I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness. How we attain it, why it comes to us, and what we all can do to help others get a little bit more of it. I know that it’s not the kind of thing someone can just come up to you and demand for you to be; that’s unrealistic, and frankly, it’s not something that can be taught or learned. This isn’t a list for how to be happy, it’s a list of choices I’ve found can change your life for the better, but only if you let them. I know that my list may be a lot different than yours, but I have a feeling that just like how we feel happiness similarly, we might create it similarly, too.
Make time for things that you enjoy doing. No matter how many times you try to convince yourself that you can’t take time from your busy life to read a book or whatever that something may be, I can assure you, taking an hour will make your life more stress-free and probably will help productivity also. I don’t suggest avoiding all of your responsibilities in order to have some ‘you time’, but planning your day better. That hour (or more, most likely) you spend scrolling through your social media feeds or snapchatting selfies? I’m guessing you’d have more fun doing a hobby, instead of regretting the time wasted as soon as you look at the time.
Keep your spontaneity. If you have no desire to do this usually, at least do it to break from the schedule you’re in. It’s true that humans are creatures of habit, but that doesn’t mean we enjoy being that way. We fall into a schedule and grow unhappy when each day barely varies from the others. This doesn’t have to mean you quit your nine to five or skip class; sometimes it just means something as simple as eating breakfast for dinner or attending a class you’ve always wanted to with a friend.
Treat yourself. In the end, you’re the one that has to live inside your body and with the decisions you make. Treat yourself, and I mean it. Have that dessert you’ve wanted, especially if you deserve it after a hard workout or study session. Take a bath, get a massage, go for some retail therapy. It doesn’t really matter how you go about it, as long as you know you’ll feel happy after it, also. So, yes, that means put down the whole cake and take a slice. Order the hamburger when your friends get salads, because we know that those pieces of lettuce will just make you more miserable anyway.
Don’t spend so much time embarrassed or guilty. I know, you just farted in front of your boyfriend. Can you change that now? No, you can’t. Frankly, it’ll only make things weirder if you let it become weirder. So laugh about the things, or block out the memory of them if they’re that bad. There’s no need to spend so much time with guilt weighing down on you, either. I understand if you’re guilty over a fight with a friend, for example, but confronting and resolving the issue will make you a lot happier in the long run. Even if it seems like defeat, sometimes apologizing instead of proving your point is the only way to solve the issue and keep both you and your friend happy.
Take a break. I’m not saying take a year hiatus from school to blow money travelling the world, but I am saying that sometimes, we need a day for ourselves. Or we need to not do homework when we know it won’t be too detrimental to our grades. A good friend once told me sophomore year that my mental health was more important than a letter grade; I don’t think enough students here realize how little one class of high school will affect your gpa if it’s slightly less than what you were hoping for. If we want happiness, we’re going to have to put it before things that are less important, and I promise you, there is very little in life more important than happiness.
Work to be happy. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but yes, you do have to consciously decide that you want to be happier and work towards it. You have to make changes in your life, whether it’s cutting out those toxic friends or letting loose a bit and taking chances.