The Good Life: How to be Happy and Stay That Way
It's important to be happy in life and how to get there is the secret most seek. We have found some secrets to happiness that we feel obligated to share with you. It has helped us immensly in our journey as it will in yours.
Let's first clarify the two kinds of happiness we will be addressing. "Earned Happiness" and "Living Happiness." We feel you need to have both to be fulfilled.
College is tough. Most college students will probably wholeheartedly agree with you. However, college is worth it for most. It's where the hours of studying, projects, late nights, caffeine binges and sacrifices pay off.
The moment a student walks across the stage, a sudden mixture of intense emotions may surface. Over time they might look back with pride and accomplishment. As the years pass, happiness may surface, providing fulfillment long after its completion. This type of happiness is beautiful because it can be relived over and over. This is "Earned Happiness."
Earned Happiness is just that, you have to work for it. It can't be given. To help gain Earned Happiness we have 3 practices that will lead you to truly being happy.
Take care of your basic needs
What are your basic needs? The most basic needs are food and shelter. The stress of putting food on the table and paying the rent month after month is mentally taxing. When these essentials are covered, you can focus on what matters most to you. This thought flows into our second practice...
Have an End-state
What really matters to you? Take a moment to really think about that. What is the most perfect scenario you see for yourself? Imagine every minute of your perfect day. What would you be doing? Who would be with? How would you be spending your time? This is what we will be striving towards to find our happiness.
In this modern world, we are blessed yet cursed with the option to be ANYTHING we want. The difficult part is deciding.
The decision you make right now may not be your end-state a year from now, but this is where we begin.
The key is to start. Just make a choice. Any action is better than no action. If it's not the right choice, that's fine. At the very least, you will learn what you don't want. You'll be that much more closer and more experienced for your next decision.
Here is a great article on how you can build a meaningful life. I think it's brilliant. We implemented this concept into our own lives. Once you have your end-state, plan backwards with actionable steps to get you there. (A blog post on that coming soon).
Now that you know what you want to do, in comes the hard work. Many insignificant acts over time need to be completed before you can get to that "graduation" moment of happiness.
We couldn't talk about happiness without talking about helping others.
You feel good when you help others. Give back to people that have influenced you positively in your life. Write them a letter, make them something, do them a favor.
Have a heart of appreciation and gratitude and it will be paid back to you ten fold. Earning respect is earning happiness.
Marcus Aurelius wrote: "Life's happiness, depends on the quality of your thoughts". You can't control what happens to you, but you can control how you react.
Take a person that lives in a remote place on earth. They have shelter for their family, and just enough resources to eat and drink. Yet, they have the most happiness for they control their thoughts.
This also proves that material things aren't the secret to happiness. Living Happiness is a mindset. It's the inner you.
As cliche as it always sounds, being optimistic is key to your happiness. The future is unknown. Knowing to your core that good things will happen, will have a profound effect on the choices you make in life.
Often an overlooked variable in your happiness are your surroundings. What kind of people do you hang out with? Do they uplift you?
Surround yourself with people that will help you along your journey. They might be people that you emulate or people that support you. You are the product of the five people you hang out with most.
What information do you surround yourself with? Books, television and the internet have subtle ways of changing the way you look at things. The information you let in should be congruent with your goals?
Relationships are wonderful things to have in your life. They are there for you when you need support as well as making your happiest moments even happier.
Part of being in a relationship is giving back to them. Send a quick message to say you were thinking about them. Ask them how they've been. We often think of how they can help us, however, a higher quality relationship might include how we can help them.
Relationships don't have to be exclusively in person. An online relationship is a great way to reach people that aren't close to you. For instance, someone you look up to and motivates you. You can reach out via email to contact them and build a relationship to help you along your journey.
In The Moment
Having the right people in your life, surrounding yourself with the right things, and optimism, will surely lead to happiness?
Well, yes and no. You have to live in the moment as well. That's the big secret to Living Happiness. When you are at your family's house, be present. When you are at the beach, be present. Be fully present.
Kids are the best at living in the moment. Look at how they play outside without a care in the world. Maybe in some way, being a big kid is the secret to happiness.
While your mundane tasks at work cause your mind to drift, are you happy? Probably not. You may be thinking of all the things instead of work, is that living in the moment?
Focus on one thing at a time. True happiness is when your mind, body and soul are in balance. This means what you are think about and what you are doing is in synchronization.
Enjoy the time with your friends. Don't get sidetracked with distractions in the down times. Savor your next meal, wonder where it came from. Appreciate those moments, then let it pass. For another moment, just as good, will come along.
Enjoy everything as much as you can. There's no rush. Schedule yourself things to do. Boredom may lead to unhappiness. Stay busy with positive things.
When you walk into a bakery, you are welcomed with the overwhelming scent of freshly baked bread. The longer you stay; the more desensitized you are to the smell.
Happiness is the same way. Happiness has an expiration. You'll lose your sense of happiness after a while. Appreciate this fact because life would be boring if you only had happiness. Live in the moment and strive for those "graduation" moments. Continue to walk in and out of the bakery.
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