By Megan Smiley, Mar 21 2017 04:35PM
With International Day of Happiness just been and in the never-ending quest for happiness, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes people, and me, happy. Yes, some people are just bubbly, happy people and others less so, and then some put on a front portraying happiness when that’s not actually the case behind closed doors. I wonder how many of those blissfully tranquil and happy Instagram posts are actually a vision of what that person strives for rather than what they actually have.
After some thought on how to achieve the happiest version of myself, I’ve decided that basically you should ‘Just Do It’ (to steal Nike’s 80s tag-line). ‘It’ being whatever makes you happy, obviously within reason. I’m not suggesting doing something completely crazy that makes you happy short-term and leaves you stranded and miserable long-term. Think little things that can be incorporated into your existing life without too much impact on your constraints e.g. time, money, health, obligations etc.
For me eating, drinking and spending time with friends makes me happy, but there’s only so much of that you can do, and I already do a fair bit of it! Plus the more I do of it the more I have increasingly guilty feelings about spending too much money and eating and drinking too much. Also, being active, exercising and playing sport make me very happy but I’m pretty much at the limit of what I can realistically do with that at the moment.
But there are other, more guilt free doable things like buying flowers, lighting a scented candle, having a massage, sitting having a coffee in the sunshine. All of these are pretty achievable without breaking the bank or cancelling prior commitments and are healthy for both the mind and body. However, these are things I often forget about or don’t get round to doing. So I’m going to start telling myself to ‘Just Do It’.
The other side of the happiness conundrum I think is solved by stopping doing what you don’t like. Now this one is a little trickier and again I’m talking within reason. There will no doubt always be some parts of life that you don’t enjoy and there are those bits that you don’t look forward to but then when you do them you actually quite enjoy. Both of these I think you should carry on doing.
So which bits am I talking about then? Well it’s again the little things. Those things you dislike that you could change without it having a drastic effect on anything other than your happiness. For example, you hate the post-work trip to the supermarket, do an online shop and freeze bits so the shop can last you all week (it’s amazing what you can freeze). You hate spending two hours at the weekend cleaning the house, get a cleaner. Yes, it will cost you a bit of money but if it’ll make you happier...
Why don’t you write a list of the little things that make you happy and the things that don’t, and try to make some small and gradual changes to make life that little bit happier! I’ve got my list done, and I’m going to ‘Just Do It’!