4 Everyday Keys to Happiness
Hi guys- Happy 2015!
The past two weeks of traveling and bouncing around place to place was much needed, fantastically fun, and exhausting all at once. So much has happened within these two weeks with several exciting developments in the works that I will share once I am able.
Looking forward to further sharing my Montréal experiences in a post later this week. I loved every moment of the trip and it was the perfect way to close out the year. Oddly enough, it was relatively warm by the city's standards and the only sight of snow I saw was as my plane was leaving the runway to go back home. But then I finally get home to NYC and get whacked in the face with the strangest cold/fever I've ever had. Not going to let a little bug dwindle my spirits for this new year, as I head into 2015 with a happy attitude- which leads me to the heart of my post today.
Someone recently asked me what makes me happy. "Happy, in the sense of when life seems to stop for just a second, and you have the realization that right now, everything is as it should be." (What a wonderful way to phrase this- credit to my friend for that gem)
I am the type of person that really likes to be happy.
Have you seen this saying over here to the right before?
I am a firm believer that happiness is a choice.
No, really, there's scientific evidence of that fact.
For me, I enjoy conscious happiness and get so much more out of it than blissful oblivion. Being aware of and appreciating the little joys in life makes things exponentially better. Sure, there are times where I can be cranky, ornery, and withdrawn, because I'm human and that's life. But like I've said many a time, finding the beauty of the extraordinary in the ordinary can open up your eyes to a whole new perspective.
It's not an easy thing. I'm not saying you just one day decide to be happy, and it magically happens and you're suddenly a Tigger and not an Eeyore. It takes mindful practice, but I assure you, it is well worth it.
Here are my 4 favorite everyday keys to happiness:
1. Be Present and Savor the Moment.
When I was eleven, I remember my friends poking fun at me and they caught a silly photo of me stopped in my tracks, staring up at the sky while we were at the beach. They asked me what was so hypnotizing about a plain old sky. Where they may have seen a plain old sky, I saw the beauty of colors of blue meshed with orange during the sunset. I smelled the salty ocean water, felt the breeze against my cheeks, and felt the sand between my toes.
Sure, I am innately a cheesy person and not everyone is like me in that way, but taking in a moment using all your senses is a completely different experience. One of my favorite pieces I've written on here was about the importance of being present.
Savoring every precious moment of any experience, little or big, is what gives you that joyful appreciation.
2. Be Grateful.
Possibly my biggest contributor to my happiness in the past few years is my practice of giving gratitude. Gratitude for all that I have been afforded in this lifetime already, the people in my life, my body, my mind, my spirit, and my soul.
With the crazy hurdles I got thrown at me in 2014, it was easy to get frustrated and ask the universe, "why" ( + !?!??). Sometimes seeking an answer to such questions only gets yourself tied up in knots. Instead, try shifting focus to being thankful for any positives in a given scenario- potential lessons learned, and the growth as a person the situation will bring.
There is always something to be grateful for. And don't just keep it to yourself- vocalize it and share your gratitude with others.
3. Be Compassionate.
This is one I always to try to remind myself when I'm in a situation in which I'm finding it particularly difficult to see the positive light. When it's reeeally hard to find anything to be grateful about in that given moment.
Let's take driving for example.
The other day, I got stuck in a one-lane road behind this elderly couple with a handicapped license plate. The amount of incessant honking from the cars behind me was driving me way crazier than the fact that I was getting held up. Some peoples' inclination can be to say snarky things like, "well, they shouldn't be driving then!" Well, what if those were your grandparents just trying to get home from visiting their grandkids for the holidays?
Think before you judge. There is always someone out there having a rougher time than you are.
4. Be a Kid.
There is a reason Disney movies were children's movies made for adults. Hello, who did not sob during Toy Story 3? Honestly though. If we all pretended we were kids and let ourselves get so excited for the little things and didn't care about looking silly, the world would be a more compassionate and happier place.
In Montréal, there was a small playground in Old Port where there were some swings. Without giving it too much thought, I went over, sat on a swing and swung for a few minutes. A year ago, I think I wouldn't have gotten on that swing so easily, no matter how much I wanted to. I would have chided myself and said that I'm a grown-a** woman, I can't go sit on a swing next to 5-year olds...
Why not? Who cares if you look ridiculous doing something silly like that if you're enjoying yourself? The only person who loses out on not doing what you want to do for fear of looking silly, is you.
Don't be afraid to let your inner child come out and play. He/she probably laughed and smiled a lot in a single day- wouldn't that feel nice?