Updated: May 19, 2021
Learn how to find happiness, even when it seems there's none to be found. A guide to achieving happiness in your day-to-day life.
This is something we've all been told. “Just be happy”.
It's not as easy as it sounds, and it doesn't come without a lot of practice and re-wiring your brain. It isn't impossible to grasp onto, and it's not even impossible to hold onto. But it doesn't come naturally to everyone. I am, unfortunately, one of those people. I've spent the better portion of my short life trying to grapple onto anything that I could label as true happiness, and it's only been in the last year of my life that I've started to gain an understanding of what that means. I don't think 'happiness' is something that is ultimately achieved. It's not some end goal where you can check it off your list and say that you have finally accomplished that objective. I believe happiness is a frame of mind and quite simply an emotion that comes and goes as much as any other emotion. No one stays angry 100% of the time, or sad 100% of the time, so it holds true that likely no one stays happy 100% of the time either. So how does one try to experience the illusive emotion, happiness, more often? Maybe feeling happy 100% of the time isn't a reasonable goal to have. But what about 75%? I think that sounds pretty good. Here's how I found and held on to my 75% of happiness and how you can do the same.
...Happiness is a frame of mind...
If happiness is nothing more than a fleeting emotion, then it needs an environment in which it can grow and thrive in. How do you create an environment that happiness wants to stay in? Fantastic question. And I have an answer. You have to create tiny pockets of happiness throughout the day, recognize when those moments are happening and allow them to grow. I wake up every morning and go through the top ten things I'm happy to have in my life. Yes, even when I don't feel like it. Practicing some gratitude for the life you wake up to every day will set the stage for the rest of your day. It will tell your brain to focus on those things and to find those moments because finding happiness is the first thing on your mind. Click on over to read about how to practice gratitude in your daily life here.
Now that the stage is set and my brain is on the prowl for pockets of happiness, I branch off into subconsciously telling myself specifically all the skills, attributes and traits that make me especially wonderful. I once heard someone say, “I am aggressively in love with myself” and that is the way I want to be. I do this throughout the day, sometimes multiple times a day and once you can win over yourself, you'll never need another fan. I tell myself in alphabetical order all of the wonderful things that make me the amazing person I am today. Seriously, try it. Even if it feels silly at first, and even if you can't think of very many lovely things to say about yourself, keep trying. One day, you will look in the mirror and see a different version of yourself and you will smile. You will smile a true, happy smile because you know above anything else, you make you happy.
"I am aggressively in love with myself"
In addition to practicing gratitude for myself and the life I have, I also try to remind myself often of a few key things that I know will contribute greatly to my overall happiness. One of them being, “Accept what you can't change. Change what you can, and be wise enough to know the difference.” I think technically this stems from something that was said in a bible, but I've never had a strong affiliation with Christianity; Spirituality and faith and it's connection to happiness is a whole other can of worms, but it holds true that repeating positive affirmations and mantra's can impact your mental health and the way you feel about yourself and your surroundings.
I try to remind myself of this so as to keep it in mind that there are a lot of situations that are completely out of my control. I can't change the weather, or someone canceling plans with me. I can't change what my hair decides to do one day or if my favorite pair of jeans will fit the way I want them to on a certain day. And I accept that. I can accept it and change the way I react to a situation or change the situation to be to my liking, if I can. No one can change the weather but you can change your perspective. Say it's a horribly dreary, rainy, gray day and you had been expecting blue skies and sunshine so you could go for a nice, long walk. You may initially feel grumpy, disheartened and feeling like your afternoon is ruined. But by changing your perspective about the situation you can turn the whole day around. Throw on some rain gear, get outside and go for the walk you had planned and ENJOY IT. Remind yourself that you can't change the weather and it's only rain. It's only water. And the worst that will happen is you get wet. You want to know what's really wild about going out in the rain? Your clothes will get wet. You know what else? They will dry.
Being able to change your perspective to allow yourself to be happy about a situation that may have previously been a source of stress, is a really valuable skill to have. So remind yourself, “Accept what you can't change. Change what you can and be wise enough to know the difference.” I truly believe that is one of the great sources to achieving an environment that happiness thrives in. Learning to adapt to any situation and handling it with grace, poise and positivity.