Today I pondered, What does it mean to be happy? Sometimes, I need to remind myself of what makes me happy, so I do not get stuck in the “what ifs” or “whys” of life. I think of my husband, my children, and my grandchildren. I remind myself how lucky I am to have them and how fortunate I am that they are healthy. I have a job I enjoy and coworkers I love.
Sometimes I remind myself of my happiness. It helps to list the good things in life as a way to evaluate our accomplishments, blessings and overall well-being. You can write these in a diary. Some experts recommend keeping a gratitude journal. Or you can reflect on these things as a form of positive self-talk.
What does happiness mean to you? How do you define it?
Think about the things or people that bring you joy. What was your first thought? Often, we spend our time and emotional energy thinking about the whys and what ifs, losing our focus on the here and now. We lose the ability to be present in the moment and with the people around us who bring us joy. What can we do to be present, to find moments of happiness that turn into hours of happiness and then days of happiness? Take a moment to consider these things. How can you discover—even rediscover—these things and people that bring you joy?
I believe most people want to be happy. For some, it is not always easy. For others, it seems so natural. Is happiness found within the perfect job, finding love, helping others, time with family, financial stability, or getting what one desires most? If these things equate to happiness, what are you doing to accomplish these goals? Don’t let this question scare you, because some things are done in smaller steps and that is OK.
How can you find happiness in everyday moments? Let’s examine the things that frustrate or upset us. Imagine you are on your way to work. You get stuck in traffic or hit every red light and run late. Now, you are feeling annoyed. Now imagine your drive was easy. There is no traffic on the freeway, or you get a green light every time. Does this make you smile? Do you allow yourself to feel this moment? When we allow ourselves to pause in the moment, it becomes easier to find other moments in which we can be happy.
Happiness is not just about you. It can also come from the people you surround yourself with. Find positive people who can support positive emotions. Cultivating a support system of people who support your well-being is an important piece of discovering or rediscovering your happiness. Finding happiness is like developing a good habit. We practice it daily—like writing in a diary or journal—and work to maintain it. When you find it, even a small piece, build on that piece to make it bigger. Continue to focus on the things and the people that bring you joy.
If we can be happy, then how can we help other people find happiness? What do others need that we possess the ability to give to them? These things can be as simple as kindness, compassion, love and acceptance.
Remember: When we surround ourselves with happy people, this happiness spreads. If we share the things that help others find happiness, then we experience more of it in our lives. This isn’t a selfish act, but a way of making sure we prioritize emotional health for ourselves as well as for others. If we spread happiness to others, they will share it with others. This concept is not new, but is easily forgotten when negativity consumes us.
Make this a life goal: Seek more happiness in your daily life. Look for it. And when you find it, share it with others.