A healthy diet is great! A high-quality exercise routine in combination with it is even better! Except, there's something missing; you are still lacking fulfillment. What is missing? What is hindering your ability to be happy on a daily basis?
Let's go into some of the struggles that can reduce happiness, regardless of how well you eat, how often you exercise and how many pieces of bacon you've eaten in the last month. (If that last part doesn't make sense, you haven't been eating Paleo long enough)
I write on stress in many of my articles. The focal point now is "man vs. self" induced stress. You know, that voice that's telling you to chill out right now, but you can't. Stress can make you do and think some crazy things; causing fights with friends and family, and fights with yourself. Stress can make you feel like giving up on everything in life and just crawling into your bed for a few days. This won't solve this problem.
Hiding from stress is not the answer, but facing it head on and stomping on it's face is a better alternative (figuratively of course). Getting stress out of your system physically is one of the most core foundations of our genetic code. In short, you are built to exercise, which explains the anxiety and lack of fulfillment you experience when on a hiatus from exercise.
I exercise but I'm still not happy, why?
Well, let's look at the genetic code again. When would happiness before the 21st century benefited human life? We we're undoubtably focused on survival.
Why are there more books, articles and mentors teaching people to be happy than ever before? This is very odd, especially when we are in a time of such availability high-quality food, clean water, technology and shelter at our disposal.
Could society and it's conveniences be the root of such unhappiness? We don't have to "earn" our food and water in the same way that we have for eons. Think of wild animals in a zoo being handed a plate of raw meat.
Could the zoo animal's depression symptoms we hear about come from the lack of natural living patterns such as hunting their food? Massive, beautiful lions are simply handed a plate of meat like a dog is handed a treat. Apply that same mindset to our lives.
There is certainly a connection between earning our food and the amount of pride and happiness we have.
Are you saying I need to be a hunter now?
Not really, just making sure that we look into some of these patterns and habits. When I pick up an egg that was laid 5 minutes ago and it's still warm, there is an undeniable satisfaction that comes along with that. Something to think about.
We work too much
We have put ourselves into a tough situation. The economy is designed perfectly to keep you working 40 hours a week. This leaves not enough time for "real life". When you feel like you live at work, especially when you don't like the environment, you can live in a never-ending nightmare.
Am I suggesting you get a new job?
If you are miserable and can afford to switch, it's worth it.
Poverty is uncomfortable; but nine times out of ten the best thing that can happen to a young man is to be tossed overboard and compelled to sink or swim.
-James A. Garfield
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
Ultimately, you have the power to make changes. Your situation and current state of health (most of the time) is because of choices you've made throughout life. If you can accept that, we can move on to improving these choices.
You don't practice some form of gratitude or you simply don't want to be happy
Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
I have 3 steps to improving happiness through the use of gratitude:
1. Upon waking, before checking email and the normal routine, come up with 2 reasons you are grateful. Could be the roof over your head, the tempurpedic pillow you have, or the delicious eggs and bacon you are about to eat ;-)
2. When purchasing food from your market, farmer or store, be grateful and thank the person responsible (if applicable) for those that brought the food to you.
It's very labor-intensive work to bring food to our markets, ask any farmer.
3. Get together with your friends and family and thank them and have them talk about what they are grateful for. Do this regularly.
Sometimes we take the people closest to us for granted, treating strangers better than our own family.
Find a hobby
A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?
Even brainiacs like Albert Einstein had other parts of life that led to his fulfillment and happiness.
Do you have a hobby? Do you feel too untalented to play an instrument or perform any skilled action? SO WHAT! There are many hobbies that are just good for the mind.
Here are 3 tips for hobbies:
1. Start a journal - I keep a journal, and every day I write down one great play that I had that day. I don't write down any negatives.
2. Start simple - A young actor once asked me, What do you do between jobs? I said, Hobbies, hobbies, and more hobbies.
My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence.
3. Don't make excuses - Well, right now we're so busy that I kind of had to put all the hobbies on hold. But I like going camping with my kids. I have two daughters; they're 7 and 10 years old.
You have to keep hobbies in L.A. Otherwise, it's sad.
Hobbies don't have to be something that others do. If you find something that acts as a form of meditation for you, go for it! If you have some weird routine that is beneficial to you, do it! The main point is that you are not stagnant.
You don't have flow
I stress the importance of having hobbies so that you can create flow.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
Flow is not just something that is for those wanting to improve their happiness and may have stopped reading already. Flow can create massive change and influence your career, your business and your future.
Our greatest lack is not money for any undertaking, but rather ideas, If the ideas are good, cash will somehow flow to where it is needed.
-Robert H. Schuller
We all focus so much on planning. Planning our day, planning our future, planning our events and actions. Go with the flow!
You can make all the birth plans in the world, but at the end of the day - go with the flow.
Let's link all of this together. We need to be more connected to our food, plain and simple. Getting food from local markets or at least being conscious about the process of food production would be a good idea.
If you are miserable because of your career, find a realistic method out of it. Can you transfer? Is there any passions that you can create a business for? Sites like Etsy which sell homemade goods has made hundreds of thousands of dollars for some people in the right niche. Research and figure out what you can contribute! Best of luck.