Saturday, February 11, 2012

How to Achieve Happiness

Why is it in life that we well about things that make us unhappy, while there are a million things in this world that bring us so much joy? We dwell about break-ups, how we didn’t get that promotion, or why he didn’t call us back after the first date. But why don’t we ever think about the little things in life that make us smile? From everyday things like puppies or baby birds, or maybe hobbies that you have, like writing short stories, booklet printing, or painting. Instead of thinking about all of these little things, we focus all of our energy to things in the past that we cannot change.

Why do we this? It seems like we just want to torture ourselves by constantly regretting things and wishing things were different. If you want to be happy, you need to realize that you can’t change the past. You can’t change things that happened X number of hours/days/months/years ago, so what’s the point of thinking about it? I myself am a natural ruminator; I dwell on the past and have attachments to memories. What I’m trying to teach myself is that I shouldn’t focus on the unhappy times in my past, but I should instead try to remember the good and fun times that I’ve had that put a smile on my face. There are no regrets when you’re truly happy. Even when you think you made a big mistake and are currently regretting it, just remember that you did exactly what you wanted to do at that moment.

Taking the time out of your day just to appreciate the small things really makes you happier. I know, I know, it sounds cliché, but it’s one of those clichés that is actually helpful. Even just walking down the street to work, watching squirrels scurry across the street and up trees makes me smile. I’m not sure if it’s their furry little bodies moving so rapidly that intrigues me, or if it’s their bushy tails or their big brown eyes, but for some reason I always stop to watch them. Recognizing happiness in small events in life allows you to step outside of yourself and see things in a new light. Your happiness may only last for a few moments, but happiness is not permanent.

No matter how busy you are, you need to find a hobby and let yourself do this on a daily basis. Hobbies allow for you to escape from the stresses in your life and to just have your “me time.” Some people like to just relax and watch television to unwind; others find joy in doing physical activities. I have become a fan of going to the gym. When I go to the gym, I’m focused on myself and knowing that my body appreciates me for giving it exercise. It gives me time to sweat away the deadlines and pending assignments and money troubles and all of my other problems. Having time to yourself is one of the best ways you can create daily happiness. Use this time to stop thinking about things that bother you, and just focus on being peaceful.

You can’t control anybody else but yourself, and your certainly can’t control the events that happen in your life. But do you know what you can control? Your reaction to life’s curveballs. Things are not going to end up the way you ideally want them to, and maybe it’s for the best. We’ve all heard it before, “everything happens for a reason,” blah, blah, blah. Well, it’s true. You didn’t get that job because you were meant to get a different job. That guy didn’t call you back because he was a jerk and you found someone better. All you can do is keep a positive attitude and not let these events take a toll on your happiness. Allocate enough time to grieve about these events, and then move on to better and happier things in life. Even when you think your world is falling apart, you are the only who has the power to keep it together.

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