Photo: Irena Imbronjev
When you think about being happy, what comes to mind? Hopefully many things! We probably even have a lot in common. Many of us enjoy spending time with our friends, for example. They help us focus on the happy moments we are sharing. Focusing on the present moment is usually a calming experience.
“You Can Be Happy No Matter What” by Richard Carlson is a self-help book I read ten years ago, and the principles I learned from it still follow me to this day. The main theme of the book is: no matter how stressful something in your life is, you can still be happy. The way to do this is to enjoy the moment. If you have a big exam coming up next week but tonight you are having dinner with your family, be happy in that moment, do not stress over the exam. There is nothing you can do about it in this moment, which if you noticed, is a good moment. I myself have a tendency to overthink things, and I realized doing that takes me out of the good moments I could be having if I was just being present.
Of course there are cases where stress and sorrow is unavoidable, but the point of this blog post is what helps us stay calm and happy in our regular day-to-day lives.
I already mentioned one thing that make the majority of us happy, but lets think more creatively.
Some people have an internal approach to contributing to their own happiness. Take Allie Sey, a wedding photographer. “I like to scream lyrics to songs when I’m alone in my car,” she says. “It’s a nice cathartic release of stress and tension.”
Some might choose a quieter approach. “The one thing that really makes me happy is drawing,” says tattoo artist, Junior Rodriguez. “It helps me express feelings that I wouldn’t be able to express through speech.”
Others are external in what makes them happy. “In my opinions it’s a good habit to start the day thinking about something positive,” says Pru Killada, a Rutgers graphic design student. “I try to keep the positivity flowing throughout the day by helping others de-stress.”
And Kathy Higgins, a special education teacher, “I surround myself with people who get me and make me laugh. Laughter is the cure to chase away my blues. Also, never, ever underestimate the healing power of a hug.”
“Happiness is a state of mind, a choice, a way of living; it is not something to be achieved, it is something to be experienced.” – Steve Maraboli
So, lets find our happy moments.
I invite you to try this exercise: open up a new notepad in your smartphone, computer or even on regular paper and write down as many things are you can think of that make you happy. This list may take awhile, you can add to it as many times as you want. Here’s an example,
Then try to consciously do more of those things and watch your happiness grow! When you are happy you are also calm. Let stressful moments stay where they belong, don’t let them follow you around.
Share some of the things that make you happy in the comments, or show me your whole list!