Here are 10 things you can do to create a happier life for yourself as an expat
17 May 2018| Last updated on 2 July 2018
Life, in general, can sometimes get us a bit down but add being an expat to that and the ball-game changes a bit. Don't get me wrong, being an expat doesn't make you more special or mean that your life is more difficult, it just adds a lot of new challenges into the already crazy mix of life. The result is that we need to slow down frequently and prioritise ourselves first to ensure our own happiness.
Here are 10 things that you can do to make you a happy expat:
It is important to dream, imagine what you would like to happen in your life. What would you like to see through your eyes, what you would like to feel more in your life, emotionally and physically? Who do you want to share your life with and who are the people you want to attract into your life? Take time to dream about it all.
The power of dreaming should not be underestimated, it allows our brains to subliminally take on plans for the future. They don’t even need to be listed in front of you for you to be working towards them. They just find a way to come towards you if you really want them as your life opens up. The law of attraction is an important tool to understand but do not underestimate the power of dreaming and finding a way to take action to eventually fulfil those dreams.
Practising mindfulness is so important, even if you do it just once in the day. Take moments and ensure you are in the moment of the right now. There are some great free mindfulness guides you can get from the internet if you prefer something to guide you along. There are also books if that's your preferred learning method. Have a read, educate yourself and then make it part of any part of your day.
Google is your friend
Google has saved my life on many occasions. Powerful I know. I've been using Google as a way to find positivity for my future plans for years. It goes something like this. I would feel sad, bereft or simply with a loss of direction. I would then turn to Google and ask the opposite. How do I feel happy? How to I find a sense of direction? How do I… Well you get the idea. What it would come up with was a number of ideas on actions I could take. Now when you feel low, it’s hard to get motivated, but trust me there is always at least one thing that you think, “Oh yeah, I could Google it”. Do one thing, it will be enough to be the instrument of change to a more positive state.
SEE ALSO: The Real Expat: Finding Your Anchor and True Belonging
This is something you can do alone or with your entire family. Pledge to do an act of kindness every day for someone. Maybe to hold the door open for someone or tell someone they look nice today. Simple and effective. Not only does it teach your children great behaviours, it also releases all the good hormones into your body every time you do an act of kindness. A useful fact to know.
Take care of you
You can’t help others if you aren’t helping yourself first. When you board planes and they complete the safety instruction, they tell you that you must put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anyone else. It is true of life and your own wellbeing.
When you feel something negative, recognise it. Accept it for what it is and then realise that emotion. Allowing negative emotions to stay in your mind will make them manifest into physical ailments. The best way is to do the work on realising them.
Write this down or say it every morning. Turn it into a routine and make it a part of your day. It does not need to be long, in fact, it can be one thing each day. But think about that thing as the day goes on. Today I am grateful I was able to eat food. You can think of why you feel like this and why others are not as lucky. I am grateful for a great friendship I have. You get the idea. What happens over a period of time of doing this exercise is your brain naturally and slowly relates the happy hormones. It’s a highly powerful exercise and I can’t recommend it enough.
When sadness comes it would appear so difficult to laugh. What I suggest to people, is watch happy things. Watch comedians or funny movies that in the past have made you laugh. It may not make you laugh as loudly but it is impacting into your mind, lifting it up and getting those happy hormones to be released like a drip full of happiness. Trust me in a couple of days you’ll start to feel a little lighter.
If you are not an avid reader this is a hard sell. However, I strongly recommend finding a way to enjoy reading - even audio books are a great idea. Find your happy read. I love light reads and educational books. The idea behind reading is when you get a great book you get lost in the book, lost in the story, your mind is very much in the present and the words you are reading are developing into a story and pictures in your mind of the right now. Living in the present as we all know is hugely important, however when we feel unhappy we are often living in the past or present. Reading has a great way to bring us back to the present reality.
It is your choice
Your emotions, believe it or not, are your choice, excluding those with proven hormone imbalance or psychiatric condition. You are reacting to something that happened to you if you stay in the negative state the thing that happened is controlling you and you not controlling it. There are ways to take control as discussed in my past and future articles.
These are great tips, however, do not hesitate to seek medical advice if your emotions are affecting your life or you feel like you may have depression or other mental health issues.