
  • Be aware of the five common habits below that could be preventing your happiness including focusing on your day time routine or putting off catching up with friends. 
  • Replacing time on social or other media with activities you are genuinely interested in or getting more sleep is also recommended. 

Being a Life and Executive Coach, I see common patterns in people's daily behaviour that are keeping them from lasting happiness. Too often our desire to feel good in the moment overrides our deeper wisdow on what it takes to be truly happy. 

We all have the ability to modify our behaviour and make choices that will be better for our long-term happiness, once we are aware of how we are sabotaging ourselves. Here are five common habits that I see people partaking in that are ultimately hindering their ability to be truly happy. 


1. Staying up late to watch one last episode

It is easy to get sucked into another episode of your favourite show or to find yourself mindlessly watching TV, one program after another as you get into the later hours of the ngiht. Yet this time could be better spent getting the much-needed sleep that too many of us have forgotten that we so desperately need.

Research findings now clearly support the fact that by far the majority of people require 7.5-9 hours sleep each night in order to function adequately. Set yourself a regular bedtime and begin seeing sleep as an absolute priority. 

2. Mindlessly scrolling through social media

Social media is the greatest time-sucker of the modern generation. You may jump on to have a glance and before you know it you've spent half an hour thoughtlessly scrolling through people's pictures and updates. It is incredibly easy to get into a habit of using social media as a distraction for your mind, but it is a mindless not mindful activity.

What is better for your happiness is to take mindful breaks. Instead of using social media to fill in your downtime, you could be more aware and take a five-minute walk with no distractions or pick up an old-fashioned book and read the material you are genuinely interested in. 

3. Winding down with a glass of wine most nights

Modern life is chaotic, busy and stressful and far too many of us live on the borderline of burning out. We are naturally designed to look for methods to alleviate undesirable feelings, but when we do this unconsciously we often rely on short-term solutions that are in fact detrimental to our long-term well-being. One of the most common unhealthy short-term coping methods is drinking alcohol to help us relax and unwind.

Although it may make you feel better in the immediate moment, alcohol impacts on the quality of our sleep and stops us from getting into the most restorative sleep phases. Alcohol is also a mood depressant and after the short-term high, we inevitably are left feeling lower than we otherwise would have the next day.

Be conscious of your behaviour and look for healthier ways to manage your stress such as partaking in self-care, exercise or meditation. 

4. Putting off catching up with good friends

In the midst of our busyness, we are prone to feeling like making time for our friends is a luxury, not a necessity. It becomes something that is easily postponed or we simply don't organise. But friendships and genuine human connection matter.

Research now clearly supports the power of strong social connections in keeping us healthy and happy. The caveat here is that we need 'genuine' human connection. A friendship that you partake in out of obligation, or that you find draining or hard work, is not going to boost your happiness.

Don't feel guilty making time for your good friends. It is an investment in your well-being bank account. 


5. Living completely in our day-to-day routine

Modern day self-help literature frequently reminds us that our lives are only happening in the 'now'. This is absolutely true, but there is also a danger in getting stuck in the day-to-day living of our lives and forgetting to ever dream or plan ahead. We feel most alive when we step outside of our comfort zones and do new things.

To make sure you don't get stuck in a rut, and live the same life day-in-day-out like groundhog day for years, you have to give yourself some time to dream and set goals. Don't forget to reflect on the life you are living to ensure you are heading in the direction you want to.

Frequently make time for the stuff that makes your heart sing and you'll feel happier in the longer-term. 

Source: Kate Snowise in conjunction with Synergy Health Ltd.

Kate Snowise is a Psychologist turned Life & Career Coach, and host of the 5-star rated Here to Thrive podcast which has over 200,000 downloads to date.

She has spent the last 15 years immersed in both the professional and personal study of what makes us happy, thriving humans. More recently, she has brought this knowledge and experience together and developed practical self-help techniques that have helped 1,000's of clients and listeners deepen their experience of life.

Kate's work and thoughts have been featured on Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Project Happiness and Tiny Buddha. You can learn more about her and her coaching programs here.



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