How To Find Your Happy – Keeping a Positive Outlook on Life
My goal of this article is to get you one step closer to happiness in your life. Dilly, the happiest dog in the universe, is here to assist me.
"That's Me!" - Dilly
Ommmmmm Your Way To Peace
For Buddhist’s sake, we get it; we need to meditate. Every self-help guru says it and I could direct you to many articles that show the mental benefits.
So the “why” isn’t in question, it’s the “how” that stumps most people.
Listen, you don’t have to sit cross legged in a quiet room and devote 2 hours a day on clearing your mind to reap the benefits of meditation. I do mini 1 minute sessions throughout my day, just sitting at my desk at work and I believe it helps. Try this: close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose. Now, HOLD it for 7 seconds. Try to focus only the numbers counting down to 1. Then slowly expel the breath through your mouth for 7 seconds. Again, focus on the 7-6-5-4-3-2-1. Repeat a few times in a row. Try to do this every hour. I would suggest listening to some soothing music while doing this exercise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpMlKSZAIks
On my work breaks, I like go on “Zen Walks”. During these walks, I try to focus only on counting backwards and forwards to 10 and my breathing. I observe the world around me and be one with it, focusing on the here and now, not my thoughts of past or future.
It's Creek Time!
Find Your Passions, But With A Balance
“Passion is a positive obsession. Obsession is a negative passion.” – Paul Carvel, author
A passion in something gives you something to look forward to and focus on and ultimately promote a sense of happiness through purpose and achievement. A positive passion is obviously a better goal, but any passion has the possibility of becoming an obsession. I would argue that Vincent Van Gogh was obsessed with painting, and he was brilliant. But… an extremely tortured soul as well.
On the other end of the spectrum, we got easy going Bob Ross and his happy little trees. Still a brilliant painter, but still had both of his ears. Hey, I love Vincent, his paintings are hugely inspirational to me. But, giving the choice, I’d rather spend a weekend chillin’ with Bob Ross. See some inspirational Bob quotes here.
Furthermore, if you can direct your passion to help others, you're going to have double the happy! Studies show that making other people happy will make you happy too. I have a passion for baking, but my real happiness comes from sharing my talent with others. This may sound silly, but when I give another person a plate of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies, and they smile and yum it up, I feel like a superhero!
Don't Be "Triggered" Happy- Avoid Negative Media
Whomever said, “ignorance is bliss,” obviously spent too much time on Facebook. Think about it, does Facebook or any other social media ever make you feel truly happy? I see a competition of either, ”look at me, I got the best life!” or “look at me, I’m the biggest Drama King/Queen ever!” The former can provoke envy and resentment, the latter usually provokes more drama, hurt feelings, anger, or just plain annoyance.
Studies have shown that Facebook is not a positive influence on your life. https://hbr.org/2017/04/a-new-more-rigorous-study-confirms-the-more-you-use-facebook-the-worse-you-feel. Besides, couldn’t you be doing something better with your time than scrolling through a feed?
In my personal experience, when you are feeling down or vulnerable, it’s best to avoid all negative media, including news. Knowledge is power, but as a shield, not a poisoned pill. Remember to de-attach yourself from it.
Happiness Is In A Pupper's Smile!
Lend An Sympathetic Ear, Not An Empathetic Heart – Don’t Be A Shark Cheeto.
Ok, you are probably saying, "But H-H! Empathy is a good thing! We should always care about others, right? Caring about others helps them and in turn, makes us happy....right? (Plus, mmmm Cheetos. Now I'm craving Cheetos.)"
Absolutely! But let me explain....
Your friend is drowning in shark infested waters while you watch in a lifeboat. Are you going to jump in the ocean and risk drowning yourself or becoming a shark snack? Or, are you going to throw them a life line and pull them into the boat?
This is the difference between between sympathetic and empathetic. The sympathetic understands and listens with a caring soul, but empathetic goes one dangerous step further: they absorb and internalize the other persons emotions like a sponge, drowning in their negative emotions and self-pity. Their life line transforms into a side of BBQ sauce for the sharks in the world.
We all want to save our friends from drowning in emotional seas and that’s obviously a good thing. You can be caring without wallowing in their despair. Stay upbeat with positive words and thoughts.
For instance, if they say, “I’m doing terrible in math class. I guess I’m just really stupid”. You could say, “Math can be hard for anyone, but you’re an ace in English. I’d be failing in English class right now if it wasn’t for your help!” In one swoop, you have acknowledged their frustration in a caring way, while pointing out that they have talents and skills that are valuable.
An empathic person may respond with this, “I’m sorry…I suck at Algebra too. The teacher is so unfair and never gives us a break. Why do we need Algebra anyway? Why do we even bother with school?” See the difference? The friend is still caring and sympathetic, but they soaked up that attitude of negativity that did not help the friend feel more confident about school or his own worth; it only reinforced the reason to be sad and worthless. In the process, he probably became despondent himself. Shark Cheetos!
Comfort Doesn’t Equal Happiness
“Nobody ever died of discomfort, yet living in the name of comfort has killed more ideas, more opportunities, more actions, and more growth than everything else combined. Comfort kills”-T.Harv Eker
Getting out of your comfort zone feels, well, uncomfortable. We tell ourselves we don’t like to be uncomfortable, so we avoid it with very fiber of our being. Comfort feels nice, right? And if it feels nice, then it’s "right" and we are "happy".
So…if we are comfortable, why are we so unhappy?
Well, for one thing, I know exactly zero number of people who realized their dreams by staying in their comfort zone. Change, challenges, risk and progression are all uncomfortable things, but necessary to grow as a person and achieve our goals.
Why So Serious?
Finally, never take the world or yourself too seriously. Take time for laughter and watch the video below.