It’s been said that “happiness is a choice.” That really is true. But in today’s world, that choice might seem almost impossible to make. Let’s face it. Political unrest, pandemic concerns, economic strife – they all add up to some pretty miserable situations. Nevertheless, happiness is attainable. So if you’re feeling blue, and wondering how to be happier, here are some tips that should help you get back on track on the joy train.
Are We Designed to Be Happy?
The Dalai Lama once said, “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” How do you feel about that statement? I think at the core of it, he’s right. I mean, we’re born without an understanding of misery. In fact, at birth, we experience wonder and awe at the most simplistic level. Do you remember when you were a kid and the weirdest or silliest things made you jolly and jovial?
The point here is, that happiness is not a myth (even if it may seem that way sometimes). Furthermore, there are patterns we are born with that are engraved upon our neural networks. These neurological pathways and patterns indicate we are kinda hard-wired to be happy.
So what do we have to do to be happier? How can we tap into ourselves in profound ways in order to experience elation, inspiration, and childlike joy? Here are a few ideas on how to tap in, get in touch, and how to be happier.
Simplicity is a Key to Happiness
Sometimes it’s the simplest things in our lives that can make the biggest shift in our mood. My mentor, Ruth, once said, “Find happiness in simplicity. It silences the mind, stills the soul, and delights the child within.”
This helped me realize that I didn’t need to work my keister off to have the best of the best. This was a tough adjustment because as a child, I lived in a very materialistic setting. But once I took that Zen-like approach and started to appreciate simplicity – amazingly, I became happier.
Observing freshly fallen snow. Nurturing a plant back to health. Listening to birds sing songs idly during a sensational sunset. That’s how simple we’re talking here. If you truly submerge into the moment and embrace little, delightful moments in time – that has the potential to give you wings and restore your happiness.
Protect Yourself from Needless Distractions
Today’s world is rife with people banging on your digital door. Invasive promotions, solicitous calls on your phone, advertisements all over the internet fawning for your attention (and your money) – it can all get maddening and certainly thwart your happiness.
Protect yourself from outside influences that tweak your melon or threaten your joy. For instance, get an iPhone VPN app to protect you from hackers as well as safeguard your privacy. You might also go to donotcall.gov and register your phone number so you can eliminate irksome sales calls.
My point is this: If you’re constantly bombarded by interruptions and disruptions, take action to shut that sh*t down. Taking steps to eliminate these invasions of your peace and privacy can go a long way towards keeping you content and retaining your peace of mind.
Take a Veggie Day
Do you remember that line from Pretty Woman when Julia Roberts’ character said “Let’s just veg out. Be still like vegetables. Lay like broccoli.” I love that line, and it’s a pop culture key to restoring happiness.
I work 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have a hard time “laying like broccoli.” I reason that if I stay busy, I can get ahead of the eight ball, reconstruct my financial issues as well as provide quality content to you sweet peeps on this website.
Granted, I love my work, and it makes me (mostly) happy. However, I’ve realized over the years that a veggie day is necessary to maintain happiness no matter how much work makes me jump and jive with joy.
Can you relate? If so, then take a day out to go blissfully comatose. Binge on TV, take a day-long nap. Do absolutely nothing. Sometimes purposefully making that stop-gap in productivity is a great way to press the re-start button on your happiness.
Be Happy by Making Others Happy
Do you remember the 2014 novel, Pay it Forward? It was later made into a movie with Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. The idea is that when kindness is paid to you, you should pay it back. I’m suggesting something a little more radical. I’m talking about random acts of kindness.
Selfless kindness goes a long way towards resurrecting happiness in our lives. These are thoughtful, insightful actions you can take to help others without any expectation of reciprocation or recognition.
This might be hard for some folks, I get that. I mean, who doesn’t want to be acknowledged for doing a kind deed? I hear that. But extending kindness for the sake of kindness (while suspending expectation or reward) is a great way to stoke the fires of happiness.
There is something delightfully fun (and a bit spicy and sneaky) about doing something kind for someone else without them knowing. Try it out. I’m willing to bet my buttons this will boost your happiness gauge.
Love a Dog (or cat, or whatever)
If nothing else, make yourself happy by loving the animals in your life. Dogs, cats, fish, lizards, birds, turtles – whatever pet you may have in your life – show them big love. Make their day with a scratch behind the ear, or a tickle between their toes. Give them a treat. Pay special attention to them.
The domestic critters in our lives have a way of expressing so much joy, and the delight they express is infectious. You just can’t help falling into a cloud of happiness when you snuggle a puppy or cuddle with a kitten.
At least, that’s my opinion. My dogs have saved my bacon in terms of bringing me out of the depths of depression. Even my iguana, Spike, was a source of happiness as I watched her gleefully dive into a bowl of hibiscus flowers (a rare treat for the old gal).
What’s that you say? You don’t have a pet? No way to shower your affections on a fuzzy, fin, or feathered friend? No problem. Adopt a pet. Or better yet, volunteer at an animal shelter. The slightest extension of love towards a domestic creature will reward you with loads of happiness! I promise!
Just Say No
As a self-proclaimed hermit, I’ve become a bit of an expert at saying “no.” That wasn’t always the case. I was a people-pleaser for many years and felt tremendous guilt when I didn’t comply with other people’s needs.
Can you relate to this too? How many times have you obliged someone else’s needs only to compromise your own happiness? It’s a fine line between making yourself happy or making others happy without sacrificing your own needs and wellbeing.
If you don’t want to do something, it’s okay to say no. Of course, this edict goes out the window if a loved one is in obvious need of your help, or experiencing an emergency. But if you don’t want to kaffeeklatsch (meet over coffee and talk shop) or you’d rather not hang out with toxic people in your life, or do favors for people – then just say no.
You don’t need an excuse, and you don’t have to cook up some story as to why you don’t want to do something or hang out. Just say no. Trust me. This will liberate you and totally boost your happiness.
And by the way, saying “no” doesn’t mean being snotty. You can assert yourself in a way that respects who you are firmly, while not offending the other party involved. If nothing else, adopt Captain Barbossa’s classic statement from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie when he said, “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request” (it means “no” Mr. Turner!).
Nature is the Ultimate Happy-Maker
When I’m truly bummed out, Nature is always my salvation. I mentioned this earlier when I talked about appreciating the simple things in life. Well, Nature, by design, is mind-bogglingly complex, but at its core, it is deceptively simple.
Nature is a battery. It has the power to restore your energy and recharge your happiness to the max. From watching aspen leaves shimmering in the breeze to peering up at the night sky and sighting a shooting star – that’s a moment that is replete with elation and wonder (and happiness). From savoring a sensational storm to just feeling the sun warm your skin – Nature has a way of vamping your happy vibe.
You don’t have to go camping or hiking to feel invigorating jolts of happiness from Nature. You can grow a garden, or tend to a houseplant. Bring Nature indoors if you’re not the rustic type. The fact is, we are intertwined with Nature, and therefore it is a source of love and happiness for humans all around the world (when we allow it time and attention in our lives).
Do Stuff You Love
As I mentioned earlier, I spend way too much time working. But it’s something I love. Nevertheless, I’ve learned to take time to do stuff I adore doing outside of my writing and website maintenance. You should too.
If you’re feeling blue, stop, drop and roll into something you love doing. Maybe it’s playing a video game, reading a book, indulging in a guilty pleasure. You get the idea. Take time for those things that you mighty normally aside for the sake of working, stressing, and making ends meet.
The funny thing is, when you take time to do what you love, the universe has a freaky way of honoring that. Very often, when you journal, crochet, paint, do pottery or partake in your favorite activities (or whatever), things shift. Consequently, those shifts often lead to epiphanies, happiness, and glorious moments of clarity.
The Last Word on How to Be Happier
You may think happiness can be elusive. And you’re right. It cannot be grasped when you’re inundated with stress, distractions or when your perception is blocked due to a buttload of nonsense in life.
That’s why we’ve got to be open to the ephemeral nature of happiness. We can’t force it. It just comes, and we’ve got to roll with it when it flows into our lives. We can do this by appreciating what we have or making efforts to augment happiness by loving the beautiful people, animals, plants, or simple things in our lives.
Attaining higher happiness also means taking time for ourselves, getting quiet, respecting our privacy, and truly listening to our inner selves to determine what we need to be happy. -Might sound like a bit of fluff ‘n stuff, but it really is true. Sync with who you are, what you love, and what you need. That’s a great start in how to be happier in your life.
I hope you get the ideas I’ve conveyed here. I also hope these tips on how to be happier serve you well. As always, thank you for reading!
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