Saturday, 5 September 2015

How to be Happy


Honestly the simple question 'How can I be happy?' is asked far too frequently by far too many people. It should not be the case that one of the most searched questions on the internet is how to find happiness. The truth is that happiness lies at our fingertips; granted it is far easier for some to experience happiness than others, but it is not impossible to become a happier person. The reality is that 'becoming happy' is not an end goal; it is not a destination, it is something we have to keep working on throughout our lives. The feeling of happiness can be experienced at any moment for any reason. Happiness comes and goes, in the same way that sadness, anger, frustration and worry enters and exits our life. I don't believe in telling people 'how to be happy' because there is no set method or set of rules which can make you happy forever. I can, however, try to share some advice and tips that I use and believe in, that will hopefully help you work towards creating a happier life and mind set for yourself which you can keep working on regularly. 

Firstly I would say that I am not an expert and I am in no way a model for 'finding true happiness' and it is something I am working on myself each and every day. What I do know or have been told, is that increasing your confidence and having more faith in yourself will help to raise your mood. If you stop constantly worrying about other people’s opinions of yourself and stop reading too deeply into someone's expressions, you will start to feel less insecure and feel more able to be yourself. It simply does not matter how that person in the dining hall looked at you- if they were being rude or careless you shouldn't pay attention to them. So stop giving a f**k about what other people think of you or tell you to do. Do you know who is in charge of your life? You. You are in charge. You get to make the choices. You are the one who has to deal with the consequences so make sure the choices you make in life are going to benefit you. 

There will come a day where you will love your life and will look back and smile. Bear that in mind. Everything is temporary including shit weather, sadness, being heart broken and being stuck in school. If you are feeling down and you know that shopping works as a little mood booster, go shopping! If you know that reading makes you happy, go invest in that book you wanted, if you know that a short trip away will make you happier, go book that holiday, if you know that going to a concert will boost your happiness, go purchase those concert tickets. You deserve it all. You deserve to treat yourself and take a break! Life is too short to be sitting at home pondering, you have to start doing! For those of you that are feeling down about being single, please remember that you will fall in love and then you will fall in love again and if you find the right person, you will be loved back. Just because you don't feel that way right now, it does not mean your future involves you being alone with a million cats. If you have had a bad experience doing something, it does not mean that the next time will be as bad. Take that leap of faith and trust yourself, this time may have an entirely different outcome. Go out and make memories. Stop sitting alone in your room 24/7 and start living. Did you know that music can be a life saver for when you are feeling down, make a playlist for every emotion and when you are feeling down turn those upbeat tunes on and embrace the solo dance party. Stand up for yourself. You are worth everything and no one should ever belittle you or make you feel small or insignificant. Keep living. Right now may feel like the end of the world but tomorrow might be the best day of your life and the emotions you are feeling in this moment will not last. Every emotion is temporary so don't let temporary feelings make you do something permanent. If you don't stick around, how on earth will you know how your story was really meant to end? There is a future out there for you, believe in better. Place your trust in the universe. 



This may sound odd, but one piece of advice I have been given, is to forget to be sad/angry/fearful. Take my word for it: wallowing in sadness or anger or any other emotions leading to unhappiness, is a lot of effort and takes a lot of energy out of you. Especially if you can hold a grudge, it’s literally exhausting. The saddest people in this world are the ones who spend hours reliving all the injustice cast upon them and replaying all the cruel things people have said and reminding themselves of all the bad luck thrust upon them. For the love of god, please try to allow yourself to forget it, forget all about it and just let it go. Now I want to make it clear that I am not saying you should never allow yourself to feel your true emotions, because at the end of the day, life is not about denying yourself of bad emotions, because they are as real as anything else and sometimes you just need to cry and feel every emotion and let it all out.  I don't think that happiness is the absence of sadness; I believe that happiness stems from conquering the overwhelming feelings in your life over and over again and being able to feel them but not letting those feelings destroy or debilitate you. Throughout my life I have found it extremely hard to let everything go, and let's face it I still do. Ever since we were kids, my sister has always been the peacemaker; whenever we would fight, I would get offended and upset and hold a grudge but it was over the next day because my sister would always forget we were mad at each other and say “Want to watch a film?” and then a few minutes later I would smile and agree. Of course later I would think “Damn it, I was supposed to be angry at her” but really what is the point? If you don't let the little things go, how are you ever meant to cope when you get older. I am trying to follow in my younger sister's footsteps and just breathe, move on and forget. There are so many forces in the world conspiring against your happiness, so whatever you do, don't make yourself be the biggest one of them all. Refuse to be sad or angry, just cross your arms and outright refuse. It is all pointless, all of it. Holding a grudge is tiring and at the end of the day where does it get you? The outcome of holding a grudge is never going to be productive or positive. 

Be self-caring not self-centered. I am a strong believer in practising self love, thinking about yourself and doing things for yourself. Life is about identifying the things that will bring you happiness and then actively pursuing them- that is self care/love. Being self-centered, on the other hand, is about identifying and actively pursuing these things and not thinking about others in the process. Happiness isn't achieved by thinking about yourself and only yourself. It is about being kind to yourself as well as others around you. In fact one of the things that brings me happiness is when I compliment someone and they smile and it is clear that I have made a positive impact on their day. I know it sounds weird, but by complimenting someone or simply making someone smile it makes your heart feel warmer. Watch how they smile; notice how they laugh and realise that you made that happen. Keep doing and saying nice things to people. Let yourself relax and enjoy the little things in life. Stop focusing on what you don’t have or don’t like. Now I know this is easier said than done and we all have our moments where we like to complain and whine and say that life is unfair, but it really is important to focus on what you do have and do like in life. Seriously if you are feeling low, even scrolling through instagram tags of cute animals and babies can keep you entertained for hours (don't you get all judgy eyes on me, you know we've all done it). If you are having a bad body image day, go to your mirror and look at yourself and for every negative thought that pops into your head- counteract it with a positive one and then say it out loud. 




Find the fun in the silly things. I know that one of the commandments of being young is to find everything lame and boring and hugely embarrassing, but believe me when I say this: having a dance with your parents at a family party or singing along to the Mamma Mia soundtrack on the karaoke machine at a pub, is a hell of a lot more fun than sitting in the corner, rolling your eyes and burning up with embarrassment. At the end of the day, why are you really hating on boybands and dismissing vegans and bashing disney movies? It boils down to insecurities and the feeling of being judged by others that you deem 'cooler' than you. So others aren't a big fan of reading or baking or whatever else it is that you like doing- who cares? If you like doing those things and it brings you joy- then absolutely 100% do it !!! Do not let others stop you from pursuing your interests and passions. Life is too short to be limited by a group of high school social climbers who you will probably never see again when you leave. Learn to laugh at yourself, being able to have a sense of humour and tease yourself is important; it is good to be able to have light hearted moments and not be serious all of the time. Loosen up and just be a goof once in a while. Everyone is a little weird in their own wonderful way. Remember that happiness is in your hands. If you don't like your hair? Cut it. If there is someone in your life who makes you feel really low? Drop them- you need to surround yourself with sunrays, not thunderclouds. Want to start a new hobby? Go do it. Life won’t wait for you, you have to reach out and grab every opportunity. Once you do it, you will never stop wondering about why you didn’t do it sooner- trust me. Do whatever you f***ing want. We’re all on this planet for a reason and that’s to go on our own individual journeys. If you want something to happen in your life, you have to be proactive. You can have goals and set out plans and have aspirations but you also need to take the necessary actions to work around or through any obstacles that come your way. Be prepared but also be flexible as things will be thrown at you and you need to be ready to deal with them. 


Abandon perfectionism- if you are someone who is constantly striving for perfectionism, you are never going to be as happy as you could be. Try to accept the mistakes you make and realise that life is full of mess ups and we need them in order to learn and grow. When you finally embrace the imperfections, you can live your life embracing whatever comes your way and you will have a weight lifted off from your shoulders and will feel a lot more free. Don’t let the problems that seem to consume your life be an excuse for not getting what you want. If you have a persistent problem, go and talk to a professional or someone that you trust (and who supports you). Sometimes it’s hard to be open, but in order to live a happy life, we not only have to be honest to ourselves, but we have to be honest with others. When we are honest, we end up caring for ourselves in the best possible way. Pick one small problem or issue that has been bugging you and take actions towards resolving it. Try to tackle one issue at a time. The issue may be as small as having trouble completing an assignment for work or school, but whatever it is, take the time to address it. By taking control of our issues one at a time, we take away an incredible amount of unnecessary stress that we didn't even realise we had. 

Put your own deepest needs first. Don't live for others before yourself or push your own needs aside, as eventually you will crumble in some way - it is dangerous as if something happened to the person you are living for, the next thought you would most likely have would be 'what is my point in life now?' Know that it’s okay to say no sometimes, and take time away for yourself. Sometimes your choices may disappoint or offend others, but that is okay.It is sometimes necessary to be selfish in order to grow and live in your own way. The people who love you, want the best for you and they will accept and support you no matter what. Be aware of the amount of goodness you have in your life and think about the good things and good people that surround you. Be grateful for them and be grateful for the things you have in this very moment. Who knows what can change? That’s why it is so important to appreciate things in the moment as they happen as you never know at what point these things could be taken away from you. Remember that happiness begins with you; it is your mind that you have to live with so fill it with positivity. Figure out what makes you happy and do those things! To a large extent, being happy is your choice. If you want to be happy, you can be! Embrace change and growth. Everyone knows the excitement which comes up when something new is happening. Be more curious and try out new things, do something different and switch up your daily routine! Be in the moment and be weary that happiness is not something we can predict. You cannot keep thinking 'I will be happy when...' because you cannot predict what will happen. These thoughts are just excuses which will hold you back from feeling happiness right now. It is so important to be surrounded by positive people, therefore it is obvious that letting go toxic relationships is necessary in order to relieve the mind and body from mental and physical pain which may have been caused by these relationships. There are several reasons why we keep staying in these relationships, it could be down to fear of change, loss of individuality, it could even be down to habit. If a friendship or relationship of any kind is making your mood lower, try to sit back and think of the reasons as to why this might be. Remind yourself of Shirley Maclaine's words, 'The most profound relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves'. 

One idea/theory/belief I have been noticing a lot recently is that of the Law of Attraction. Following this belief you could say that sharing happiness with others brings you closer to being happier as if you put positive energy out there in the universe, the universe will pull positive people into your life and lead you towards positive energy and so on and so on. The Law of Attraction basically means that positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative. If you think positively, good things will happen because the law of attraction pulls positive and ambitious people into your life which help and remind you of your goals. “All we are is the result of all we have thought” - Buddha


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Go out there and start making changes. Start doing things for YOU and SMILE :)
I hope these nuggets of advice help you in some way and please do let me know what you think and share your thoughts with me either on twitter @Olivia_CA95 or leave a comment down below. All the positive energy being sent your way!

- Olivia Charlotte Alice
xXx
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