For the longest time, I believed that I would be happy once I had certain things. I thought having more money, getting a better job or getting married would be my golden ticket to happiness. I quickly came to realize that those things only brought with them a new set of issues. It was disheartening, to say the least.
I was complaining to someone one day about my job (the better job I had gotten) and they looked at me and said, “Well then quit.” I thought that was unfair and said, “I don’t want to quit.” To which they responded, “Then what do you want?”
I thought for a moment and said, “I just want to be happy.”
“Then figure out how to be happy.”
That response changed the way I thought about happiness forever. That doesn’t mean I don’t have goals or that there aren’t bigger and greater things I want for myself. There certainly are. But in the process of finding or accomplishing those things, I want to be happy.
On my journey to figure out how to be happy right now, right where I’m at, I discovered that it’s actually pretty simple. Often times it is, as they say, in the little things. It does take conscious action though. These things might seem minuscule, or even kind of silly, but they work.
The next time you find yourself searching for happiness, give one of these things a try (or do all of them – find what works for you).
The easiest thing you can do to instantly move toward happiness is to put a smile on your face. Don’t feel like smiling? Fake it till you make it, baby. The more you do it, the more your brain will believe it. Or better yet, find something to smile about!
Laughing is one of my favorite things. It helps me to let go of the stressful things I tend to hold on to and it reminds me not to take life (or myself) too seriously. When I need a good laugh I watch a funny movie or I find a stand up comedy show on YouTube. There’s also tons of funny memes and jokes online that get me cracking up every time.
Listen to Upbeat Music.
If you really want to make yourself laugh, put on some happy music and dance like crazy. I have actually done this alone in the kitchen before and felt completely silly until I busted up laughing and couldn’t help but smile. Music is infectious. Turn it up and let loose!
Do Something Nice for Yourself.
Life is hard! Cut yourself a break and treat yo’ self! Seriously though, if you’re anything like me, you are hard on yourself day in and day out to do more and be better. Balance it out with a little self-love. Go get coffee with a friend or ice cream to eat by yourself in front of the TV. I won’t judge.
Before you stop reading and think this is all getting too hippie-dippie, hear me out. Meditation is simply clearing your mind and allowing yourself to be still – to do absolutely nothing. When is the last time you just sat still for five minutes? It takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you’ve never done it before.
I know I just said to cut yourself a break, so what’s up with goal setting? I’m not talking about major, life altering goals here. Just the opposite, actually. Find something you’ve always wanted to do, something you’ve wanted to learn or explore and create a goal to get it done. Having a small project can help you focus more on things you enjoy and less on things that stress you out.
Resist the Urge to Compare.
Comparison is a happiness killer. It is so easy to go down the road of self-pitty, comparing yourself to everyone who has what you want or who has it easier than you. One way I have found to turn my thoughts away from that is to keep a gratitude journal. Whenever you find yourself obsessing about everything you don’t have, start to think about all the good things in your life. This might be hard at first. But once you begin to see the good, it just keeps on coming. Write them down so the next time you’re struggling, you can refer to your list and be reminded.
These are all tools that I use to find happiness right where I am, even when I’m not under the best of circumstances. What about you? What’s your go-to happiness trick? What can you start doing to create more happiness in your life? Take the time and put in the work because happiness is right in front of you; you just have to look for it.