Everyone seems to have a lot of advice on how to make it, how to find happiness, and how to be the best version of yourself. In all honesty, I think it’s a personal process, and one we each have to figure out on our own. I could make a long list of all the long lists I’ve read that allegedly have the keys to contentment, but I’m still striding along on my own path to figuring it out.
Given that information, this isn’t really advice or a guarantee of helpful information, so take everything with a grain of salt, if you take it at all. I only share because you never know what might help someone or spark an idea. Some of the articles I’ve read have had positive effects on me. They’ve reminded me of things I’ve known but forgotten, or provided new insights and inspirations, or broadened the scope of my thoughts, casting light in dim corners of my mind.
So, in the name of lists, here goes:
1. When something little makes you smile, something small and seemingly insubstantial, soak that moment up and give it your full attention. Make an effort to immerse yourself in those elusive and most pure moments of contentment. Those moments are fleeting and can’t be forced. Enjoy it, breathe it in, and try to remember something about it to lodge it in your memory. It can be nice to reflect back on a moment of calm when you’re feeling anything but.
2. Tell people who matter to you that they matter to you. It’s so simple and can mean so much, and yet we often forget to do it. It’s a great feeling for both parties. Life is too short and full of bullsh*t to not share good feelings and gratitude out loud. It also helps to avoid taking these people for granted, because as you remind them of their value in your life, you also remind yourself.
3. Find a hobby and nurture it. Be it running, writing, dancing, singing, whatever…carve out time for that hobby. You have to create your happiness in life and then protect and nurture it. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll realize that a hobby can be turned into a career, or at least be incorporated into your profession in some form.
4. Set small goals and stick to them. Make promises to yourself count; don’t back down on your word just because you only gave your word to yourself. Value the promise to yourself—both as the speaker and receiver of the promise. Even if it’s something insignificant in the scheme of things. If you say you’re gonna exercise Saturday morning, do it. Often easier said than done, but even if you only drag yourself on a fifteen minute jog around the block, you’ll probably feel a surge of positive energy afterward. It’s uplifting to trust yourself and it makes all your goals seem more attainable just to know that you can stick to something.
5. Take time to just…be. Sit quietly and enjoy silence and sunlight or whatever makes you feel serene. Let your thoughts settle and your mind relax and see what you reflect on when the chaos subsides.
6. Laugh laugh laugh. Whenever and wherever you can find humor, embrace it, especially if it comes in the form of a good belly laugh. Laughter is good for the soul and the abs.