What defines it, how do we get it, is it a choice, can we buy it?
We set financial goals, career goals, family goals and relationship goals. We strive to reach them and think about the blissful joy they will bring us. ‘I’ll relax when I get... I’ll go on a holiday when… I’ll spend time with you when…' But when we get there, do we really feel happy?
The answer is often NO, because happiness is an elusive thing. Goals are specific, measureable, achievable, result-focused and time-bound. But happiness cannot be measured. It is a state of being, an emotion. And while we expect it to feel a certain way, sometimes it doesn’t.
I once met a woman who told me she would be happy when she retired. She worked her whole life, striving for the next pay rise and promotion to give her family absolutely everything. She waited to spend time with her children and her husband while she worked towards the goals she thought would delivery happiness. Two years before retirement her husband had a terrible accident and became incapacitated. Her children have grown up and moved on with their lives, and she is now facing many years of work ahead to pay for her husband’s ongoing medical bills. She waited for happiness and yet, it has alluded her.
Happiness can actually come from the simplest things in life. The sound of rain on the roof when you have nowhere to be, an extra big cuddle from a loved one, an excited welcome home from your pet when you arrive home or the smile you helped put on someone’s else’s face.
While it’s great in theory, we all know finding happiness is easier said than done. Here are five simple tips that will help you add a little extra happiness into your day-to-day life. You will be surprised how easy they are!
1. Relax while you have a cup of tea or coffee
We’re all guilty of grabbing our tea or coffee as we race out the door, and yes, sometimes we have to. But try to stop for even five minuets simply to sit, think, and relax. Find your favourite spot in your garden or on your balcony, and just embrace a few minutes of serenity before starting your busy day.
2. Call a friend
Call that friend you always plan to but never call. Yes life is busy, but don’t wait until they’re gone to figure out how much their friendship meant. “The only way to have a friend is to be one” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
3. Smile everyday
“Great power lies in a random smile, as long as you choose to share it with the world” - Unknown. According to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, smiling helps to retrain the brain to create happiness loops that instil positive thinking.
4. Focus on what you have, not what’s missing
We could all literally spend hours counting what is missing in out lives. STOP IT! All you are doing is wasting time and are missing out on the special moments that are right in front of you.
5. Don’t be afraid to be alone
“If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone” – Maxwell Maltz.
Happiness is a feeling from within and one that only you can create. If you are truly happy in yourself, the fear of being alone will fade, because you cannot rely on anyone else to make you happy.
Overall, happiness is what you make it. It is about noticing the little things in life and appreciating what is in front of you. Take time to spend with the people you care about, make relationships a priority and take some pressure off. Happiness is everywhere, you simply have to be open to it. Stop chasing it, because when you do, it will find you.