How Do You Find Your Happiness?
When I ask my clients what they want out of therapy, almost invariably, the answer they give me is some variation of: “I just want to be happy.”
If I dig a little deeper and ask them what happiness means or looks like, I commonly get some sort of hesitation – silence, blank stares, and an occasional “I don’t know.” The clients that do respond often give a definition that is materialistic in nature: more money, a better job, or providing “a better life” for their family. A “better life” often translates to financial security.
On the surface, these aspirations ring a little hollow; they seem superficial in nature. I believe, however, that while these definitions of happiness are marked by material acquisitions, there is a deeper purpose: inner peace.
We all want inner peace. Happiness radiates outward from inner peace.
The world we live in, and the very material object-oriented society in which we are raised, teaches us one of the only ways to achieve that inner peace is through economic prosperity.
Yes, financial stability can give you some peace of mind. You rest your head upon your pillow a little bit more firmly at night knowing that your bills are paid and you don’t have to scramble each month to make ends meet.
What about those who are secure and still feel unfulfilled, like something is still missing?
What about those who are unable to rest their heads so lightly?
Is that the only way to be happy?
We are each susceptible to feelings of anxiety and depression on any given day. We all experience trauma in varying levels, which can sometimes become worse when our day-to-day lifestyle is significantly full of stress.
How can we find our way to happiness when we are surrounded by things that make us regularly sad and tense?
You can start feeling better today – start that foundation to whatever happy means to you – with these five steps.
1. Become More Grateful
Our lives are incredibly fast-paced. Stopping for a moment to be thankful for all the good in our day is a difficult task. Take some time today to be grateful for all the beauty in your life: your family, friends, pets, or simply the roof over your head.
2. Go Outside
While technology is an amazing invention, it does have its drawbacks. We are much more likely to hunker down in our living rooms binge watching DVRed programming or in our bedrooms catching up on everyone’s insta-happenings. We have distanced ourselves from nature. Go outside, take a walk. Observe the complex intricacy of the environment around you. Reconnect with the world.
3. Make Self-Care a Priority
A fast-paced life is often accompanied with a long list of responsibilities. We tend to forget ourselves in that whirlwind of doing for others. Make yourself a priority by taking time to care about you. Pay attention to eating healthy, getting exercise, and pampering yourself every now and then.
4. Be Mindful
Mindfulness is a practice in which you focus your awareness on the present moment. Spending 5-10 minutes practicing does wonders for improving your mood. If you continue to practice and make mindfulness a daily ritual, the better you will become at coping with stress in your life.
5. Get Creative
Spend some time getting to know your inner artist. Music, cooking, writing, painting, and many more methods of creative expression are mood-booster. You can work out a lot of your daily stress (anxiety, depression, etc.) by embracing your creative self.
What does happy mean to you and how do you achieve it? Let us know!