1. Explore your great obsessions.
If something takes up so much space in your heart that you can’t stop thinking about it, you owe it to yourself to explore your new obsession. Do the things that make you happy. Follow your curiosity. Prioritize your joy. What have you been longing to explore? Make plans to investigate it further. Try taking time for the things you’re interested in once a day. Five minutes of research. Five minutes of reading. Five minutes of your new hobby. Five minutes of self-care journaling. It doesn’t have to take a long time or cost a lot of money. But it can really refuel your self-care gas tank.
2. Be flexible.
If you’ve been alive more than a year you probably know that things don’t always go the way we want. I’m not advocating for settling in life, but I do believe that when we know and accept that life is ever-changing, we can approach the various events, ups, and downs with a thankful spirit. Know that just because something doesn’t turn out the way you planned, it doesn’t always mean that what you planned STILL can’t work out. You just might need an alternate plan.
3. Slow down!
Have you ever had a moment when you’d been pushing so hard and at such a high speed through your demands that you’ve gotten sick? Or had a case of exhaustion? Or ended up having some kind of accident? These are all signs that you need to slow down. That you need to take time for yourself, for your healing. But what if you didn’t have to get sick to figure that out? What if you didn’t have to have a drastic excuse in order to take your time? Instead of squeezing every last event into your schedule, and wearing yourself out, try saying no to some things that aren’t essential.
Everything doesn’t have to happen right away. Anticipation can be just as fun as immediate gratification.
4. Embrace change.
If we take a minute to look around at the world, we would notice that nothing lasts forever. Everything changes. Everything transforms. Leaves, weather, buildings, traffic… even our faces change! Change is the natural state of the universe. So why do we resist it so much?
If we look at the definition of the word change, something really interesting pops up: “(of the moon) arrive at a fresh phase; become new.” To become new! If we began to see every change in our life as an opportunity to become new, could we learn to love changes? I think it’s possible.
5. Appreciate your fear.
Feel your fear completely. Earlier today I came across a small video clip of Will Smith talking about what it’s like to sky dive. He talks about being so afraid the night before - being consumed by worry. He talks about feeling totally crazy for even considering jumping out of a plane. He talks about being afraid when getting into the plane the next day. Feeling even more concerned when you’re going up into the air. Until the moment when you get pushed out of the plane, and you’re actually flying. He says that moment is complete bliss.
He asks why we’re so afraid leading up to that moment of complete bliss. Why do we spend our time the night before freaking out? Why do we waste our precious time worrying about something that hasn’t happened? Why can’t we accept that we have no idea what’s going to happen the next day?
The video made me wonder why we spend so much of our lives afraid. We all have to do things before we’re ready to do them. We all go into new situations unprepared. There’s only so much research someone can do. Somethings you have to experience firsthand. Somethings can’t be explained through language.
So accept the fact that you’re going to be afraid of some things. If you want it bad enough, train yourself to define fear as a good thing. Let fear be your motivation. Every time it shows up, get happy. Get excited. Bliss is coming your way.
6. Rewrite your story.
So let’s say you’re having a bad day. You’re upset because your job is dumb. You’re worried about money. You’re stressed because someone betrayed you. You hit your toe on the sofa and now it’s swollen… Whatever is it that made you upset, you know that your feelings aren’t directly related to that event, right? You’re usually upset because of what you think that event MEANS. So you hit your toe on the sofa and now you believe the rest of your day is going to suck because you can’t put your shoe on right and walking hurts.
What if you decided to rewrite that story? What if you decided that you hurting your toe meant that you got to take a second to sit on the sofa and meditate? What if you decided that hurting your toe meant you got to have an extra moment with someone you love because they brought you ice and you were so thankful for that? What if you decided that you could appreciate the pain because it meant that you get to go through the healing process?
You get to decide what the events of your life mean. “Bad” events don’t always mean that your experience has to be bad. If you let go of your expectations and allow room for new, better possibilities to enter your life, you take your power back. You take your authority back. And you take ownership of your happiness.
7. Cultivate trust.
You’ve survived every single day until now, right? Trust that you’ll make it through today too. Believe that you can choose to make the day something exciting to you. Ask yourself what it would take for you to crack a smile right now? Be honest, too. Don’t answer with some extravagant thing like you need to fly across the world and see a brand new country.
My husband is really good at snapping me out of moments of frustration. He’ll send me a silly cat video out of the blue, and he won’t stop texting me until I respond to the video (because he knows I’ll ignore it if I’m too in my head.) And for just a second, the cat video sparks some kind of joy in my heart. I might not break into a slapping-my-knee-laugh, but at the very least, I’ll crack a smile. And then in that moment, I’m so thankful for him and his silly cat video obsession. And I didn’t even have to travel across the world to find my moment of joy.
So maybe what you need to find your happiness isn’t as complicated as you think it is. Trust in your ability to always come back to yourself. Trust in your ability to choose joy and love over fear.
8. Stop resisting the way things are.
Occasionally, we aren't upset because life is changing too much. Instead, we're frustrated because things are staying the same and we don't like what's happening in the present moment. But at this point, we can always return to a sense of calm and hope - because we know that things are always in flux. Even if they seem like they've been the same for years, we know that tomorrow will be a new day.
We know that things have a possibility to change for the better. We can relax in the present moment because we know it won't last. And when we let go of that resistance, when we release the need to push against what's currently happening, we can relax. We can actually find a bit of joy in the most tense situations.
9. Practice mindfulness.
Being in the moment can change your life. We’re so often caught up in things that haven’t happened yet (both “good” and “bad”). But our lives aren’t happening in the future. We are alive right now. We are breathing right now. And if we can turn our attention to the present moment, to our physical surroundings, to our tangible bodies, we can learn to appreciate so much more than goals and accomplishments. We can learn to truly love life.
10. Believe in magic.
When nothing else seems to be working out, we have to put our faith in magic - in experiences that take our breath away, in people who warm our hearts, in music that makes our skin tingle, in the idea that the world has so much beauty to offer if we just open our eyes. And if that’s the only happiness you can find today, let that be enough for now.
And if you loved this, please share it with your loved ones! I'd be so thankful.