First things first: By not trying too hard. We’re doing this for us, there is no price, it’s not a race. And we can’t always be happy, experience extraordinary things and be overwhelmed by a wave of positive energy. I don’t believe anybody who pretends to be permanently happy, everybody has their dark moments, some darker than others and some people may be able to deal with these better than others (or are better in hiding them), but we certainly aren’t constantly happy.
Happiness is a journey, a quickly moving target, an elusive feeling – we would not be happy to be constantly happy, it would wear off quickly. We can only be happy if we can contrast it against a state of non-happiness, a mise-en-abyme, no summer without winter, no holiday without the year-round grind and all that. Does this mean we should be glad for those miserable moments that allow us to feel truly happy at other times?
Let’s stop this crazy pursuit of constant happiness dictated by advertising and media in general – and the disappointment that comes when we realise that it may be unattainable. It’s not achievable and striving for it probably causes more stress and frustration than anything else.
The concept of gratitude and counting our daily blessings every evening has been popular for a while now – I sometimes find it really stressful to find three things I’m thankful for every evening and abandoned this quickly. If there are days where I could only think of two positive things, well then that’s ok too (why does it have to be three, who came up with that?).
What if it genuinely was a day to forget – why forcing our brains to find the nugget of positivity? Sometimes the odd day is just wrong from start to finish. That’s a shame but a reality. Let’s not exaggerate a bad situation/ event/ day – it’s done, it’s the past, move on, the next day can only get better.
Before going to bed I do think over about what was positive in my day – without pressure, rather like counting sheep to fall asleep. And I often do fall asleep while thinking back over good things that happened that day, nothing wrong with this.
Take control over your life
What will make us happier is to do something (small) for ourselves every day of which we are in control and which in turn make us a little happier (not necessarily something as big as booking a holiday, maybe it’s just singing along to loud music in the car). Instead of buying instant happiness (which at least for me gives me a buzz initially but leaves me empty after), doing something meaningful every day, even if only very small, is a lot more satisfying. Maybe that’s just calling a friend, planting some flowers, or helping somebody – here some ideas for simple acts of kindness.
Get out of the rut, pause, ask if you’re happy right now or what you could do to turn the day into a good, happier, and more satisfying day. If a day is on the way to become a bad day, why not pause, reset? It’s such a feeling of satisfaction when turning a day from negative to positive! That alone can make us happy. And yes, happiness is personal and subjective, we don’t need to spend money in order to be happy 😊.