One question I find people asking themselves is, “how do I find more happiness in my life?”
We focus so hard on the search for happiness that sometimes the pursuit leads us the other way. I spent too much time trying to follow what society had deemed to be important to my happiness. If you want to be happier, there’s good news: it’s yours for the taking. You don’t have to do anything dramatic or overly challenging to regularly find joy. Only a few simple things are needed to experience greater levels of happiness. It’s much easier than you think.
Joy is universal.
It does not have limitations or special invitations to a select few. Everyone is capable of feeling it. Look at children: their joy is pure, effortless, and almost magical. There is such passion in the joy they share. I remember the joy in the eyes of my children when they experienced something for the first time; something as simple as the first time we blew bubbles in the backyard. There was a glimmer in their eyes that seemed almost unexplainable. That joy was there every time thereafter when we blew bubbles. Simple pleasures = pure joy.
I think as adults we are tainted by society to leave the simple pleasures behind. We become serious, focused on careers, and we don’t play as much. Adulting seems to have taken our enthusiasm, excitement, and playfulness and exchanged it for distance, a certain coolness, and sometimes cynicism. It feels like we have to work harder to achieve the joy we once experienced, but it is far easier to create more moments of joy, and incorporate joy into our lives than you think.
What I do to keep the joy in my life:
Gratitude puts your mind in a positive state. Imagine the difference between feeling gratitude a few times each day versus focusing on your challenges several times each day.
Gratitude reminds you that things aren’t as bad as they seem.
This can be enough to keep you going. Being grateful reminds me of the simple things I have in my life and allows me to focus them. It’s the small things in my life that create the biggest joy.
Look forward to something.
It could be a weekend getaway, buying a new book after work on Friday, or seeing an old friend next month. Big or small, give yourself something you can look forward to. Every other Friday night in our home, my daughter (21) and her boyfriend, and sometimes my son (28), along with my fiancé have family game night. We order some pizza and wings, gather round the dining room table, and just have a blast all night. That is joy in its simplest form.
Live in the present.
Avoid spending too much time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Life can only happen right now, so live it to the fullest. If your mind is somewhere else, you’re not really living.
Life can only happen right now, so live it to the fullest.
Get an early start to your day.
A good morning leads to a good day. A good day leads to a good week, and so on. One of the best ways to have a good day is to have a good morning. Give yourself enough time to have a great morning on a consistent basis. Most of us don’t use the late evening hours productively, so go to bed and convert those late hours to early hours. Seize the day!
Deal with and face head on the things that steal your happiness.
Being happy isn’t only about positive things. It’s also about removing the negative. What are the biggest hassles and annoyances in your life right now? Take steps to minimize or eliminate them. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel. I read a book called Shut Up, Stop Whining & Get A Life. It was in-your-face honest about your life and having control of it. One they discussed was, instead living your life complaining about your circumstances, change them, or shut up. At that time, I worked for a company that I hated. I complained everyday that I had to show up for work. After reading this book, I submitted my resume to new companies, and left the job. My life changed, my attitude changed, and happiness in all aspects of my life returned.
Help someone else.
It’s not all about you. There’s a part of you that instinctively knows this. If everything in your life is about you, you’ll never be as happy as you could be. Regularly spend some time doing something for someone else. You’ll be happier with yourself. When helping others, it brings me a certain satisfaction. It makes me smile a pure smile.
We don’t like to forgive others. We feel they don’t deserve it. Unfortunately, most of the people that have wronged you aren’t especially bothered by your opinions of them. You’re only hurting yourself by holding a grudge.
Forgiveness just means you’re not going to have negative thoughts over the issue anymore. It doesn’t have to mean giving the other person another chance.
We all strive to be happy. It has always been a hot topic among philosophers that it’s the only true drive we have, that everything we do is an attempt to feel better about ourselves or our lives.
I challenge you to spend some time implementing these ideas and ask yourself what you need to be happier. Set a goal to increase the happiness in your life. It all starts with you.
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