Maybe it’s very straightforward, I mean isn’t everyone’s goal to achieve happiness? But stick with me. At the start of every new year, there’s always that amazing feeling of positivity and the possibility of incredible opportunities – you know the one? A big part of that for me this year was the prospect of pure happiness. I’m aware that it can be so difficult to feel happy or be in a positive state of mind every minute of everyday, and I suppose that’s not what I was aiming for when I set this goal for myself. But because anxiety likes to creep up on me sometimes, focusing on happiness is even more important for me. (Not that it’s unimportant for people without anxiety, I’m sure, but you understand!)
So, when 2019 hit us, I couldn’t wait to start planning up ways that I could really channel my energy into working on my happiness. If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug!) you may have seen that I even bought myself a ‘happiness planner’. It’s basically just a day planner, but includes reflections and positive sayings for each month – honestly so perfect for me! I thought I would share in this post the importance of this goal and how I’ve been going about achieving it. Bear in mind it’s only February! Though I know these points will be doable for the rest of the year…
The first thing I started doing is writing down five things I’m grateful for every night before going to sleep. I think I may have shared this already on here, otherwise it was somewhere else (I can’t even keep up anymore 😜) Regardless, I can’t tell you what a difference it makes. I include such a variety of things, from the simplest ones of seeing the sun during the day, to the more in depth kind, like appreciating the blessing of getting to travel with Pedro. It’s very humbling to see how much we already have in our lives, things I easily take for granted, things that so many others may not have. It may sound like such a small thing to do, but I can assure you that it’s an amazing way to focus your mind on the small things that ultimately bring the most happiness.
Downloading podcasts on wellbeing and different apps with guided meditations and breathing exercises is another step I’ve taken. My favourite wellbeing podcast at the moment is Wellbeing Weekly. It’s hosted by a woman named Michelle, who is a trained counsellor and an entrepreneur. I particularly love listening to her because she specifically speaks to women entrepreneurs, with the aim of helping to improve their mindset and overall wellbeing. I can relate to a lot of her topics because I’m an online student, so majority of my time is spent alone in front of my laptop, plus I’m a blogger and freelance make-up artist. The entrepreneurial streak is prominent there, I’d like to think! I’ve also started using apps like Oak and Happy Not Perfect, which are both amazing for interactive meditations, breathing, and de-stressing exercises. If I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I do one of the exercises and it truly helps. These are also great because I am easily prone to stressing out over just about everything, and stress is a huge factor that can contribute to feelings of unhappiness and negativity.
Practising yoga or pilates is something that I have always been interested in and grown up with. Unfortunately this is the one that I am not the best with maintaining, and I can feel the effects immediately. Even when I’ve done only 15 minutes of yoga or pilates, I can feel a sense of calm and relaxation. I can be so stubborn sometimes (mainly when I’m feeling lazy!), which is so silly though because I know how good it makes me feel afterwards. Yoga specifically is so helpful in regaining your focus on what’s important, and it forces you to breathe! It’s definitely what I need to work on, but it’s written down in my happiness planner in big letters “SPEND AS MUCH TIME PRACTISING BREATHING AND YOGA.” It doesn’t get clearer than that! Have you noticed how calm and happy people who practise yoga are? It really is like they’ve trained their mind to spend energy on things that will only serve them. If you can do this, that’s amazing. You know the saying ‘comparison is the thief of joy’? Well if you can train your mind to stay away from things like comparing yourself to others, can you imagine what a difference it would make to your own self-image and happiness? I think comparison is something everyone struggles with sadly. I know for myself it’s a constant battle I’m trying to win!
A big downfall of mine has always been a lack of patience, and that is the cause of much irritation in my life. Implementing changes that consist of slowing down, taking a step back, and thinking before acting, are so important in helping me maintain my happiness. For some people, patience comes so easily, for others not so much. (😝) But at the end of the day it’s really up to you with how you want to react in certain situations. I’m learning more and more that often it’s not even worth your time to get upset or irritated over things. If anything, that just really dampens your happiness. Like, let’s just chill maaaahhhnn? *laughs awkwardly*
Happiness isn’t so straightforward actually. There’s so many things that affect it, add to it, take away from it, obstruct its course, fulfil it, the list can go on. Though I am realising more and more what is going to positively impact my happiness and what isn’t. So, my 2019 goal is happiness. Pure, simple happiness. And I know with some patience, deep breaths, and focusing on things and people I love, I am on the right path! What are your happiness tips?