“Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.” Jim Rohn
Growing up I thought that happiness was something that happened to me, cause and effect. My mom gave me ice cream, I was happy. Unfortunately, this meant my happiness was always dependent on someone else.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product of a life well lived.”
If Happiness is a choice and the by-product of a life well lived, then happiness is not dependent upon someone else, but rather, within my control. Whether a life is well lived largely comes down to the choices one makes, particularly the things on which we choose to focus, how we elect to see the world.
I realized that while I had a readily available mental list of the things that annoy me or frustrate me, I didn’t have the same clarity for the things that make me happy. If happiness is a choice, then I thought it worthwhile to be certain of the things on which I could focus that would make me happy.
It was an enjoyable exercise pondering the particulars of what brings a smile to my face, a sense of contentedness to my soul. After much deliberation, I have come to the following list of things that always make me happy:
1. I love to motivate people, to inspire them, to provide a positive example in this world; and I get often asked how I keep being so confident, optimistic and motivated all the time.
The answer is helping others.
Sure, I have and I encourage Positive Habits that make your life better because we are what we do daily. But I strongly believe compassion is the noblest feeling you can put in your heart. Compassion is the purest because you give something expecting nothing in return. It’s a fuel for unconditional love, it’s a fuel for gratitude, it’s a fuel for the ability to see hope in future. Acts of kindness don’t have to be big to be meaningful. Small donations, listening to somebody with a lot of troubles on their heart, a nice meal for that kid you’ve seen on the streets; these acts of kindness might seem small, but that’s how we give shape for our love for God.
2. Being loved: while I can cut negativity away from my life, I love being surrounded by positive people who support me and love me for what I am, who I am. I love my family and friends passionately in return. I didn’t know what love was like until I experienced it. Having such strong feelings about another person shook me to my core. It made me re-evaluate my beliefs. I learned what it was like to really care about someone. Everything I had believed, everything I stood for, suddenly disappeared. I found a whole new world opened up for me. I was no longer closed-minded. I became a yes person. I learned the meaning of never say never. I had a new outlook on life. Being loved makes you feel inspired. It gives you a can-do attitude that you can approach anything, anywhere, anytime. Being in love gives you motivation. Your attitude is optimistic and always positive.
3. Writing: When I took to writing I had no idea I could write as much. I had no idea how creative I was or how it was going to one day become what I love doing. As I wrote, not only did I reach my readers who related to me and connected, it healed me also. When I write, I share a little piece of my soul. And nothing makes me happier than giving back to the world that has already given me so much. I write to take all the terror, tragedy, comedy and banality of life and wrestle it into something I can understand. Writing is a wonderful way to discover and experience life’s pains and joys. Writing is an amazing tool to deal with pain and find God’s comfort in the midst of it. Writing is a way to discover and express fun and creativity. … Writing makes me feel happy because it helps me to connect with my inner feelings and share those feelings with others to, hopefully, help them to understand life better and to not feel alone.
4. Traveling: Nothing opens your horizons more than traveling. The world is huge though I am still on my journey. Travel enhances your mental well-being. Whether you are travelling for business, or on a one-week family holiday, or have to pursue a life on the road, travelling can make you a happier person by building self-confidence, providing new experiences and memories. Here are the reasons why travelling makes me happier:
- Being away makes you appreciate home and family: Being away from things we often take for granted — family, close friends, home — makes us appreciate them more.
- You find self-confidence by dealing with unexpected situations: There comes a time when everyone must deal with an unexpected situation when they are on the road. Whatever happens, there is a way around the problem and knowing that you can deal with these situations is a big boost to self-confidence and therefore your happiness.
- You make new friends: It’s much easier to make new friends on the road than it is at home, where people are less inclined to chat to strangers on a cab or strike up conversation in a coffee shop. When people are away from home, there seem to be less boundaries to cross and making friends becomes much easier.
- Getting some ‘you’ time: Our breathing space is often lost in our usual day-to-day existence. Travel helps revive that space. Having a moment to take advantage of peace and quiet and to simply ‘be’ allows us to let go of stress and tension and just enjoy being in the moment.
- Sunshine while travelling generally puts us in a better mood: You enjoy and feel sunshine more when you are travelling. And of course sunshine and warmth generally place us in a much better mood. Though, this is more of a short-term boost, but a healthy glow makes everyone feel better and that lasts for a few weeks even after the trip is over.
5. Shopping: Studies have shown that shopping actually causes your brain to release more Serotonin, which is a chemical that makes you feel good! So there you go. The next time you are having a bad day, maybe you can seek a mood boost with a little shopping.
- It takes your mind off things: Shopping takes time and concentration whether it is being done online or in your favorite store. You have to think about what you want or need and then find the most appropriate item to meet your requirements. You are focused on what you desire and not on the stressors in your life
- It boosts your confidence: A beautiful dress or the perfect shade of nail polish can make you feel amazing. No one would argue that. There is nothing wrong with letting a new item give you a little boost now and again, but do be careful to not let the things you own be the only way you can feel good about yourself. Yes you look good in that outfit, but you are amazing either way!
- You are in control : You are the one calling the shots when you walk into a store. The clerks are there to help you out and you are the one making all of the decisions. Everyone likes to be in charge now and again. If you have been feeling like everything is out of your control lately, a day of shopping could help with the frustration.
- You get to spend time with people you love: If you are like me, you probably like to invite your best friend, mom, sister or partner along with you. We all know that time with your favorite people can make you feel good and remind you what is important.
- It’s is gratifying: Some of the studies about shopping and happiness suggest that simply wanting an item without ever purchasing it can make you feel good. But we all know from experience that finally purchasing that item is so satisfying.
- It’s can contribute to your self image: The way you present yourself to the outside world is important. You are creating an outwardly projected image of yourself with every item you purchase. Effectively creating the image you want to feels good.
- It is refreshing: Everyone likes having new things every now and again. Whether you want to bring a new look to a room or your wardrobe, shopping to incorporate something new into your life is always refreshing.
We can’t be happy all the time because life will always throw things our way that make us feel sad, hurt, angry, frustrated and scared. One thing I’ve learned, though, is that during these times, there’s always something you can do to get the happiness vibes going. The good thing is that most of them aren’t difficult or expensive.
If you need a pick-me-up, try doing something from my list. Better yet, take some time to come up with your own happiness list and refer to it whenever you need a boost. You’ll be surprised how little it can take sometimes to turn your mood around.