A few nights ago I was reflecting on life in general. Who doesn’t do that from time to time? So there I was, staring out into the forest and thinking about life and how I could make it better.
The epiphany I came to during this round of self-reflection was that for as long as I can remember, I have been a happiness seeker. And in that process of seeking happiness, I often get very close but never quite 100%. This is not to say that life has been bad, or that I am sad. To the contrary. Instead, it reflects some deep insecurity that makes me think that things could be better and if I don’t keep searching, I will miss out.
I do not think this is unusual for type A’s such as myself. We have our happy moments and boom, the next day becomes mundane and we are back in happiness-seeking mode. Nuts, right?
Since happiness is one of the tenets of living a strategic life, I decided to come up with a list of ways to be happier during those times when life gets boring, or difficult, or simply routine and mundane.
7 Things You Can Do Now to Create Happiness
1. Make someone else happy.
This is number one on my list because it works. Over and over again I have found my happy place by doing something nice for people who don’t have a lot to look forward to. Talking with someone who is lonely and listening to their stories, issuing a compliment, or simply spreading good energy with a smile will all contribute to your happiness quotient.
2. Celebrate more.
Let’s face it. Life day to day is routine and the older you get, the greater the likelihood that the sameness of living will become boring. The answer to that sameness is to celebrate more. Turn little accomplishments and victories into big ones.
My latest little victory celebration? Making the best darn baby back ribs you ever ate! Hint: I used an Instant Pot.
3. Step out of your comfort zone.
Forget about failure and empower yourself to do something new and challenging. I do this with my adult coloring, perfecting my art (and yes, I call it art) to the point where a single drawing can take 20 or 30 hours to complete. A couple of years ago I started both dancing and acting in front of real, paying audiences. Talk about jumping out of my comfort zone! Now I look forward to it. Surely you have something you have wanted to try but have held yourself back out of fear.
Why not tip-toe outside of the bubble you have created for yourself and give it a try?
4. Get a good night’s sleep when you are tired.
There is no shame is going to bed early when you are tired. For most of my life, I have been sleep deprived, wearing my lack of sleep as a badge of success. Now I know better and acknowledge that sleep is necessary not only to good health, but to a calm disposition, and a happy outlook on life.
5. Put down the phone, tablet, and other gizmos for at least three hours a day.
The Internet is addictive. Whether your drug of choice is Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, Netflix, or YouTube, enough is enough. Grab a book, walk your dog, get out your favorite hobby, or simply share a cup of coffee or adult beverage with a loved one.
Discover life in real-time for at least a few hours a day and preferably more.
6. Spend more time with yourself.
In the past, I have written about the importance of “me time“. Some may call it selfish, but I am a firm believer that you should call a timeout on activity and social events so that you can relax and recharge your internal batteries. On a personal level, I have become an expert at this and you should too.
7. Make plans so you have something to look forward to
When all you have to look forward to is the same old, same old, life can become pretty bland. Plan to do something special a few weeks or a few months out and then take steps to ensure that when the time comes, you are totally prepared to kick back and have a blast. In the old days, I would plan elaborate vacations on cruise ships, creating memories of traveling the world that I still cherish. These days, I plan and look forward to camping trips and dance events. Nothing overly fancy, mind you, but definitely memory-making and a heck of a lot of fun.
The act of planning can bring joy in and of itself just make sure that when that special event has come and gone, you have something else looming on the horizon.
Summing It All Up
At the end of each day, ask yourself who was in charge of your happiness today. The correct answer should be you. No one else can do it for you. Sharing in happiness yes, but creating it, no. It is all up to you.
Also, remember that although you sometimes have little or no control over what happens to you, you have 100% control over how you react to it. This is what I have learned as a prepper and that I continue to learn as I take better control of my happiness. I don’t want to dwell any more on the sadness of events that happened in the past. Doing so is exhausting. I want to pursue happiness and its best friend, fun.
That, to me, will be the epitome of living a strategic life.
Yours for a Joyful Life,