In my day to day life, I meet various people, observe and hear about relationships and sometimes just watch how strangers interact. It seems many of us are not as happy as we could be. We are waiting for something to happen or to be fixed or to change for happiness to come about. We can’t be happy until that one thing changes. Or we can’t be happy unless we reach the same level, status or have the same things as others around us. We set unrealistic goals for our own happiness!
I’m here to tell you happiness is not about possessions, a title on a business card, or the size of your home. Happiness is a choice. If you want to be happy – you need to act like a happy person! What all does that entail??
1. Stop holding a grudge against your ex boyfriend or your boss or whoever. True – maybe they did some wrong things, maybe they got some advantages you wanted, but holding a grudge will not change that. Let go and stop worrying about what they are doing, what they have or what they say. Erase that from your day to day. Things have a way of working themselves out and it’s not up to you to settle the score. Holding on to bad feelings is a daily remember of your unhappy times. Who needs that?
2. Like yourself. If you don’t like yourself – figure out why. Answers like my thighs are too big or my stomach is not flat enough will only keep you unhappy. Like that you are healthy and able to do the things you want. Like that you can become strong and more flexible and able to accomplish great things with some effort. If you are not healthy – like that you can change that. Find at least one thing your really like about yourself – maybe it’s your eyes or your confidence in presenting. We all have qualities or features worth celebrating. Find yours!
3. Be kind. Being kind means not keeping score but just doing the nice thing because it’s the nice thing. It doesn’t mean being a doormat and letting the world take advantage of you. But it does mean realizing we are all human and kindness improves most situations. The girl at the Starbucks counter isn’t going to get your order any quicker if you snap at her but she might respond well to some empathy on a busy day. Taking a moment to hold the door for someone with their arms full just feels good. Find ways to be kind and you’ll reap happy good feelings.
4. Collect memories not stuff. If you are constantly needing the next thing or this season’s whatever or a souvenirs to remind yourself you had a good trip – you will always have needs that aren’t fully met. It’s ok to have desires and wants but save those for truly special things. Worry less about stuff. Worry less what others will think of the stuff you have. Those that will judge you because of your clothes, car, house or purse are not truly happy themselves. Much of our stress comes from financial worries. Letting go of our need to keep up and constantly update and purchase not only saves money but saves worry when the bills come. Being content with what you have is freeing. It’s ok to admire someone else’s big home or fancy boots – but don’t stake your happiness on having to attain that for yourself.
5. Smile. How often do you smile in a day? Or do you even laugh some days? Find a reason to smile and laugh. That could come from watching small children play at the playground or reading a funny article. Lighten up and let your face show others your happiness.
6. Exercise. Find something you like to do – be it running, walking, Pilates, swimming or salsa dancing and do it regularly. Exercise releases all those feel good endorphins. Plus, we naturally feel better when we take care of ourselves, treat our bodies right and are stronger. If you hate bootcamp – find something else. There are far too many choices to feel you need to suffer through a workout you despise. Exercise that you enjoy and look forward to becomes less like work and more like fun!
7. Stop comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who has more, is higher up or smarter or whatever. Drop the competition. Have goals that are about YOU not about showing someone else. Work hard to learn a new skill or to broaden your knowledge. If are seeking praise for your accomplishments – it’s likely you’ll never get quite as much praise as you crave. Seek self satisfaction. You don’t need others to tell you are good to know you are good. Just be good and be happy knowing that.
And finally what do happy people not do? They don’t dwell on the past or delay enjoyment for a better time. They don’t postpone joy until it fits their schedule better. If you aren’t happy – act like a happy person – until you are one!