Don’t worry, be happy
“Happiness” is a loaded word: It’s loaded with expectations, hope, yearning, confusion…. You get the idea. What makes happiness feel so elusive usually has more to do with how you relate to the concept than with how you really feel.
Awareness is the springboard from which we can appreciate the world around us. Set reminders in your phone throughout the day to pause and check in with yourself. By stepping into a space of curiosity you will discover an increased ability to notice happiness in everyday life. There is no experience more uplifting than giving. Practice being generous: tip the server a bit more than usual, give more to charity this month, or offer more of your time to friends, family, and strangers.
As long as you’re alive, challenges will find you. Sometimes you probably even create challenges for yourself—we all do. Instead of getting down on yourself, try thinking of difficult moments as opportunities to ask yourself: How can I be kinder to myself right now? We’ve all got habits we’d like to kick and if we could, we’d feel a lot happier. The key here is to focus on the reward you seek from any given habit. For instance, many of us snack on junk food to soothe stress. In that case, ask yourself: What else can you do in times of stress that is soothing?Getting a hug can feel soothing. So can placing your hand on your heart. Practice understanding the rewards you seek from your habits, so over time you can develop healthier ones.
At the end of each day we are usually aware of the long list of bad things that happened. What if, instead, you focused on the joys? You should make a list or write a journal entry about the things that bring you joy each day. It could be a smile a kind stranger gave you, the sweet smell of a flower you passed on the street, or the presence of a trusted friend or pet. The more you take note of what brings you joy, the more joy you’ll find in your everyday life.
To uncover happiness we need to accept what’s difficult and learn to savor the good. But the truth is we often dwell in excessively negative thinking and self-judgment. When you lose sight of your intentions, remember to forgive yourself. Investigate what pulled you off track without judging yourself, and then invite yourself to begin again. Sanvi Goyal