A simple way to improve your daily happiness.
Finding out how to be happy feels like one of life’s great and impossible missions. Whenever people ask me how I want to feel in life my first inclination is to cry out, “I just want to feel happy!” Doesn’t everyone?
Fortunately, there is no single answer to the happiness mystery. One of my many beefs with self-help books and lists of, “The Top 3 Ways to Be Happy” is that everyone is different and what works for you or me may not work for someone else. The uniqueness of us all is what makes life beautiful. Travelling and seeing the world makes me soooo happy. However, a homebody may dread the idea of hanging out in an airport for three hours.
Another thing that grinds my gears about “Top 3” lists is that they are often vague or quite difficult. For example, “Changing Your Thoughts” often appears on happiness guides. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a very effective method for changing your thoughts but it takes a lot of effort and willpower. One cannot simply stop thinking all negative thoughts at the drop of a dime. But when lists or guides say things like this, it can be so discouraging to someone who reads them and finds they cannot just change their thoughts.
If you have experienced this, you are not alone.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve tried to follow someone else’s list and failed only to feel worse off than when I started. Not to mention, bouncing around all of these different strategies without much success can feel very disenheartening. Finding what makes you feel best is so important to finding your way in this world.
A Simple Way to Improve your Happiness
I prefer to view finding happiness as making small tweaks to my current state. On a scale of 1-10, if I’m currently feeling like a five, what is one small thing I can tweak to get myself to a six? Maybe, I can go out for a brisk walk while blasting angry rap music. And if continually doing that when I feel I need a burst of happiness almost always pulls me up a number on my happiness scale then I need to continue to do that. Sometimes it might take more than one small thing to pull yourself up. That is okay too.
If you’re feeling like a five and cuddling your cat pulls you up to a six then cuddle your cat when you need a dash of happiness in your life. There is no shame in anything that makes you feel a little bit better in your daily life. Personally, watching videos of cats knocking down children always makes me laugh (See no shame). What never fails to make you laugh?
My trick to keeping track of what makes me happy is documenting it.
This year, I’ve started Bullet Journalling. I’m actually obsessed with it. The point being though is that in my journal I’ve dedicated two pages to things that make me happy. One is targeted for when I’m feeling low and the other is just things that I encounter in my life that make me feel happy. I find this helpful because it is my own personal guidepost to my own happiness. Try it out! On days that I feel depressed or down it can very difficult to think of ways to get back up. However, if I have a list of my own ideas ready to go it feels much more hopeful. This is my happiness arsenal. If you find there are things that always make you feel happy, write them out and the next time you feel like you need to be pulled up a number on your happiness scale pull out the list. But make it your own. It is okay to seek inspiration from others but don’t feel pressure to be made happy by the same things.
Clearly, I’m still working on my own list. They are also shaping up to be pretty similar.
Doing the things that make you happy in any way is a great way of finding yourself and creating a life you love. If saying affirmations works for you, do it! But if vacuuming your house works for you, do it! There is something reassuring about cleaning. For me at least. You might passionately despise housework. But it’s cool. You do you; I’ll do me. We can have different lists of how to be happy.
There is no foolproof way to create your happiness. You find out how to be happy for you. Let everyone else find out how to be happy for themselves.
As much as I hate how hokey this sounds, you really do have to look for ways to find it within.