I preach a lot about happiness and being happy. And I realize it’s not a realistic thing to do, being that no one can feel happy every single day. Throughout the past few years, I’ve found that you can find happiness in various things – big or small. I also realized, happiness is something we can achieve, but it’s more commonly dependent on ourselves.
It’s not an easy state to be in or get to. It varies with your experiences, your life, your relationships, your priorities. At this point in my life, I find happiness in small things like, sunsets, my beautiful hometown, my puppy. Only because I realized that I have to be the one finding these small tokens of appreciation. That ultimately make me feel happy to be alive. Happy to have opportunities, health, people.
That’s why I decided to have a list of realistic things I can do to be a happy, healthy person. Much like daily goals I can seek whenever I need a boost or am feeling down. This way, I can always have something to hold on to, when everything else seems arbitrary. With so much we can’t control, let’s sometimes hold on to the things we can.
#1 Take care of yourself
First and foremost, we have to be able to take care of ourselves. Not in a “if you don’t love yourself you’re never going to love somebody” way. But with small things that make you a healthier person. Listen to your body and mind. They know best. If you feel sick after eating something, go check it out, you might have intolerances. When you feel someone is pushing you down, talk to them, figure out the problem. If you’re unhappy, try to figure out why. Easier said than done, I know. Find a system that works for you. Write it down, ask questions to your closest relationships, read a book.
#2 Focus on your environment
It’s important for you to create a comfortable and healthy environment. Whether it’s your home, your office, your car. It’s important to have a safe haven to go back to. Where you can relax, focus and take care of you. Since I spend most of my time at home, in New York, I’m trying to create a pleasing apartment, where I want to be.
Your needs, values and health. No one else is going to do that for you. Figure out what works for you and do that. Don’t just do something because everyone else does it. I know it might feel weird to steer clear of the normal path. But it will eventually feel like the right thing.
#4 Shut down the noise
This one is the hardest for me. Something I struggle with every day. Being a millennial, I’m always connected, paying attention, researching, looking. With social media, it’s difficult to not compare yourself or feel like you should be doing something else. There’ good and bad to everything. Try to focus on the good. Remember you never know the whole story and that yours is unique and leading you somewhere. Try to shut down the comparison feelings and focus on doing you.
#5 Feed your soul
This might be light years ahead of something I would ever say or think. But I’ve realized the importance of finding some mindful activity that helps us relax and rest. While I’m back home, I often go for walks on the beach. This helps me clear my mind and focus on the environment around me. Last year, I started doing yoga, which helped a bit, but not fully. I was more focused on trying to do the poses than anything else. This year, I want to hand write a lot more. Releasing all my stress away through a pen.
#6 Do it for you
If I look back on my life, more often than not, my intuition was right. One thing I want to start doing recurrently is say yes to new adventures. I feel like I’ve done pretty well for myself on that front, but I can always say yes to more things. Of course, sometimes I lack resources – like money – but there’s always a way to do things.
#7 Say no
Another thing I’m learning. Saying no builds up your character and helps you distinguish the things you want to do from the things you don’t want to. So many times I said yes to a project that I later regret. Or did a favor I had no business doing. Learning to say no is key to being happier.
#8 Find small rituals
I’m a very anxious person and a control freak boarder line OCD. It’s not a fun combination but I deal with it. One of my personal tricks? Find small rituals I can count on every day. A cup of green tea every morning. Reading all my usual blogs. Going up and down the 9 floors of stairs in my building. Watch something new on Netflix – preferably a documentary. Find constant activities in your life to fall back on.
#9 Get rid of unnecessary clutter
And whatever that means for you. Whether you feel the need to declutter your closet, your life or your relationships. Around the apartment, I do it often. Not only we don’t have a lot of space, but there’s no need to keep things we won’t be using/wearing. And sometimes in my life as well. We accumulate people and, as we get older, their presence in our lives stop making sense. Don’t just have a relationship because. Find the ones that bring value into your life. And ultimately make you happy.
#10 Appreciate the small things
We all have a tendency to want bigger things to happen, instead of the small. I realized that, by being the opposite, I’m building up for the big things. I don’t take anything for granted. I love being in the moment and looking at it, instead of recording or taking a picture. When I’m having dinner with friends, I rarely touch my phone. Or if I’m having a conversation with someone, I refrain from doing it while on my phone. I feel like it’s a big disrespect. I feel grateful every time I witness a beautiful sunset, enjoy an amazing meal or hug my husband, father or brother. Because in the end, those are the moments you cherish.