The humans have tried to be happy for centuries. There are books, poems, songs about happiness or lack of it. Most of us remember fondly when we were kids and everything seemed to be better. We consider those were happy times and struggle, as adults, to become happy at least from time to time. How can we achieve this?
1. If you have a bad day, find a solution
I have personally known people who cannot get over a bad day. Overreaction? You bet. Some can turn a small incident (a fingernail broke) into a full fledged drama and ruin 3 days just because of it. We have to understand that NO days are equal. Some are better, some are worse, some are absolutely horrible. We face tragedies at least once in a lifetime (and we talk major stuff, not the fingernail issue), we’ll be sick, we’ll be depressed, we’ll have people treat us badly, betray our trust etc. We’ll surely bury someone we love, we’ll face pain and desperation.
Fortunately for most of us these bad days won’t happen to often, so there will be many days that come with happy events or just nothing traumatic at all.
Don’t mope around, when something bad happens. Yes, it’s normal to cry, it’s normal to feel depressed, it’s normal to feel like the world is ending NOW. But, after you’ve done your crying, do your best to get out of the situation. Has someone close died? You will survive this, even if it doesn’t seem possible. Focus on your life and your family and you’ll be able to get out of this situation. Have you lost your job? FIND one. Work on your CV, start looking around. Were you dumped? Again, do your crying and then get out there. The world doesn’t end with one person.
2. Learn how to enjoy the small victories in life
There are people who are happy only on big occasions: marriage, winning the lottery, graduating college. While such huge events surely make one happy, life throws at you many other moments that could make you happy: a nice sunny day, the laugh of your child, a nice chat with the person you love etc.
Learn to ENJOY life’s small moments. Laugh, appreciate what you have and the people who are by your side. If I think about it, some of my happiest moments in life weren’t actually those big moments. I recall walks with my husband in some places we really love, seeing my unborn child at a prenatal sonogram, walking alone on our favorite beach, sipping wine together etc. Sure, I was happy when I graduated, when we got married, when we found out we’re expecting, but life has thrown so many nice moments in my way that I have lost count.
3. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey, not only the destination
We all strive to achieve/become something. And getting there gives a nice fuzzy feeling. But the journey is as important as the result. Learn to enjoy each step of the way, every small victory, your growth into achieving your success. Your entire life is a ‘becoming process’ not just a second of victory, so learn how to be happy during it, not only when you get successful.
4. Don’t care what others think / don’t compare to others
Trying to emulate other people or listening too much at what others have to say about you will surely cause enough distress. What matters most is you and your family, nobody else should be able to cause you any pain or sorrow. Try to find your own passions, decide when it comes to money, plan for the future. Focus on yourself and the ones you love, you’ll surely feel better than trying to chase approvals from all kinds of strangers or people who just don’t matter enough.
5. Appreciate your wins and what you accomplished
Never forget where you started from and be happy for what you accomplished. I know many people who are displeased with their current performances (no matter their chosen specialty). Some don’t want to try learn something new or start a business, because they’re afraid they don’t know anything. Nobody was a specialist from the get go. The best athletes were lousy at their first training sessions, the biggest scientists had to learn how to read/write etc.
Just find something you love and go for it. And, while you’re constantly learning and developing, never forget how hard it was. Just think that, with work and dedication, you’ll never be as ‘bad’ as then. And stop from time to time to look back at your progress and enjoy everything you have accomplished so far.
6. Don’t envy people, learn what makes them successful
I could never understand why someone would just envy people who are successful or rich, when there’s a lot to be learned from their accomplishments. What made them like this? A huge inheritance (in this case, it’s not easy to emulate their path to success, unless you have someone give you a big inheritance), good business choices, hard work? I was always inspired by the best in my field and tried to see what made them get so far ahead. Many of these people love to share their experience and there’s a lot to learn.
Even me being a successful freelancer/small business owner comes from having a chat with someone who’s succeeded in this. When I lost my job, I had NOTHING to fall back to. My freelancing was not bringing in too much money, so I was really looking to get hired as a web designer at a local design studio. This guy talked to me and shared his success tips. Needless to say, I got back home and started working at my freelancing. Four years forward – I’m making good money with this and can support my family.
Instead of being envious at the man, I was happy to see someone who’s made it in the business and had my ears wide open to all his advice. Not being preoccupied with envy, but with sheer determination to understand what worked for him, I was able to turn my life around.
These would be my few ‘tricks’ to find my own happiness. I am not rich, I am not living in luxury, I do have my bad days. But I know how to enjoy each good moment and try to get over what’s ‘dark’ in my life. What about you?