Happiness- probably one of the most underused tool in our toolbox. Often you hear people talk about it, but it’s always described as this elusive fantasy wrapped in smiles and giggles. A newborn babies smile, a trip to your favorite place, that lotto ticket that’s going to hit. You get the feeling that this is something that will come from the external rather internal.
As I sat in in front of my office computer, staring at this quote I have written boldly on my board, “Do what makes YOU happy”, all I could think was, “What is happiness, and where does it come from?”
I often encourage people to be choose happiness, but it dawned on me that for many people that could mean something completely different. We have all been through different situations, raised in different environments, under different circumstances; we have all been conditioned differently, therefore we will not look at the same thing the exact same way. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
In my 30 years of life, I have learned so much. I’ve been through my share of joyful and painful events, but through it all I have grown to become a better woman, mother, friend, and so much more. Although I have much more to learn on my life’s journey, I wanted to share what I’ve gathered so far on this subject of happiness.
Patience is a virtue.
I’m a millennial. I was raised with lots of gadgets and getting what I wanted when I usually wanted. It’s true, we have a microwave mentality about a lot of stuff- including expectations of ourselves. I’ve racked my brain relentlessly stressing about where I thought I should be at age 21, 25, and 30. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having goals and plans for your life. But, you know what I’ve learned? Life doesn’t work that way.
Most of what our heart truly desires (better job, more money, healthier relationships), will require sacrifice, hard work, and patience. You cannot rush the process, and the more you try, the more frustrated you become. I’ve lost money, relationships, and pride because I wasn’t disciplined enough to be patient. I’ve caused myself unwanted stress because I lacked patience. I’ve learned to simply allow what I want to appear before me. Trusting that the effort that I have invested into my business and relationships will give me a return when the time comes. I’ve learned not to worry. Just stay focused, work diligently, and stay patient.
Once you understand that everything you want is waiting for you, you won’t have to chase it; the resources will appear before you. Your job is to recognize and turn every opportunity into a stepping stone towards your goal(s).
Make the time to unplug
When was the last time you’ve taken a vacation from your phone? These days the only place you probably won’t find someone with their phone is in the shower. We use our gadgets for various tasks- from waking us up in the morning, to the late night social media scroll. It’s safe to say we are addicted to our phones.
It wasn’t until I lost my phone one evening at the gym, and had to wait (what felt like) weeks for another one, did I realize how attached I am to it. I remember the overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, and anger rush over me in a matter of seconds. I had no means of communication with the world. I felt…lost.
After that shameful moment, I decided to take a break from the worry and accept it as a vacation from from the cellular God’s. I refocused my energy on things that really mattered most, and I found myself to be significantly more productive. It was literally the best vacation I had ever taken. I was able to get more done in less time, and I didn’t feel overwhelmed. Now, I take this same vacation once every week. No calls, no text, no e-mails, no social media.
Whether or not you have a vacation scheduled, I strongly encourage you to take some time to unplug. It does not have to be an entire day, but perhaps just start with a few hours every day to begin breaking that addiction. Turn your phone off once you get home from work or try spending an entire Sunday without using your phone. You may be surprised by how free you might feel while doing so.
One of the best FREE ways to get a boost of energy and confidence is to get your body moving. Jogging, swimming, weight lifting, yoga are just a few ideas that can help anyone get started. It is a fact that exercise effects our happiness and well-being, and has become an effective strategy for overcoming depression. You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from exercise, though. Exercise can help you relax, increase your brain power, and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.
I often hear people say they don’t have time to exercise. You don’t have to put an hour or two into getting a good workout in. You can get a great workout in 15-30 minutes, 3-5 days a week. Don’t know where to start? YouTube is full of FREE workouts you can start, no matter what level- beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
Start getting your sweat on!
Get your beauty rest
I chuckle to myself as I write this part, because anyone that knows me knows that I struggle with this. I’m known to go days without any sleep or operate on 3-5 hours a day. At one point in my mid 20’s, I worked 2 jobs that had me on a 24 hour work cycle, and I only got sleep when I had a day off of one. I attended school part-time; all while raising two children, and trying to maintain my personal relationships. It was rough.
Then something terrible happened. I started having terrible chest pain, and being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. When I arrived in the emergency room, they treated my condition with needles, drugs, and a ton of questions I couldn’t answer. I was worried and afraid. I didn’t know why I was experiencing this at the age of 25.
The diagnosis? Lack of sleep.
As an entrepreneur, I often hear that you can’t be successful AND well rested. That is a bunch of crap. When we’re sleep deprived, our risk for depression increases, we’re more likely to experience higher stress levels, we gain weight, and not as effective as we would be had we gotten 7+ hours in. Humans need sleep to live and function, and if you’re not functioning at your best as an entrepreneur, your bank account will suffer too!
It’s time to make your pillow a priority.
With these 4 simple tips in mind, I challenge you to start taking steps towards manifesting the happiness you deserve. Ask yourself, “What do you want from life?” Just know, your happiness is your task to take on, no one else’s. Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work. So use these tips to start your own Happiness Journey.