Happiness is something we all want. I mean, we can have all these lofty goals and aspirations. But in the end, doesn’t it all come down to being happy? The simple things are the ones that matter. So lately I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness.
I used to think that being happy happened when life went well. And if life wasn’t going well, I had good reasons to be unhappy. But the older I get, the more I realize that happiness is something I create. Not something I wait to happen.
How I crashed into a lesson in happiness
In the last six weeks I’ve been in two car crashes. I was rear-ended both times. And while I was so thankful I wasn’t seriously hurt, I was really down after my second crash. I had just gotten my car out of the shop from the first time.
So, in the middle of being down, I asked myself what life lesson did this provide. What could I gain from this experience? The universe was crashing into me, surely trying to tell me something. So what was I not able to hear?
And I realized that the universe was teaching me about control. I don’t have control over someone hitting me from behind. I don’t get a say in whether or not they have adequate insurance. And there are many other areas in my life where I don’t have complete control. And am I really going to let myself get down over everything that’s out of my power?
I do my best in life
I imagine most of us do. And many times it feel like doing your best isn’t enough. Because life doesn’t always go the way you want. But the true test of happiness isn’t about being happy when things are perfect. Because life is fluid and moments of perfection are usually temporary.
The test is to create happiness when handed lemons. Because lemons can be the reality in life. But what’s the point of life if it isn’t happiness? So here’s my list of ways to get happy right now, no matter your life circumstances.
15 ways to keep your happiness when life hands you lemons
- Journal the positives. Even when there’s bad, there’s also good.
- Remember the things you love. The things we most cherish can be taken for granted
- Write down your wins. Sometimes in life we lose and sometimes we win. It’s up to you to decide where you place your focus.
- Create a vision board and place it somewhere you’ll see it often. Just another way to focus on happiness.
- Smile. The musculo-skeletal act of smiling really does alter connections in your brain and can lead to happiness. Studies prove it!
- Hug someone. Don’t have a person to hug? Hug an animal or even a stuffed animal. Studies show that just the act of hugging reduces cortisol levels, even if it isn’t another human.
- Schedule time for sleep like it’s your job. Being well rested is essential for feeling good.
- Find a new hobby. Do something not for any type of accomplishment, but just because it feels good.
- Build happiness into your environment. Fill your personal space with things that make you happy, and this will help your emotions follow.
- Eat well. (You knew I’d say that one.) Junk food can cause temporary happiness. But nourishing yourself helps you feel better in your body and in your life.
- Watch the sunrise or the sunset. Just watching something beautiful can improve your mood and remind you of everyday miracles.
- Take a walk. Moving at a brisk pace can help release endorphins and lift your mood.
- Volunteer. Helping others can increase life satisfaction. And in turn, can make your happier.
- Remind yourself that you can handle shit. You’ve surely survived obstacles in your past. You’ll do it in the future. And this makes you a winner.
- Focus on your breath. You’re alive and that’s pretty awesome
Happiness is a choice, not a destination
Getting hit twice in a short period was a reminder for me that I’m not in control. And that made me feel like I didn’t have power my own happiness. But sometimes we need less than perfect situations to remind us that we have to create happiness. We can’t just wait for it to happen.
There are times in life when everything magically falls into place. And happiness comes easy. But during those other times, it’s up to us to make choices that lead to happiness.
So I challenge you to do at least one thing a day that helps you choose happiness. Because, if you have the choice, why aren’t you choosing to be happy?