Happiness is a funny thing if you really think about it. We always seem to be in search of it, and we assume others have found it. Yet the truth is it’s not a destination we reach or a place we get to. The next big thing in our lives will not necessarily bring us long-term happiness, but we somehow always think we are just one step away. There is joy and happiness in your life right now, but you may not be able to find it. Here are six things you can do right now to find happiness in your life.
1. Live in the present
Many of us live through our past challenges over and over again. We see them so clearly, as if they are happening to us right now. Even if the pain is decades old, we live in that moment and it guides our thoughts. Situations that are happening right now feel like direct repercussions of that moment from our past.
Living your life in the present is an important step to finding happiness. Being present in your life means you are able to see what’s right in front of you. Maybe the sun is shining or the birds are singing, and noticing that may just bring a smile to your face. It’s amazing how something so small can affect you if you let it.
When you start to feel yourself focusing on the past or dwelling on past mistakes, stop yourself. Find something right in front of you that is good.
2. Start a journal
When you are living in the present, you will start to notice small things all around you that make you smile. You will become more aware of the people and things in your life that bring you joy. Whenever and wherever you find happiness in your life, write it down.
I challenge you to get a journal, a notebook, or just a stack of paper stapled together. Start writing down three things you notice during the day that make you smile. Knowing that you are going to write things down will help you notice more and more of the small things. The more you notice, the more joy you will find.
3. Control your stress
Stress is an incredible force in our lives. There is so much stress that feeds our brains daily. We worry about family, friends, work, politics, the news, and so much more. Although there is no way to turn these outside forces off, we can change our reaction.
Start by creating a map or diagram of all the things that cause you stress in any of those categories above or others I didn’t mention. Once you can identify the things that cause you stress, you can start to work on strategies to mitigate the stress.
Next to each stress trigger on your map, write down one of the things that make you happy. Whenever something triggers stress, focus on that happy thought. The more consistent you are identifying a happy thought during a moment of stress, the easier it will be to shift away from the stress and find happiness.
4. Control your thoughts
Guess who your biggest critic is? Nope, it’s not your mother or your mother-in-law, it’s you. You may think you are being hard on yourself to create motivation. The truth is, however, that all of that negative self-talk is detrimental to your mind.
If you tell yourself over and over that you are fat, then you are going to feel like you are fat. You are going to act, dress, and yes, even eat like you are fat. Whenever you start to make progress on your diet, you will sabotage your efforts by reminding yourself that you are, in fact, fat.
Figure out what negative self-talk you are using. Start really paying attention to the words you tell yourself. If those words are ones you would never utter to your best friend, then stop saying them to yourself. Then find something to tell yourself that is inspiring and joyful.
Whenever you start to hear those evil words in your brain, stop yourself. Then repeat the inspiring and joyful things that you think about yourself.
5. Smile more
This last action step I have for you is probably the easiest and the hardest all at the same time. When you are living in the present, writing joyful things in your journal, easing your stress, and controlling your thoughts you will start to feel better. Start smiling more and all of those things will have even more power.
It may be a tough obstacle to feel joyful all the time, but forcing a smile on your face is actually pretty easy. Putting that smile on every day, even when you are feeling less than your best, will tell your mind that it’s okay. Your body is more aware than your mind, so let your body rule and face that smile.
This one small technique was one that I applied to my life and I completely credit it with empowering me to overcome sadness and truly find happiness.
6. Let joy in
Let joy into your life, because it is literally all around you. You just have to open your eyes and find happiness.