How to have a happier life
I know you might’ve heard the suggestion before that happiness is a decision. In other words, you can be having the worst day of your life but still decide to put your big girl pants on and paint a 100-watt smile onto your face. (I suppose the question then might be: is your happiness genuine? Hey, no doubt: sometimes it very well may be!)
But I think sometimes we put so much pressure, unilateral focus, and OCD-like obsession on how to have a happier life, achieving the ‘happy life’, on essentially being happy. Nonstop. All the time. 24/7.
And if we don’t achieve this type of happiness…if, say for instance, we’re not at all happy one morning–far from it, in fact–we suddenly decide ourselves failures. She has the perfect, happy life. His life is flawless. What’s so wrong with me that I can’t have that, too?
I’ve been there, stomach-flat in the trenches asking those very questions. As you may remember from a previous post, I’ve struggled with depression for over 10 years.
Sometimes it’s been a slave-driver; an oppressive ruler with an iron fist. Sometimes it’s been a waning ghost haunting the hallways of my subconscious. Sometimes, it’s even been a fleeting memory.
But the times when it’s overpowered me like a mighty tsunami, threatening to pull me under for longer than I could bear, I’ve asked myself: is there even such a thing as a happy life? More specifically, the type of happy life that’s uninterrupted by even the slightest hiccup of a less-than-stellar day?
And perhaps more dismal, I’d ask: am I a fraud for wanting to help people experience a more fulfilling life when there are days I don’t even want to get out of bed?
Looking at it without as much emotional attachment now, I can clearly see it’s a silly question. I am only human, right? As Evegeni Plushenko said in the 2014 Winter Olympics, “I’m not robot.” (God, I love that man).
So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be happy little robots the likes of the Stepford Wives?
I’m guessing it has something to do with comparing our lives to others (please save yourself from the Black Hole that is your Facebook newsfeed) but I also think we genuinely believe with every fiber of our being that a 24/7 happy life is possible–and that we shouldn’t stop at nothing until we achieve it. At least that’s what I’ve believed in the past.
But here’s what I realized. This idea (the 24/7 happy life) is complete baloney. Hogwash. Malarkey. Hooey. Poppycock. Or you know, just plain B.S.
That’s right: it doesn’t exist! And because it doesn’t exist, it’s not possible to achieve! No, don’t get despairing and ‘woe is me’ on me. It’s actually a liberating concept. It takes the pressure off!
Now here is the actual truth (read closely): a happy life isn’t achievable…only happy moments. That is, after all, what a happier life consists of, right? More happy moments.
Just like an ocean consists of a multitude of drops or a quilt is the interwoven compilation of thousands of threads, this dream life you’re looking for is actually built brick by brick by every-day happy moments.
Which is to say that the power is in your hands. So if you’re craving a happier life, here’s what you really need to do:
Ask yourself: what are my happy moments? What are those things that bring me supreme pleasure and joy?
Maybe it’s reading a book while the sun kisses your skin. Maybe it’s swinging lazily in a hammock. Maybe it’s a day at the beach. Maybe it’s having game night with friends. Maybe it’s shopping at the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. Maybe it’s a blind date with a bookish boy.
Then, once you’ve identified your happy moments, it’s time to be an architect for your dream life. It’s all about adding as many happy moments into your schedule as possible.
Is it really that simple, you ask? Why shouldn’t it be? Sometimes I think we overcomplicate the process toward a more fulfilling life but it doesn’t have to be that way.
When you make room in your life for more love, more pleasure, more comforts, and more happiness…it stands to reason that a happier life will follow.
Plus, on ‘those days’ when life is dismal and bleak, remember: it’s just a moment. And like all the other moments that make up your life: this, too, shall pass.
Better yet, you get to decide what the next moment feels like.
Isn’t that a relief?