I do not presume to have to answers to how people find and keep happiness. I am only learning as I go, and honestly I have never been the poster board child for how to live a happy life. But I find there are a few things I am working to change or have finally changed and I’m sure they’re worth sharing. 

1. Smiling- 

I don’t know what it is about smiling but I find that the more I do it the more others around me do it. Nothing beats grabbing coffee in the morning and smiling at the barista. I find that the happiness and joy that comes from that small interaction is quite notable and wonderful. It permeates throughout my day. I want that interaction to last and happen in all aspects of my life.  I find I am more understanding and more connected when I smile and look those I interact with in the eyes. They notice it. I feel it, and in some small way I have impacted someone’s day, and they have impacted mine. This feeling is so important to my day-to-day happiness that I want to treat everyone around me with the feeling as if I am greeting a long lost friend. I am happy to see them, and I am happy to have just a few minutes of their day. It doesn’t always work the way I want it to, but man when it does that feeling is gold. 

2. Working out- 

I feel like I’ve read a million articles that say the most productive people start their day with a work out. I’m pretty sure I understand why now that I’ve started a routine workout in the morning. For me,  group or class workouts motivate me. It’s a fantastic feeling to stand next to the same group of people everyday and share laughter, energy and excitement that lasts through the day. When I work out, I feel better about my health. I have more energy. I am more happy and content with my physical appearance despite what size the scale shows that I am. This feeling is one that I have searched for through most of my life. I am confident, sexy and energized.

3. Waking up early- 

This is another one that I’ve read a lot of articles that talk about this, but I never beilieved it until I did it for myself. Starting the day early not only motivates me to do more, but I feel as if I have captured more time. It sucks to wake up at 8 am in the morning when I’ve been up since 1 am because I work evening hours, but I have time to accomplish things that I never did when I was sleeping in. I though I would sleep for as long as possible so that I could get through the night shift hours. I found that I was less motivated and depressed by the feeling that I was sleeping my life away. Waking up early at a set time each day has taught me discipline. I am able to regulate how late I stay up at night because I want as much sleep as possible.  And I am able to rest easier at night knowing all I’ve accomplished in my day.

4. Acceptance-

I struggle with this a lot. It doesn’t matter how you define acceptance, I have struggles with it. Understanding my life in comparison to someone else’s, acknowledging and appreciating others differences, recognizing where I am at in my life and not being upset about it… you name it, I’ve struggled with it. With that being said, I am happier when I am able to get on social media and be joyful for the growth others have displayed, the lives they have built, and the happiness they exude. Sharing in their happiness from a far and not feeling pressure to have the same happiness. With this being said, this takes a bit of understanding that we all are different, and someone else’s path cannot and will not be my own. I admire their strengths and take inventory of my own. Reminding myself that I am stronger and better than who I was yesterday, and for me that is what is most important. 

5. Courage- 

For me this means having the ability to take control of my life and produce the results I want. Forgetting the voices and opinions that often paralyze and stifle action and creativity. Courage is necessary to forge through the fire. People are allowed to have opinions of my life and the choices I make, but finding the courage to love and live my life for myself has helped me feel content with my life in all aspects. Courage is not easy. It sometimes means taking the road less travelled and understood. It means sometimes walking or standing alone, but the joy I find in knowing that I am content with the decisions I made each day make up for the fear that rises in the heat of the moment. We have the power to change a lot, if only we can find the courage to sustain and stay true to our inner desires, fight through our personal fears, and remain true to our values and beliefs. 

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