What Is Happiness?
The one thing that most of us can say we’re striving for, is to BE HAPPY, yet it’s also something we struggle to define and understand.
The Merium-Webster dictionary has a variety of definitions for happiness, of which my favourite is:
‘Happiness is a state of well-being and contentment’.
To me, contentment is the key word here.
I say this because despite thinking that when you win the lottery you’ll be happy, when you lose weight you’ll be happy, when you get that promotion you want or when you go on holiday you’ll finally be happy. In actual fact, the happiness that each of these events might bring you, just won’t last.
Yes, you’ll be on a high, full of excitement and feel happy at the moment that each of these occur. But day by day, this excitement dies away, until eventually you’re back at the same level of happiness you were before your ‘happy event’ happened.
Waiting For Happiness
What happens when you’re back at the starting point on your journey to happiness?
You look for the next thing that you think will make you happy.
This cycle repeats itself throughout your whole life – unless you consciously put an end to it.
You live from event to event, always waiting for something in the future to make you happy.
The fact is, you need to be happy now. You need to be content with what you have now.
When you can achieve this and live in the now, feeling truly grateful for all you have right now, then there’s no need to get to the future to achieve happiness.
‘Every Moment Becomes A Moment Of Happiness’
How do I know this?
I know this because I spent the first 27 years of my life waiting for an event in the future so that then I could be happy.
When I was at school, I thought I’d be happy when I finished and could do what I wanted. I went to uni and thought that I’d be happy once I was finished uni and could work. I started working and realised that I still wasn’t happy so went back to study.
Even though I was studying something I was genuinely interested in, I still found myself counting down the weeks during term time, waiting for the holidays.
Then one day I realised that there would always be something in the future that I was waiting for.
I realised that I didn’t want to spend my life waiting.
I wanted to be happy now.
So I Changed My Mindset
I decided to enjoy each day as it came. I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to achieve good grades and decided to chill out. I took time off to spend with friends, to go for walks and to relax.
I planned the things I love into each day and I stopped stressing about all the work I had to do. I did what needed to be done and knew that I’d done the best I could with what I knew at the time.
I was amazed at how this small change in my mindset made such a massive difference in my outlook on life. I’m no longer waiting for the future to feel happy.
I feel happy now.
How To Be Happy
If you want to learn how to be happy, follow the 3 steps below and they’ll be sure to get you moving in the right direction. Before you know it, you’ll be unstoppable.
1. Be Grateful
At the end of everyday, before you go to sleep, spend a few minutes thinking of all the things that you’re grateful for from that day. Make sure they’re different to the day before and think of at least 3. The more the better – see if you can get to 10!
If you struggle to remember to do this, put something on your pillow to remind you as you’re getting into bed.
2. Become Present
Take time to become present as often as you can. By this I mean, notice what’s around you – the beauty, the sounds, other people, the temperature, the smells. Just become present in this moment.
This is particularly important if you’re getting stressed or worried about something in the past or future. If you catch yourself in this state, stop immediately and take a minute or so to become present.
If you struggle to remember to do this, put a reminder in your phone that reminds you to become present at least 3 times a day. Again, the more the better – see if you can get to 10 times.
3. Plan The Things You Love Into Every Day
What’s your favourite thing to do? (For me, it’s going for walks in nature).
Whatever you love doing, plan it into your day. If you have more than one thing, try alternating days of doing one and then the other. The important part of this task is to actually set time aside every day to do something that’s just for you. Something that brings you joy.
It doesn’t matter how long you spend doing the thing you love, just make sure you do it.
Make a date with yourself – specifiy a time you’re going to do it and make sure you stick to it.