Author: Samantha Thuesen
Happiness is our ultimate goal. We strive to land a dream career, start a family, or make a change in the world. These things don’t happen immediately, and therefore it can be challenging at times to maintain a confident, hopeful attitude. Although we’re not going to be happy all the time, there’s still simple ways to make positivity present every day. So, while you’re out there working to achieve your dreams, keep these ten things in mind to help make the journey a happier one.
1. Write down good memories. Whether it’s a funny conversation you had with a friend or something a stranger did that made you smile, write it down in a journal so you can remember it later; it’s therapeutic to reflect on your past, and it can be really funny. When I worked in retail, I wrote down multiple conversations between myself and customers; they range from very pleasant to not so pleasant. Nevertheless, I love going back and reading them because they never fail to make me laugh, and they make for great stories. Things that make you smile in the present will make you smile in the future.
2. Fill your house with plants. Bring life into your home; it will make a noticeable difference in the atmosphere. It’s also good to have a routine or chore to look forward to every day. You may find it relaxing to start your day with watering plants. Buy a watering can that expresses your personality, whether it’s yellow and vintage or pink and shaped like an elephant. Choose your favorite plants. Maybe you want a bouquet of flowers to sit on your kitchen counter, or a cactus garden to sit on your windowsill.
3. Go on solo adventures. It can be very peaceful to spend time with yourself; it gives you an opportunity to explore your thoughts. A solo adventure can be anything from sitting on your porch with a cup of tea to taking a trip to the city. Being alone doesn’t make you lonely, rather it gives you the chance to pay attention to things you put aside when spending time with others; you can figure out what really makes you happy. While spending time with friends, you may enjoy their company over the activity. For instance, I often go mini golfing with friends. I hate mini golfing, but I love the company. While alone, you can hone in on your interests.
4. Read. Books allow you to escape your everyday life for a little while. Find a genre you really like and lose yourself. Books are great conversation starters. You can bond with friends or strangers over your favorite books. Not only are they enjoyable, but they also expand your vocabulary and provide you with life lessons. Sometimes it’s easier for us to deal with situations if we can compare it to someone else, even if that someone else is fictional.
5. Have meaningful conversations with friends and family. Human connection is strengthening. Sharing thoughts and feelings with another person is healthy for both you and the relationship. It’s dangerous to keep feelings locked away; you don’t have all the answers to your problems, and you need to confide in other people. You don’t even have to talk exclusively about personal problems. Talk about the meaning of life or why the sky is blue. Knowing another person on a deeper intellectual level is a great thing.
6. Wake up early. Giving yourself enough time to complete your daily tasks will greatly reduce your stress. Start your day with a nice cup of coffee or tea and watch the sunrise, read a few chapters of a book, or even go for a morning run. Getting into a daily morning routine will stabilize your life. You’re not going to be happy if you wake up late and have to rush every morning, so try going to bed at a reasonable time and you will start each day feeling refreshed. If it’s difficult to go to bed at a reasonable time, trying ending your day with relaxing activities, but stay away from technology.
7. Perform a random act of kindness. Being selfless is a good form of being selfish because it makes everybody feel good. Knowing that you made a stranger’s day better will automatically make your day better. I once volunteered for a Midnight Run, which consists of a group of people driving to New York City at night to give food, supplies, and clothing to the homeless. It was so rewarding to have conversations with strangers and learn more about their lives. If there are any charities near you, go check them out. Play your part in making the world a better place.
8. Keep music playing in your house. Music defines the mood you want your house to set. For instance, classical music is calming. Look for upbeat music to make the atmosphere lively. Singing along to your favorite song while you’re cooking or doing chores is bound to put you in a good mood. It also makes your home more welcoming. If a friend comes over to chat and hang out have music play in the background at a low volume, and it will make for a relaxing environment, like a coffee shop.
9. Reward yourself. It’s alright to splurge on yourself occasionally. You deserve it! If you completed a task for the month, go buy a pair of shoes you liked in the store or a painting you thought would brighten your hallway. If you got a raise at work, go celebrate with some friends or family. We should celebrate our successes because it will make us all more confident and motivated to keep going farther and farther in life.
10. Start a hobby. Hobbies allow you to explore your interests and find pleasure in your free time. It’s good to have something to look forward to after work that isn’t just sitting on the couch. Your hobby can be anything: gardening, coloring, painting, crocheting, scrapbooking, or cooking. Doing these activities in your free time will also make you feel more productive; we often feel that we’ve wasted our time if we sit around doing nothing. Invest your time in pure enjoyment, and you will be happier.