Every once in a while, we all find ourselves feeling a little down. It can be a momentary pang, a fleeting woe, or even a recurring gloom. There are countless articles written about achieving happiness in your everyday life. Volumes of books exist on how to enjoy enduring peace but they fail to mention the essential first step. Like the thousand-mile journey that begins with just that step, so, too, does the path toward a fulfilling life start with just one moment of happiness.
Believe it or not, you can feel happy (kudos to those who are already there). Yes, right this instant! You can start by accepting that happiness is, in fact, a choice. Just like old Mr. Scrooge chose to overlook the joy of the holidays, so can we overlook our woes and be happy. I stress this now because none of what I am about to tell you will be of any worth unless you are ready to make the simple decision of accepting happiness.
As you read this, are you beginning to open up to the idea? Good. Then let’s dispel your first happiness obstacle. What’s wrong? Have you recently broken up with a significant other? Lost your job? Or worried that either one might be around the corner? The first thing to realize is none of these things are happening NOW. As you read this, it’s highly unlikely that you are in the middle of a heated dispute or having one of your worries become reality. No, it’s more likely that you are safe, secure, and maybe even … cozy? So why not be content with the fact that right now there really isn’t anything wrong. If anything, having a positive, joyful mindset now will help you deal with any issues that could come up.
So if that idea sounds at all appealing to you, can you please do something for me? Can you go ahead and smile? Really smile. Even if it’s a forced little smirk, go ahead and force it. We are the image we project onto the world. Even our own mind falls for the guises that our body assumes. Whatever you do, don’t think you are somehow tricking your brain into a false happiness. The serotonin produced by your brain as a result of even the faintest smile is surely real, and it will work straight away towards boosting your immediate happiness level.
So what else is troubling you? Does your neighbor drive a nicer car? Live in a nicer house than you? Perhaps you are upset because the couple across the street are embracing each other tenderly while you lament being single? Whatever the case may be, have you taken the time to stop and consider the great things you already have? Maybe it’s the best friend that you can always count on. Maybe it’s your loving partner who continues to stand by you through it all. Or maybe it’s the twenty dollar bill sitting comfortably in your pocket and the clean water flowing out of your kitchen sink. During a recent trip to a less privileged part of the world, I saw by striking comparison, just how good we have it here at home. Simply knowing where your next meal will come from or that you have a warm bed to lie down in is unfortunately not a luxury everyone can claim. So by comparison, how bad does your life really seem?
I know what else we can do! Shall you join me for a walk down memory lane? See that photo on your wall there? The one you’ve failed to take any notice of the last umpteen times you passed your glance over it. Well, take a good look at it now. Remember how happy you felt when that shot was taken. Just recall the atmosphere that filled the air and made you so happy that you wanted to be reminded of it every time you looked at it. Likewise, a nostalgic song can work to the same effect. You know, the one that you and your old sweetheart shared in school? Or the one you played on repeat in the car during your road trip. These are just the two that come to mind offhand but everyone has their own special mementos. So find yours and let it remind you once more just what exactly made it so special in the first place.
While you reminisce about that, also take a moment to remember the people that helped make those memories … memorable! These same people are in most cases still here for you. I bet if you really wanted to, you could name a handful of people that miss you right now and wish they were around to cheer you up and take your mind off of whatever may be troubling you. Whatever happens, after any breakup, after any misfortune, these people always keep a special place for you in their heart, now and forever. So why not pick up the phone and let the ones who truly know you help.
Finally, find the fortitude to look one-step ahead of the misfortune. See it not as a loss, but as a new opportunity. Chances are, if you’ve suddenly lost something then things were not exactly rosy to begin with. Use this opportunity to move on and take the path you’ve always thought about taking. How many people do you know who are in blissful relationships now because their old significant other couldn’t appreciate them? How many people have found their true purpose in life after being let go from the job they thought they were dependent on? Sure, Rome wasn’t built in a day but the liberation of taking the first step can be a very uplifting experience.
Alternatively, you can take this time to do something for yourself. Whatever that something is for you personally. For example, nothing comforts me like a soothing cup of green tea. For one of my girlfriends, it’s cranking up some dance jams and letting it all out in the disco that is her living room floor. Some people bake, some people write poetry. Find your escape and submerge yourself wholly into it.
Finally, all you need to do is to understand one universal, yet often overlooked truth. EVERYONE gets down sometimes. Even the individuals we envy or look up to. Everyone has their problems and everyone has to face them sooner or later. That is not a choice. The choice we are given is how we take the news and what we do to get back on our feet once again. I hope this guide serves its purpose and gives you, the reader, some solace and reassurance that helps you do just that. Start your journey towards lasting happiness with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. Well … happy?