As long as I can remember, I’ve only wanted one thing. Happiness. I’ve had it and I’ve lost it and I’ve found it again. Some days it hides from me but recently, it’s managed to stick around. It’s not by chance that I feel it everyday. I went out and I found it. I build my life with happiness in mind and I thank myself for it everyday. Even when situations aren’t ideal, if you live mindfully and truly, the happiness is always there. It took me a little while of deliberate planning and of mind training to get myself to this point I’m at right now and living this way as really set me free. So here are my tips & I hope I can somehow help you find your happiness
I was in a negative pit a while ago. I was miserable with my life and myself. Stuck in a cycle of binge eating and negative self talk, I couldn’t escape myself. Until one day in my elective Wellness class, we were discussing gratitude. A classmate shared that every day she wrote down 5 things in her life she was grateful for. After class, I bought a journal and I started writing. Every night, 5 things that day that I was grateful for. Some things were simple like catching a green light or petting a dog on the way to class. Some were bigger like how my roommate introduced all of her friends with a small monologue of their best qualities and accomplishments or the indescribable love I feel when my boyfriend looks at me. Getting out of class 5 minutes early. BOGO strawberries. MY long waves. Crushing a 5.11b clean. The warmth of sitting at a bonfire with a group of your friends. Soft, cute doggos. My mom. Warm, gooey brownies. The ability to run. Free chai lattes. The opportunity to pursue my education. My favorite socks. Everyday, I started looking around at all the amazing things in my life I have to be thankful for and things started looking up. Even on days I was down, I could always find at least 5 things to be happy about. If you’re stuck in a negative mindset right now, try it. Get a cute journal or the back of a napkin and get grateful.
This seems super obvious but so many people don’t do it. Set time aside for yourself everyday. To do yoga, jog, hike, use a face mask, cook, read, do arts and crafts, watch a movie, fold your laundry. Something. By yourself. Everyday. So many people are terrified of being alone but it’s the best way to find yourself. How do you know who you are if you never spend time alone? Pick something that you enjoy doing and make time for it everyday.
Actively makes us feel GOOD. It doesn’t matter if you sprint an ultramarathon or take the stairs at work. Incorporating a little movement into everyday helps you feel good about yourself and your body. As my dad says, good, clean, sweat. If you don’t like running, don’t. If you dread lifting weights, stop. Practice activities that make YOU happy to do them. I like to run without tracking my pace or distance. It lets me enjoy how running makes me feel rather than stressing about reaching a goal. It lets me listen and respond to how the movement makes me feel. It lets me run wild and free. Find movement that brings joy into your life and make time for it throughout the week.
I wouldn’t be an (almost) dietitian if I didn’t bring this one up. Food holds a lot of people back. I’ll keep this short and sweet. Eating should be enjoyable. You should never feel guilty about eating. There are no “good” and “bad” foods. Food is just food. Some foods are more nutrient dense than others and some are more caloric but you should be free to enjoy them all in moderation. Eating should make your body and your mind feel good. If you’re struggling with diet or an eating disorder, please seek treatment (message me if you need help finding resources). How different is life when food is not your sole focus in the universe. It’s amazing how great you feel when you eat mindfully and intuitively. Listen to your body and how different foods effect you. Eat foods that make you feel good and happy. Every bite is a little feast in your mouth.
This is arguably the hardest one. We don’t always have control of our situations. Sometimes we’re stuck. In a job we hate, a town we want nothing to do with, or in a group of people we don’t fit in with. Being in a less than optimal (to put it positively) situation can really bring you down. The negativity of the situation can seep a little bit more into your thoughts everyday. But not everyone has the ability to escape situation like this. Not everyone can just pick up and move, quit their jobs, find a new group of friends. Freedom to totally escape is a privilege but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to make your situation better. I personally had a hard time making Tallahassee my home. It was beautiful and warm but I just wasn’t comfortable there. I didn’t have a place. Slowly, I found my spots and through them I was able to find a love for Tally. Finding places that made me happy like my favorite coffee shops, the prettiest hikes, vegan restaurants, or Tallahassee Rock Gym, and making sure I took time out of my week to spend time there, slowly made things better. Sitting in my room brewed negativity and hate for a place I now miss so much. The environment we’re in can have a huge effect on our outlook. So if you have the freedom to, choose an environment that settles your mind, that makes you smile. If you don’t have that freedom, take a second look at where you are. Investigate a little deeper. There may be people or places or things about your situation that you’ve never seen before. A little oasis may be hiding from you in plain sight and that one little thing can make all the difference
We’ve always laughed at my dad for saying this. It’s basically his response to everything. Ran out of gas on the highway? No one saved you dessert? Failed a test? It is what it is. We even bought him a t-shirt with that printed on the front. We laugh but it’s actually a moto I’ve taken to heart. It’s easy to get hung up on things, to fixate and stress yourself out. Very few things in life are worth your peace of mind. Stressing over things you can’t change just hurts yourself. This doesn’t mean don’t care about things or don’t work to change the wrongs in the world. Go and work hard, make progress in our society, and be passionate about the things you care about. But don’t sweat the little things. Flat tires, bad grades, failed expeditions, car accidents, breakups, fights, and bad luck are all a part of life. Getting fixated on the negativity of situation holds you back. It is what it is. I believe the saying is “Let go of all that no longer serves you.” Accept what you can and keep moving forward.
Lastly, but most important, think gently. This can be implemented in all the previous bullets. Take it easy on yourself and others. You are often your own worst critic and it’s easy to let the negativity spill out of you and into your thoughts of others. We’re all just trying our best out here. Give yourself a break and use that space to let positive thoughts seep in. Be gentle with your words, your thoughts, and your actions. Think gently, love fully.