Let’s imagine that you just walked into an office for your dream job. You are feeling excited and nervous all at the same time. The interviewer begins to ask you a series of questions about your work experience, your strengths, weaknesses…Then out of nowhere, one of the questions is “What makes you happy?” Would this question throw you off or would you be able to describe what makes you happy off the top of your head? If you don’t know what makes you happy, this needs to change ASAP! You should be able to name three things that bring you joy.
Now it’s impossible to feel happy all the time. Anyone who appears to be consistently happy, isn’t. It would be disingenuous for someone to tell you they are always happy. Of course no one really wants to feel the other emotions that don’t feel as fantastic as happiness. But what kind of life are you living if you numb yourself to those other emotions? You aren’t allowing yourself to be open or vulnerable to life. Life has ups and downs and there is no way to avoid that rollercoaster.
However, it is possible to experience these uncomfortable emotions, and eventually come out smiling. You can be happy, you can choose to be happy. How you say? Well first step is to feel those uncomfortable emotions and sit with them. You have to accept certain situations and the feelings that accompany those experiences even if they feel sucky. Allow yourself to feel angry, cry it out, feel frustrated, let out a scream. And then it’s over. It is much more difficult to continue to feel those high level emotions for an extended period of time. Eventually, those feelings will pass.
Now we have to figure out where to go from here. After we accept the situation, we can move forward. Acceptance and moving forward will place us on the path towards happiness. Certain situations, no matter how much we accept them, won’t ever lead us to happiness. But we can at least feel content with the situation so that it no longer causes us distress. We can demonstrate gratitude for these feelings because it feels a whole heck of a lot better than anger, fear, and anxiety.
So how do you feel happiness? Just like any other feeling, it is an experience that is personal to each individual. Motorcycles could make me happy, but they do nothing for you. So you have to sit back and reflect on what makes YOU happy. But here are some general habits that we can practice in order to feel more happiness:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t let every single thing bother you. Don’t let that rude driver get you so worked up. You didn’t get that promotion at work? That sucks but why should one moment dictate how you feel? You can decide how you want to react to those annoyances or disappointments. Do you get in a funk for 2 weeks or accept the situation, let it go, and continue on with your day? You choose.
- Take care of your body. The saying your body is your temple came about for a reason right? It is important to treat your body like it is the only one you have in order to feel that happiness. Take a deep breath. Feed your body, rest, hydrate, and move it around sometimes. Your body and mind are connected and if your body feels fatigued and sluggish, your mind will feel the same way.
- Remember what makes you happy. When we are feeling down or upset, it is often difficult to remember and appreciate what makes us happy on a daily basis. But these are the times when it is more important than ever to remember. So maybe you need to write it down, take a moment, or ask a friend to remind you. But don’t forget that you have all the power in your life. You have the power to be upset or to do something about that feeling. Do you like playing video games, spending time with your family, reading a good book, having a game night? You know what you like, you always did.
Happiness is a mindset just like anything else. It may take some work and it may even take some extra effort but you can do it. You weren’t meant to go through life feeling down and miserable. Life is meant to be enjoyed and appreciated. If you need help feeling that happiness, talk to a professional. You are accepting the situation and being active about how to progress from there and that is taking a step towards happiness! Whatever it takes, you can be happy.
“Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.”-Walt Disney