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How to Stay Happy in Everyday Life

Updated on July 5, 2022
Lisha C profile image

The author speaks from their own experiences with the hope that they might help others lead happier lives.

Look forward to the little things.
Look forward to the little things. | Source

What Makes You Happy?

I often stop to think about what makes me happy and have realised that most of the time, it is because I am looking forward to something. Life instantly becomes much better when we look forward to something. And the best thing about this is that it is not only the actual event which is enjoyable — the entire time leading up to it becomes exciting.

A Short-Term Purpose

Looking forward to things helps divide our time into portions and gives us a target in our daily life. Our enthusiasm shifts to that particular event; it’s like marking the days off on the calendar, and we hardly ever think of the times that follow.

It is challenging to work hard continuously since we all need frequent breaks from our routine lives to recharge. Our daily lives may be monotonous, and at times, even exhausting. Having something to look forward to makes it easier to cope with our troubles, and also gives us a bit of motivation. It gives us a “the sooner I get through this, the sooner I can do that” mindset.

We all have things for which we wait in anticipation. When we are feeling low, it helps to remember these things, however insignificant they may seem.

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realise they were big things."

— Kurt Vonnegut

The Joy of Looking Forward to Things

As a child, finding something to look forward to was quite simple. Things as small as waiting to watch a cartoon or eating candy gave so much joy. Even now, I remember days at school when I was so eager to get home just because my favourite ice cream was sitting in the freezer. Throughout our younger years, there was a standard list of things that most of us longed for — playtime with friends, birthday parties, watching movies, fun school events and the vacation or break at the end of each school year.

However, as we grow older, our problems become more significant, and it sometimes feels like we need bigger things to keep us happy.

Things like vacations and travelling usually excite us. The excitement starts right from researching possible locations and choosing the perfect destination. There is then a lot of planning and preparation required — booking the tickets, preparing the itinerary, finding the best hotels, listing the tourist spots, shopping, and so on. All this keeps us busy; any spare time goes into preparing for the trip. As we count down the days, our excitement increases. It helps brighten our everyday lives and makes the days pass by faster.

Be Happy.
Be Happy. | Source

Look at the Smaller Things

As thrilling as these big trips or events sound, many of us can’t plan such things too often. We usually need to find happiness in the simpler things in our lives. There are probably numerous little things that make us happy, even though we may not be fully aware of them all.

One of the most common things that many of us await each week is Friday evening or the weekend. It helps get us through the week — waiting to kick back and relax after many a hectic day. And, if there are some specific fun plans for the weekend, even better.

There might be many such examples in our everyday lives. We look forward to:

  • finishing work for the day
  • going home to loved ones
  • watching a new episode of a favourite show
  • visiting, or ordering food from a favourite restaurant
  • reading a book
  • writing an article
  • listening to music
  • tending to a garden
  • going home to a pet
  • receiving a salary
  • catching up with friends
  • working out, or going for a walk or a run
  • going shopping, or receiving a package or delivery
  • trying a new recipe

Make It a Big Deal

Find the small things in life that make you happy, and try to pay attention to these things. It may seem like making a big deal out of ordinary things, but honestly, if it could make you even a little happier, there is no harm in doing this. You could also combine a few of these small things to make them even better.

For instance, instead of watching a much-awaited movie alone at home, call over a few of your friends or family and enjoy it together. You could even buy your favourite snacks or try cooking something together beforehand.

Or, if you prefer to watch movies alone, do so in a way that will bring you maximum satisfaction. If you have the option to watch it on a bigger screen, use it; don’t strain your eyes unnecessarily by squinting at your phone screen. Treat yourself to a tasty dish or enjoy a glass of your favourite drink while watching the movie.

Find the little things that make you happy.
Find the little things that make you happy. | Source

Make It a Routine

When we think of the word ‘routine’, we usually picture things from our boring, monotonous schedules. However, we can also make a routine of activities we enjoy.

  • If you enjoy cooking or baking, make it a point every week to try a new recipe or perfect an old one.
  • Plan a weekly/monthly meet-up with friends or family to enjoy and share your stories.
  • Make a list of movies you would love to watch, and then frequently make your way through this list. You could even plan a regular movie night with friends or family.
  • If you like to exercise, join a gym or class where you can enjoy your workout, or make it a priority to go for your daily run.

Whatever it is, and however small it may seem, try to make it an activity that you eagerly await as you get through your day. This way, you can turn simple things into cherished memories.

Share your happiness with your loved ones.
Share your happiness with your loved ones. | Source

Enjoy the Moment

When the time to enjoy comes, forget all else and appreciate the moment to the fullest. Be happy doing whatever it is that you love. Don’t waste this precious time and spoil the experience by worrying about the future.

We might feel dejected when it ends, but this just means it is time to look forward to the next thing. And if there is nothing on your list yet, it’s time to start planning!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Lisha C


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