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3 Keys to a Happier Life

When was the last time you felt happy?

The genuine kind of happiness - the kind of happiness that makes you feel you can take on anything, and do anything.

The kind of happiness that fills up your entire body, radiates through your smile and echoes through your laugh.

The kind of happiness that’s not influenced by anything from the outside; the kind of happiness that stems from within and from knowing that you’re amazing.

As adults, we seldom get into the rhetorical question of “what makes me happy?” because it’s not something that we can touch, or see with our eyes. In this day and age, we focus on tangible things; things that we can put a label or a value on.

“Happiness is an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment”. We may have been looking at the wrong places because happiness isn’t something we quantify, it’s something that we feel.

Do you ever wonder what can make you happy? These suggestions might help:

Know when to disconnect to connect

Social media and its influence over us has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years; we know it, we feel it, we breathe it. Thanks (or no thanks?) to the pandemic, it has become one of the cheapest and most convenient ways to connect with people all around the world as we went into isolation for a few months.

Pew Research Center shared that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans are social media users. How many TikTok videos have you watched in the last couple of days?

By itself, there is absolutely nothing wrong with social media. In fact, it has helped the majority of us to cope through changing times. However, the way it is being used and the effects of such usage can be problematic.

The rise of “influencers” and how they live their curated lives through their feed encouraged comparison and the need for validation. In order to boost esteem and satisfy the need to belong, we post content in the hopes that other people seeing it will “like” it.

Because the need to feel validated is hinged on something as fickle as “likes and comments”, it can easily cause anxiety (and for some, even depression) when the desired “likes and comments” are not achieved.

Never let social media dictate your happiness, because the dopamine levels it can give you isn’t meant to last. Instead, find meaningful connections with actual, real people.

Now that most people are vaccinated and things are starting to normalize socially, take advantage of this time to reconnect with people and actually talk to them. Ask them how they’ve been, go on a coffee date to catch up and talk about how it’s going.

Challenge yourself to go “phone-free” for a few hours a day and watch how your mood improves. Include a “gadget-free” bedroom as a part of your night time routine to help improve your sleep quality.

Connect with yourself and write in an actual journal to untangle your thoughts for the day. Make your own “IG Highlights” by printing nice photos and hanging them in your living room.

Happiness is being able to know that you should disconnect with your online self, so you can be more in tune with your actual self and the people that matter to you.

Know that money is good, but understand that the best things in life are free

Money is not evil; in fact money is amazing because it makes life comfortable. It makes you enjoy amazing things and experience a lot of awesome adventures.

Jim Carrey once said that he hopes everybody could get rich and famous so they would know it’s not the answer to everything. While we all want to skip to the end where we’re all already rich, unfortunately we can’t. Money in itself is not the enemy, it’s how we use and “want” money that we should watch out for.

What’s your relationship with money? How do you use it? Is it more of a means to an end, or is it the end-all, be-all goal?

Make a conscious effort to improve your relationship with money and never let it interfere with more important priorities like your relationships and your health. It’s true that money can buy a lot of things. However, money can’t buy true happiness, because true happiness doesn’t come from “things” you own.

Instead of putting all your energy on money, invest it on what matters like time with your family, and time with yourself, among others.

Did you know that hugs are a natural stress reliever? Even if you’re not a hugger, try giving a hug at least once a day and see how it can instantly improve your mood. The beauty about a hug is you can’t give one, without receiving one too.

Know that it’s okay to slow down

In a world where being busy and being overworked are glorified as being “cool”, it’s almost a sin to want to slow down.

The very idea of “slowing down” even scares most people; it’s as if there is always somewhere we need to go and the only way we’re getting there is if we move now.

Patience is old news, and fast-paced is the trend. How many times have you been frustrated by the slow internet? When you constantly see that rainbow wheel almost mocking you in the face?

Kids nowadays can’t be bothered to sit through an entire video, they hit the fast-forward button faster than they can walk. Articles now have that “5-min read” note at the start because people just need to know how much time they need to spend reading something.

The thing is, rushing to do something tends to always feel more stressful. It also has the tendency to block out meaningful communication, breed resentment and cause stress.

From this perspective, being fast and constantly moving doesn’t bring happiness at all. In fact, it’s the opposite!

Think of something that you do everyday, and try to do it slower. Eating, for example. If you’re always rushing to eat because you need to be somewhere urgently, make a change and give yourself time to enjoy your meal. Strike a conversation with the person you’re sharing a meal with instead of gulfing down everything in a rush.

Achieve clarity and harness the power of your emotions by taking your time. You’ll notice how you become a much better person, happier and with more meaningful connections with people and with yourself.

Happiness doesn’t need to be an elusive concept. In fact, it’s almost right at your hands.

What are you waiting for?

Hug a friend, sip your tea, put down your phone, write in your journal, and go to bed with a smile on your lips and contentment in your heart.

Happiness is always in the little things, you just need to look closer.

 

Hero Image by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash