Last week I wrote about how to remove negativity from your life, but removing the bad stuff isn’t enough to make you truly happy. You also need to actively implement things into your life that make you feel good and make the conscious decision to be happy.
If you had told me this at the end of last year, then I would have thought you were crazy. I was still in the mindset that in order to be happy you first had to accomplish something. Each year I would try to accomplish more than the last, telling myself I wouldn’t be happy unless I achieved something. Spoiler alert, despite everything I achieved I still wasn’t happy. The act of accomplishing something gave a short burst of joy, but these feelings were very short lived. Just like the rush that comes with narcotics, the rush of happiness that comes from accomplishing a task is a temporary feeling. In order to be truly happy, you need to find joy in little things in everyday life, things that can give you that rush of happiness without first draining you of your energy.
Over the last few months I have been trying to appreciate these moments of happiness, take note of what things cause the rush and then try to implement them as much as possible in my life. The result? I am currently happier than I have ever been, but for once my happiness isn’t because of one particular thing. It comes from so many little things, which is why I am confident these feelings of happiness will stick around.
Here are some of the things that make me truly happy.
Five – Coffee – That might sound a little simplistic, but coffee really does make me happy. I start my mornings with a cup of coffee in bed. I sit there, at 5 in the morning, sipping on my drink and just taking a moment to myself to wake up and start my day right. At one point I was waking up 30 minutes before I had to leave for work and I would always leave feeling rushed and stressed. Now that I give myself the time to have this me time in the morning, I start every more off on the right foot. I also have a ritual with one of my co-workers, a few times a week we go down to Starbucks and get coffee. He’ll lean over his desk and just say ‘coffee’. Its 20 minutes away from my desk, where we just unload all of our frustrations to the other so that when we get back to our desks (with our coffee) we feel a little lighter. It also makes me so happy that the lady in Starbucks knows my order. She’ll see me and says ‘having your usual lovely?’ I’ve always loved feeling like I am a part of something, and these little rituals make me feel happy and at home, even when I am at work. So it’s not just coffee that makes me happy, but coffee is the catalyst. Enjoy the small moments in life, like going to get coffee, or having quiet time in the morning. Our lives are made up of small moments, if you try to enjoy each little one, it builds up to enjoying your life.
Four – Singing – There was a time when I was actually trained to sing. I would have weekly lessons and I sang in concerts. But at some point, I stopped and never really went back to it. But singing really makes me happy, especially when I really go for it. So I started singing in the car. Really singing, belting out the tunes like no one was listening because, well, no one is! I have a solid hour and a half commute to work in the mornings, so I fill that time with music and I sing along as loud as I can. There are days when I am driving to work, singing away and the sunrise is beautiful (because I leave my house before dawn), and in the moments I feel so truly happy with life. It’s a great feeling. Find something simple that you love doing, that makes you feel happy and just do it, as often as needed until you turn that frown upside down.
Three – Association – I have always strongly associated scents with memories and emotions, which is ironic seeing as I actually have a really bad sense of smell. But maybe that’s why I remember smells so clearly. I can smell a perfume and instantly be taken back to a time from my childhood and be able to tell you exactly where the smell came from and what I was doing when I smelt it. I’ve started using this to my advantage by using essential oils. Before I go to bed and cuddle down into my nice warm blankets, I rub a mixed oil on my wrists of lavender and rosemary. Because I sleep with my hands pretty much right beside my face, it is a smell I associate with calm and relaxation. In my office, I have a lavender balm in my drawer. It doesn’t smell exactly the same (So I don’t instantly feel tired when I smell it) but the similar scent of lavender calms me down if I am stressed or anxious. Every time I rub this balm into my wrists I then bring them to my nose and take a deep intake of breath. That moment when I first smell the lavender, I feel so calm and content. It’s honestly like magic.
I have done a similar process with my CBD vaping. In moments when I am relaxed and feeling happy, for example on a beautiful morning when I am sat in the garden with a cup of tea, I will take my vape and use it for a few minutes. By doing this, I created an association with the act of vaping and feeling happy. So on those days when I am on the edge of a panic attack or feeling overwhelmed I can use my CBD and my body relaxes, associating the action with feeling calm and happy. I originally started using CBD to control my anxiety, but I didn’t want to start associating the act of vaping with feeling crappy. By doing this I feel it really puts me back in control of my own mind, which in itself makes me feel very good. Find things that you associate with feel good and find ways of subtly reminding yourself of those moments when you are feeling down, happiness is a habit.
Two – Yoga – I have issues, lots of issues (lol), with both my mind and my body. Regular yoga practice is the one thing that seems to really help both. But for years, I refused to join a yoga class because of my anxiety to be around other people. So yoga was put on the back burner. It was one of my goals this year to start doing yoga again, and so far so good, I have kept up the practice. But it’s not just the act of doing yoga that makes me happy, although it does. I have found a space to do yoga where I genuinely feel safe and calm. I found my yoga studio by accident and I honestly believe the reason I found it then was because I was finally ready to take that step to improve myself. I don’t go to classes, because I’m still very nervous around people. But I treat myself to 2 private sessions a month with the teacher. I go along to the studio and its dimly lit, relaxing music is playing and instantly a feeling of calm settles over me. I am greeted by her dog, who is adorable, and the instructor is a bright and friendly face that I look forward to seeing. By the end of our practice, I always feel so refreshed. These sessions are a gift to myself for working so hard. Don’t feel guilty about treating yourself, what is the point of working hard if you don’t enjoy the rewards.
One – Being Happy – That sounds really weird, being happy makes you happy, but it is true. I said to my mum recently, ‘I feel so incredibly happy at the moment’. It’s like this lightness in my chest, that when I focus on it, it makes me want to smile. That feeling is addictive and I never want it to go away. So I decided I was going to be happy. I started trying to look at my life as though I was happy and gradually I became happier. I started cutting out the negatives from my life (read post here) and filling my life with things that I love. I started listening to audiobooks at work instead of the radio (which play the same three songs over and over again until you don’t like that song any more). I now sleep with my blinds open so that I can wake up to the sunrise on the weekends. I write like an absolute maniac because writing (anything!) brings me so much joy! Choose to be happy, no matter what, it will take some time to form the habit but it will be worth it and good things will follow.
These are some of the little things that are currently helping me live a happier life. I can honestly say, I am currently the happiest I have ever been and I have been living with mental health problems for a very long time.
What little things make you happy? Let me know in the comments!