Contrary to common belief, being happy takes effort.
It doesn’t just happen. Instead, it’s the result of everything we do, and ultimately, it’s a decision we make every single day.
No one but you can define or manipulate your happiness. In any given moment, it’s up to you to choose happiness and satisfaction over misery.
We all face negativity and difficult situations throughout our lives. And while some tragedies are worse than others, there’s often nothing more we can do than accepting the situation and moving forward.
Your beliefs always define your reality, so if you believe that you don’t deserve happiness. and that the challenge you faced can forever harm your mood, that’s precisely what you’ll experience.
No matter how hard the situation is, you can always decide whether you settle for the negative or if you appreciate the positive in the situation.
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.”
— Many Hale
And while the decision is entirely up to us, most people chose to dwell on the negative because it’s the easier option. Taking responsibility and shifting your mind to the positive is way harder than just accepting misery and blaming external reasons for your suffering.
According to Sadhguru, our experience of life is determined by us, not by what’s happening around us.
Of course, the happenings in the world, no matter if it’s at work, in our family, or on the street, have an impact on us, yet, these external events don’t have to determine our experience in life.
“Joy and misery are coming from within you.”
While “choose happiness” sounds too easy to be true, the struggle is that we need to choose it all the time. Happiness and satisfaction are a strike of small moment to moment choices.
On any given day, you’ll find reasons not to be happy. Yet, you’re the only person in charge of your mental state.
You can’t choose what happens throughout your days. Neither can you manipulate nor change the behavior of your fellows. Yet, what you can always do is choosing your own state of mind and what to focus on.
Your brain doesn’t want you to be happy
Our brains aren’t designed to create happiness. Instead, the job of our brain is to save us.
For thousands of years, the main job of our brains was to ensure survival and save us from wild animals and death when we went on a hunt. And while most of these fears are redundant today, our brains still try to protect us from danger and inconvenient situations.
Instead of chasing happiness and pursuing the circumstances that spark our soul, our inner voice often tells us to be on the safe side and be rather skeptical than happy.
That’s why choosing happiness feels so hard when facing negative experiences and disappointments.
“People are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
— Abraham Lincoln
What if life was meaningless?
Most of our misery happens because we put too much pressure and meaning on our work and lives. We chase careers and goals that we don’t even admire and end up overworked at young ages because we don’t listen to our bodies and desires.
But what if life was meaningless? What if all we had was the present moment?
Would we still try to get up at 5 AM and take cold showers, or would we instead focus on the things that spark our soul and make our heart dance?
Would we travel more, read more of the books that make our soul sing, and eat more of our favorite food instead of worrying about the extra pound we gained?
Sometimes, reminding ourselves of our mortality and being aware that our time is limited is the best way to find satisfaction in what we already have.
The truth is that there’s no finish line other than death anyway.
You’ll never be done accomplishing goals, making money, or becoming better a better version of yourself.
If you don’t force yourself to stop in a while and take a deep breath, you might soon find yourself in a doom loop of chasing goals because everyone else is doing so.
While being ambitious and creating awesome things is great, so is enjoying yourself and the precious little moments in life.
Tiny acts to fuel your daily happiness
- Did you know that smiling makes you happier? There’s a magic in your smile that leads to more happiness, even if you have nothing to laugh about. By smiling at yourself every time you see yourself in a mirror, you can literally be happier — give it a try!
- Build deep connections: Social interactions make us happier than loneliness. It’s proven that lonely people die at a younger age. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people and having meaningful conversations, however, can significantly increase your satisfaction.
- Be the first one to share the good news: Whenever you enter a room or conversation, share positive messages. We’re so used to talking about negativity and daunting topics such as world events and politics that positive conversations are quite rare. By spreading positive news, you’ll not only be happier but also charm the people around you.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come without leaving happier.”
— Mother Teresa
- Limit your media consumption: Yes, being informed about current happenings is essential, and it’s also fine to scroll through your Facebook and Instagram newsfeed, but did you know that the global average daily phone usage is more than three hours?! Most news is bad news, thus, our excessive media consumption leads to even more negativity. Reducing your phone usage and media consumption and spending more time doing things you love can have a quick and powerful effect on your daily satisfaction.
- Move your body: Doing sports and being active not only contributes to a healthier but also happier life. Even a short walk or some stretching exercise might help to increase your daily happiness levels and boost your mood. Physical activity is known as one of the fastest and most reliable ways of increasing your happiness, thus investing some time into sports is undoubtedly a powerful decision.
- Calm your mind: While moving your body is essential to let go of stress and increase your physical wellbeing, meditation can be your most excellent helper to settle down and find joy in the present moment.
- Last but not least — Be kind: The more happiness we spread, the happier we become. Trust in karma and the flow of life and treat others the way you’d like to be treated. For example, make more time for your friends and family, ask them how they are, cultivate deep, genuine relationships, and offer your help whenever you can. Other ways of spreading kindness and happiness are by volunteering for different organizations and helping those in need.
We all have bad days, and having a big grin on our face is certainly not the meaning of life. Yet, joyful days are unquestionably more favorable than those filled with misery.
Little daily changes and a slight mindset shift can add up and lead to more happiness and satisfaction than we might initially think.
Sometimes, happiness just means letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like, and instead of enjoying the present moment with all its aspects.
And while some happenings in life are more tragic than others, the majority of our days are okayish. Yet, through small changes and mainly through the way we think and act on the little things, we can turn these okayish days into good days.