7 things that have made me happier this year

sunshine The title of this post makes it sound like I was miserable in 2014 which couldn't be further than the truth - I had a fab year and I like to think I'm naturally quite a happy and positive person. However, I do believe there are little steps we can all take to stress less and smile more! Here are some of the things I've been doing this year that have made a big difference to my happiness and contentment!

1) Reading more

I've written before about how I swear by reading for it's de-stressing abilities, but I think contributes to our happiness in even more ways. It exercises our imaginations, teaches us new things and lets us get lost in different worlds and situations. I'm in such a good reading routine now and genuinely look forward to my bus journeys to cram a few more pages in!

2) Learning new skills

I feel like I've been learning so much this year - I took my jewellery class, I relearnt how to knit, I've been practicing yoga and I'm constantly learning new things through this little blog. Mastering new skills is what keeps us young and there is no better feeling than when you finally crack something you've been struggling with!

3) Being more grateful for the things that make me happy

Writing my little Monday favourites posts has made me so much more aware and mindful of all the amazing things, big and small, that make me smile every week. It's really put into perspective how lucky I am and it's always my favourite post of the week to write.

4) Making plans

Over the past couple of months we've been busy making plans - plans for summer, plans for travel, plans for the future. It's so exciting to know that there are always things to look forward to, and it definitely makes Mondays a bit easier when you can visualise what you're working hard for!

5) Being kinder to myself 

I'm your typical type A, overachiever sort of personality, and so I'm not great at taking it easy on myself. It's common for me to pile the pressure on myself, but this year I've been making a conscious effort to be more gentle, to treat myself how I'd treat my best friend. I've been consciously making an effort to feel less guilt and dedicating more time to the things I love.

6) Acknowledging that I'm an individual

This has been a big one for me - after years of comparing myself and my life to others, I have finally accepted that actually, I'm a complete individual, and what works for others won't always work for me. I feel so much lighter now I'm not focussing on what other people are doing - none of us have enough room in our lives to be anything but ourselves.

7) Dreaming big

Finally, this list wouldn't be complete without remembering that we all need to keep dreaming big. Don't let the trials of life force you into a narrow vision - I truly believe that the bigger and wider you dare to dream, the more possibilities and opportunities life will offer you!