Happiness is not a destination you can reach, it’s a lifestyle you have to live.
Once you realize that no matter what you achieve you always find yourself saying “I’ll be happy when…” you start to shift your perspective on what happiness actually is. No matter what our dreams tell us, we all know that there isn’t going to be a magic point and time where we are completely happy. The reason we hang onto this hope is because looking back at our past we can point out years when we were. Our memory tends to throw out the bad days sprinkled in our good months, and it’s a good thing, looking back we can say that that was what happiness feels like, but you need to have the perspective on those times. Even your best times had nights you cried yourself to sleep.
So, if we can’t all of a sudden make it to happiness how to we become happier? Happy is a lifestyle, and it’s not one anyone can maintain 24/7. What all does this lifestyle entail?
Happiness is hard work, especially when your life isn’t making it easy. I’ve always been amazed by loved ones who are happy while going through hell on earth. You always marvel and ask them how they are doing it. The answer you normally get is along the lines of “I just decided to be happy.”
It isn’t that easy, but it is that simple. Here are some ways to embrace the happy lifestyle:
- Happiness is going out of your way to do things that you enjoy, little things that you don’t think will change your mood. Listening to music from your childhood (I’m literally playing the Jonas Brothers as I write this). Making the extra push to take your dog on a walk and get outside. Spending your breaks Skyping with a friend rather than scrolling Instagram. It requires effort to get up and dance around the room when you’re not in the mood, but when you finish your spirits are normally lifted. Make a list of things that make you happy and repeat the things on that list as many times as you can.
- Constantly give yourself a dose of perspective. Constantly remind yourself that happiness is fluid, what your worried about won’t be a big deal in five years, you can survive this, you have survived worse. Actively challenge every negative thought that flashes into your head, sometimes those thoughts will win, other times you’ll be able to kill them off.
- Let others help you. One of the things you enjoy might be spending time with friends, but don’t forget that your loved ones can help you carry some weight. Telling people that you are struggling is never enjoyable, but every time I’ve done it I’ve found that my loved ones step up. They get you out of the house. They check in on you. Allow them to help, and help them in return. Happiness is hard to achieve alone.
- It’s weird to follow the last point with this one, but faking it till you make it is a powerful way to help lift your mood. I’m not talking about putting on a mask. I’m talking about going about your day as if you were happy. Doing the activities you would be doing if you were happy. Listening to the music you would if you were happy. Dressing like you would if you were happy. Take cues from the happy you and try to step into her shoes even when you don’t find them as comfortable.
Side note: I realize that I’m going to get people who bring up depression and how it is harder to climb out of than just choosing happiness. I agree with you 100%, but I do want to add that the things mentioned above have helped me from sliding deeper into depression. They are also great tools to help you over come depression with the assistant of some medication and professional help. Almost all mental health improvements require you to want to try and get well and make that ‘choice’.