Updated: Jul 15
When it comes to managing our financial investments to build wealth, we are often told to diversify and "not put all eggs into one basket" to lower risks across different assets. Similarly, swapping wealth with happiness, the principle of diversification still holds. You need to find diverse sources of happiness in your life to build resilience, prevent mental breakdowns and maintain your level of happiness through the ebb and flow of life.
In this article, I'll start off with some examples of over-investing in certain areas of life. Then Then I will share three tips to diversify your happiness portfolio.
Top Signs Your Happiness Portfolio is Under-Diversified
Over-Investing in Your Work
You may be someone who spends all your time and energy on your work, working late at night, over the weekends and even holidays. Your sense of achievement and satisfaction comes entirely from your accomplishments at work. You are likely to be very disappointed if a work project doesn't go as planned, very distressed if you are laid off and feel empty when you are not working.
Over-Investing in Your Partner
You may be someone who is emotionally dependent on your partner, deriving your life's meaning, happiness and self-worth from your partner. You are likely to feel empty and anxious when you are alone, you lack confidence and feel less worthy if your partner does not constantly recognize and praise you. You can't imagine your life without your partner and would be devastated if you'd lose them.
Over-Investing in Your Children
You may be a parent who is highly emotionally invested in your children. Your children are the center of your life. You invest all your free time and energy to care for your children. You have high expectations for your children, desperately wanting them to be perfect and succeed in the future. When your children leave home for college, you still can't stop being worried about them everyday and check on them on a regular basis. You feel like your world would fall apart if something were to happen to your child.
Tips for Diversifying Your Happiness Portfolio
💡Engage in hobbies you truly enjoy.
A hobby is like a lifeboat. Find hobbies in your life that can lift you above the waters during a flood and take you to new places of happiness. For some people, it is a morning run, hiking or simply going to the gym; for others, it is playing music, baking, or making art. The key is to find some activity you feel rewarded just by doing it. This activity should also make you personally grow and become better over time (e.g. you improve your skills in playing tennis or the piano).
💡Contribute to something bigger than yourself & your family.
Find an activity (could be your hobby) that contributes to something you believe in for the betterment of society. For example, you may be passionate about feminism, environmental sustainability or animal rights. You could volunteer your time, join a community group, write articles or start a podcast to raise awareness about these issues.
💡Regularly invest in everyday activities.
If you don't have the resources to seriously invest in a hobby and something bigger than yourself, you can always find sources from everyday activities that spark joy. For example, your morning routine likely involves: 1) waking up with an alarm, 2) making breakfast and 3) commuting to work. Start by setting your favorite music as your alarm that instantly boosts your mood and sets a positive tone to your day. Make your favorite coffee/tea to refresh yourself. Listen to your favorite podcast on your commute to work to turn on your brain and get inspired. Although these small changes may seem insignificant, you will enjoy the long-term "appreciation" in well-being if you make it a habit to adjust these everyday activities your life.
After reading this post, if you feel like you have over-invested in certain areas of your life, it is time to diversify your happiness portfolio. Make a list of your current happiness assets. Expand your list using one of the three strategies described above.
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