Make Your Own Happiness: Here’s What I Did

Hello wonderful readers! I am back again with another blog post. I know I say this a lot, but I am most definitely overjoyed to write this post this week! This is because I am starting a new series called “Make Your Own Happiness.” The goal of this series is to teach you skills or promote positive mantras that you may not have thought of to make your days a little better! I know that in the news currently, we see so much negativity, bashing, and anger. It appears as if we cannot even scroll through social media without seeing a bitter battle between those with clashing opinions. I can easily be bogged down by all the sadness that seems to surround us.
But recently, I realized that my own happiness was not based on what was happening around me. If I wanted to regain my positive attitude, there were steps I could take to do that! For several hours of contemplation, I retraced over many important moments in my life and deciphered why I felt happy, sad, or angry. What became apparent was often that I chose to take the high road, decided to look at a brighter side, or even just “faked it till I made it.”
I think we each like to blame our negative moods and feelings on other things. This isn’t to say things like mental illness do not exist (I most certainly know that they do. If someone struggles with something like that, it most certainly should not be taken lightly and should definitely seek greater help with counseling and medication), but that simply inserting a time for positive thinking in your day can help improve yourself overall.

“Often that I chose to take the high road, decided to look at a brighter side, or even just ‘faked it till I made it.'” 

While it can certainly be easier to be negative, here are some reasons promoting positive thinking and overall happiness can be beneficial:
  • According to PsychologistWorld, there is a potentially large link between happiness and success. It is not that just success brings happiness, but happiness can actually increase a persons success
  • A 15 year study that concluded in 2010 suggested that happiness helped contribute to an increasing life span. In addition, those who experienced higher levels of happiness exercised more, and that an overall better mood could help build the want of physical activity.
  • It has been studied that up to 40% of our happiness has to do with our own mindset. That means that despite your circumstance, even the smallest of steps can lead to big impact.
  • A study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that people with happier outlooks were able to stabilize their heart rate more quickly than those with a negative look on life.

“40% of our happiness has to do with our own mindset”

So I’ve provided facts and figures, but the real question remains–how did I do it? And how can you? Here are three things to get you started! In the future, I will write more extended blog posts on each of these topics and more. In addition, if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments! I will add them to the list or try them out myself.

  1. Find your individual passions: We all have obligations with our jobs, our school work, our family life, and our relationships. But, I find the that having an activity you claim personal ownership over and that you do completely for pleasure is helpful in the process of happiness. For me, I love playing guitar and ukulele, knitting, crocheting, and drawing. If I want to share these passions with someone, I do. But, the development of my art style, the speed at which I can play chords, and the things which I create are completely up to me and my choice on the direction it goes.
  2. Expect Nothing; Appreciate Everything: I read recently this quote, and it certainly plucked an internal chord: “Expect nothing, appreciate everything and you will never be disappointed.” Pretty strong stuff, right? This is not to say you should not expect people to treat you with respect, but it is to say expect nothing to be handed to you–even happiness. We have to work for everything. Even writing this blog post, I did not expect to just have a free hour to do so. But, I gave up doing something else to have the hour and I appreciate that I have this opportunity. I do not expect to get A’s. I studied and work hard for those A’s. Now, I appreciate when I receive positive feedback on a project. You can’t expect that today is going to go perfectly. That way if it doesn’t, you won’t spend time being mad at the circumstance and instead be actively working to how it can be fixed or appreciating the lesson it taught you.
  3. Control Your Reactions: Another saying I read fairly recently that stuck with me was this: “We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control our reaction.” This is probably the most important lesson of this whole project and a lesson I continually learn every day. The universe owes us nothing at any time under any circumstance. Period. So, when bad things happen, we can easily turn to “my life is just awful, I don’t deserve this.” But really, the universe does not owe you a good day. So, you have to take what can make a good day and create it for yourself. This does play into the last thing as well, but being able to appreciate every event as a lesson helps in controlling your reaction. Sometimes people forget to make it to a meeting. Sometimes they don’t return your phone call. Sometimes they cut you off in traffic. Yes, you can be mad someone was late to the meeting, but instead its better to just put that aside and maximize your productivity. If they don’t return your phone call, give them a minute. Maybe they are having a bad day and if they did call you their negativity would just feed off to you. If someone cuts you off in traffic, maybe they are just learning to drive or made a mistake. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for being a defensive driver and noticing. Control your reactions to drive them to be at least more positive in direction. These things we learn are lessons that carry to our future. Have an experience, learn a lesson, live your life, repeat.

“Take what can make a good day and create it for yourself.”

I hope you all have enjoyed this post! I am so excited to continue writing for this series, as I have a multitude of new ideas up my sleeve with new lessons and tidbits that I hope you find interesting and can apply to your own life. As always, if you have suggestions, please comment or send them to me! I love hearing the life mantras and tips of other people, because we are all just learning here in the human experience!Until next time, make your own happiness.

Sincerely yours,

Mackenzie

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