We all long to be happy. Our constitution even says we have the right to pursue happiness. That doesn’t mean we all get to be happy, but we have the right to try, which implies it’s up to us.
That might be a strange concept to some. We all want to be happy, but what do we do to make that happen? The better question might be, what do we do that actually works to increase our happiness? We can’t do the same things and expect different outcomes, so what can we change?
Well, we can change our thinking, our attitude, and what we do. Let’s dig deeper into that, starting with my original point about true happiness:
You are responsible for your own happiness.
It’s easy to think that you’ll be happy as soon as you find a soul mate, or get a better job, or make more money. There’s always more “better” things out there, right? But you have to learn to be happy with what you have first.
If you base your happiness on something that you can lose, then you can lose your happiness. I should clarify that it’s perfectly fine to be happy because you’re with someone, or you’re happy with your family, job, life, etc… But that’s different than making those things the basis for your happiness. They are things that add to your happiness.
Valuing relationships builds happiness.
We shouldn’t base our happiness on another person, but having several people that we’re close to is a basic human need. We want to feel close to others, share with them, laugh with them, and feel supported by them.
If you take a few minutes each day to do something nice for someone in your life, you’ll be amazed at how it transforms the relationship. Imagine if your spouse brought you a cup of coffee and asked if they could do anything for you. Wow. Or your son comes home from school and asks if you’d like help with something. Now picture doing that for someone else.
You can invest in relationships by checking in with friends and family. Ask them how they are, and what they’d like to go do together sometime.
Relationships enrich our lives and our happiness!
Travel inspires happiness! See the world or part of it that inspires awe.
For many people, memories of fun times, vacations, and positive experiences build up their happiness. You can pull those out anytime and remember the feelings you felt then. It’s fun to buy new things, but don’t neglect putting away some money for travel and doing things.
Play. Learn. Grow. It’ll make you giddy on life.
Find creative outlets like painting, drawing, or building. Visit a science museum or aquarium. Remember that curiosity you had as a kid? Remember how much you loved experiencing something new and learning? Adults can take field trips too.
Keeping that love of learning alive will make you feel happy and alive. It also gets you and your mind away from work, bills, and other responsibilities. Take a walk through the forest or on the beach, and turn your phone off. (Or put it in your pocket and don’t check it every five minutes!)
Gratitude is a huge part of happiness.
Happy people practice gratitude. They look around their life and count their blessings, even the little things like the sun shining that day, their favourite movie coming out, to bigger things like getting to see an old friend.
Giving increases happiness too. It helps you feel good about what you’re doing and thankful that you’re able to help others.
That's enough for now, more on happiness next time ! Carole x