"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy." - Guillaume Apollinaire
After five rounds of interviews, you still didn’t get the job. After five years together, your relationship still failed. After five trips to the mechanic, your car still broke down. When life doesn’t go as planned, even after so many tries, it’s easy to want to give up on your pursuit of happiness.
But giving up is never the answer. But giving in is.
Happiness is the ultimate goal for many. But it can be hard to be or stay happy. For some of us, the struggle is real. For others, happiness is simply an illusion.
Like an old film playing from a projector, we replay stories in our heads of times gone sour instead of focusing on sweeter memories. We tell ourselves that the days of being happy are for the young and the beautiful and that those days are gone. Life has gotten hard, and we have gotten old.
Don't make excuses or keep telling yourself the same old stories that hold you back. You deserve whatever you desire. You deserve happiness at every stage of your life.
Yes, it's hard to find happiness. So, find happiness wherever you can. Don't expect it to be given to you; find happiness by looking within. In other words, you don't extract a life out of happiness; you extract happiness out of your life.
Find happiness in your passions. Happiness can be derived from intentional activities. The things that bring you joy are your sources of happiness. Happiness isn’t this big ultimate destination. There’s no big finish line, aha moment, or tickertape parade when you get there.
Happiness is found in the simple things in your everyday life. From your morning latte and your favorite flavor of ice cream to your favorite football team, hugs from your friends, and the things you love to do on the weekends, happiness is in your passions. Engaging in your passions regularly can help cultivate happiness. The more you do the things you love, the happier you can be.
Of course, it takes time and effort. It takes intention. We are responsible for our own happiness. Instead of relying on others to make us happy, we are in charge of our own happiness. While we can’t do everything we love to do every second of every day, we can practice without expectations.
Whenever you’re feeling blue, try to do at least one thing you enjoy to shift your mood and turn your day around. Call your best friend, eat your favorite food, or watch something that makes you laugh. Repeat as often as necessary.
Find happiness in gratitude. Happiness can be derived from how you choose to appreciate your life. Training your mind to see the positive or the things that make your life good helps cultivate happiness. Therefore, the things you are most grateful for are your sources of happiness.
Who or what makes your life better? Who makes you feel safe, secure, loved, and important? Who makes time to listen to you or to lend you a helping hand? Who makes you smile or laugh? What makes you feel good? Is it good weather, a good book, a funny movie, or being remembered on your birthday?
Express gratitude to those you appreciate for making your life better. Keep a gratitude journal to track every time you feel grateful. Doing so helps shift your mindset when you need it most. The more things you find to be grateful for, the more reasons you’ll find to be happy.
Find happiness in your memories. Happiness can be derived from your favorite memories. Create a list of your top 10 moments in your life when you felt on top of the world. Go back in your memory bank and withdraw a moment when you felt lighter and brighter. Focus on a time when you felt content, satisfied, or pleased with yourself or your life.
How old were you? Where were you? What were you doing, and who were you with? What did you accomplish, achieve, or overcome?
Don’t undervalue your accomplishments or the pride you felt when you achieved greatness or overcame difficult times. You deserve recognition, even if it is just self-recognition. Being recognized for your achievements and feeling good about yourself are sources of happiness. They build self-worth, self-esteem, and confidence.
Replay these happy moments in your mind. To strengthen the memory, write it out. Seek every fine detail. Allow your emotions to flood your body and the feel-good vibrations take over as you relive the experience. Even if you can’t remember as many details as you’d like, allow yourself to get lost in the moment. Then, ask yourself how you could recreate it or these feelings.
Can you contact someone in this memory and reminisce together? Are there photos that capture this moment? Can you do something similar to help you capture the happiness you felt?
If you loved your wedding day, can you renew your vows? If you loved traveling, can you take a new trip or go on a road trip? If you used to love dancing, can you take dance lessons or schedule a night of dancing with your friends?
When you find something that makes you happy, hold onto it for as long as you can. And when you’re having a bad day, review these lists.
Ultimately, happiness is not something you find; it is something you create. Create happiness every day by focusing on the things that matter most, and choose to be happy for having have them in your life - your passions, favorite memories, and reasons to be grateful.
Be happy for every moment you get to do things or be with people you enjoy. Draw upon these moments in times you’re feeling blue. This practice can help you create your happiest you.