Happiness: That elusive state of mind that likes to wave at you from afar, and run from you when up close. So many people claim that they have found happiness when they find a new love, or make a change in career paths, but what exactly have they found? I find that most people tend to have a different explanation than mine of what happiness is, but for once, I’m going to really stand my ground here. To me, happiness is not contentment. Happiness is much, much more than that. In fact, happiness is the constant striving to better yourself and those around you every day; happiness means having no fears and taking risks.
After stumbling upon an interesting article in which Harvard led a 75-year study to find what it takes to lead a happy life, I was intrigued. The study found interesting facts, such as liberal men tend to have sex into an older age than conservative men, or that men with good mommy issues tend to make more money than those with a negative childhood. However, nowhere in the article did it inform readers just how to be happy. Thus, I have chosen to give a few tips of my own!
Get a dog
Dogs are the key to happiness- I promise. My quest out of the depths of depression didn’t come until I got my dog on Halloween morning, 2010. I had no intention of adopting a dog that day, but boy am I glad I did. Every day that I come home, regardless of the mood that I am in, he is so happy to see me that it is impossible to not put a smile on my face. Dogs love you for who you are, and they will never talk back to you. They are more than willing to be the friend that you need when you need someone by your side as you guzzle vodka and shovel ice cream down your throat. They are more than willing to climb into bed and cuddle with you on your worst nights. But most importantly, they are willing to love you forever.
So many people I know in business think that admitting a weakness is grounds for dismissal, or puts them in a compromising position when being considered for a promotion. However, I think that is 100% wrong. When one is able to admit a weakness or fault, they are able to begin working on it. However, if you find it impossible to admit that you suck at integrity, or being a go-getter, how will you ever fix it? Admit a weakness, and find someone you admire who is awesome at it! They will be more than willing to teach you their ways, and not only will you form a great relationship out of it, you will also better yourself.
Take a risk daily
Do something once a day that is completely out of your norm- you might like it! Go out to lunch by yourself and order a salmon roll instead of your normal spicy tuna roll. Don’t like it? Well, at least you can say you tried it. If you think that’s a little bit lame, then do something crazy! Go skydiving, book an impromptu vacation with your significant other, or eat fish eyes somewhere! Just prove to yourself that fear is simply a figment of your imagination, and you control it your entire life. Once you learn how to conquer your fears, you will rise to great heights. Guaranteed.
Stop looking outward; focus on the inward
Friends, family and dogs are all great support systems, and they are always there to help you along the way. However, it is important to look within yourself and really figure out what is holding you back from being as happy as you can be. For me, it was my path in life. It was me believing I was meant to do something in life that I really did not want to do. As soon as I stopped pursuing that path, my happiness rushed in. I learned that I was sick of being held to certain standards, and the only person I need to report to is myself. As soon as you realize what it is inside you that just doesn’t feel right, get rid of it. Happiness will be soon to follow.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list of ways to achieve happiness, but these are my 4 biggest pointers to those on the elusive hunt. Good luck all!