So often people go through their entire lives searching for happiness.
It’s funny because happiness is so totally abstract. It’s like a Salvador Dali seen for the first time by a middle school student in art class.
Happiness is like a symphony heard for the very first time. Or a string of stars spread across the sky.
But what’s most important is that happiness is real and tangible. It’s something you don’t have to seek because it is within you.
Here are ten tips to find that happiness within you:
I think happiness has a lot to do with brain chemistry and endorphins. The human body was meant to move. Whether it is a brisk walk, a daily trip to the gym, or a salsa class- get out there and move and you will be that much closer to happy.
My mother always used to say, “just believe.” I know it sounds cheesy but there is such a strength that comes with believing in yourself. So often we are our own worst enemies. Sometimes you have to just stop beating yourself up and say, “yes I am worth it and yes I believe in myself.” Then watch as the doors begin to open.
3. Be Creative
When we are young we are told to express ourself and paint with our fingers and dance in the rain. Then all of a sudden when we grow up- it all stops. We put on our business suits and start on our morning commute and slowly watch as our creativity begins to die. But it doesn’t have to be that way! We must write and sing and dance and create works of art. We must be creative to feed our souls. My friend Ta-Shana recently shared this excellent article with me called, Find What You Love and Let it Kill You, by James Rhodes. In it he muses on how society has led us to believe that drowning ourselves in reality TV and suffering through the 9 to 5 was “normal.” In a way, he says, that’s just one form of dying. He’d rather find what he loves (music) and let it kill him.
4. Talk to Strangers
Some of the most beautiful and compelling advice I have ever received has come from complete strangers. Whenever you have the chance to speak to someone near you, do so. Brighten someone’s day or have them brighten yours. We all have our burdens to bear and sometimes a simple kind word or act can go a long way. Obviously, exercise caution and trust your instincts. There are always evil people out there. But when you can, and in the right moments, talk to strangers.
Close your eyes and listen to yourself. Do this in the morning. Let the thoughts whirl around your head for a moment and then stop them. Focus on something inside yourself that you want to fix. Think about the ways to solve this problem. Or think about how you want to do more good in the world. Or think about all the things you are thankful for. Whatever it is, take 10 to 15 minutes to meditate every day. You will quickly notice that these quiet moments are really the most cherished. And they won’t just change your day, they will change your life.
6. Cook From Scratch
That’s why cooking at home is so important. Even if you make the same foods that you eat at the restaurant, at least you know what is in it.
Remember how good your grandmother’s food was? That was was because she probably cooked from scratch. For 4 hours.
Ok, so we don’t have that kind of time anymore. But we do have time to shop for fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and cook the nutrient dense foods that can not only transform our bodies…but makes us happy too!
7. Take Up a Hobby
This week, my husband bought a keyboard. And even though I thought it was the stupidest idea at first, I have been playing with it ever since. There is something about having a hobby that is totally uplifting and awesome. It takes you away from the real world for a minute and thrust you into this land of your own. And you can become completely obsessed and no one will mind (don’t become a hoarder though, that’s not such a great hobby). And if you get on twitter, you will probably find a whole bunch of nuts just like you who are going wild over their hobby. It’s hobby happiness!
8. Plant a Tree
There is something extremely calming about gardening. As you shove your hands into the earth and feel the sun beat down on your back, how can you not feel happy in those blissful moments? What’s more is you can watch your plants or trees grow and know that it was you who planted the seed.
Giving back to others is really important nourishment to the soul. There are so many people and animals and communities in need in this world. By doing something good for mankind or for our animal friends, you will feel a stronger (and more spiritual) sense of satisfaction than you have with anything material. So volunteer when you can, and make a difference.
10. Get a Pet
I have a friend who has battled depression for several years. She recently got a cat. He is the cutest thing. And I saw the spark light up in her eyes like I hadn’t in many years, and the happiness in her voice.
Pets can be our very best friends. They never judge. They are always happy to see us. And they stay by our sides through thick and thin.
I love my Lola. She makes me happy on a constant basis. She makes me laugh. And on most mornings on our walks around the neighborhood, she is smiling from ear to ear…
Just to let me know she feels the exact same way.