Being happy isn’t easy. It doesn’t just happen, it doesn’t occur naturally and sadly there’s no special fairy dust (fairy dust would be pretty cool though). Happiness takes work, and it is 100% your choice whether you are happy. Personally, I think it’s easier to be miserable, whereas you really have to make an effort to find your happy groove, but the rewards are most definitely worth the work. Life is better when you’re happy, and I don’t think anyone can debate that statement.
How do I maintain my happy? I do things I know make me feel good about myself and give me an outlet for stress. This is really important. I eat good and real food all day long, so I’m not depriving myself (like a diet would). I work out four to five times per week, which allows me to let go of any tension, negative energy or stress, and ultimately I feel pretty darn good about myself. Yeah sure, I want more muscle tone or a flatter stomach, but I’m working to get those things, and I’m definitely not unhappy with what I’m rocking now.
When I was 15, 20 and even 30 pounds heavier, I was depressed or angry most of the time, although I wouldn’t admit it (stubborn much). My shirts and pants no longer fit (hello muffin top). I was embarrassed with my body, and I didn’t even want the Hubby to see me sans clothing, and that can make things really awkward. I was uncomfortable in my own skin and knew this was no way to live. I wanted better for myself, and then I realized nothing was going to change unless I did, which is why happiness takes work. So I made changes. I went back to the gym and started working out again. I changed my eating habits and ditched processed food. Sure, eating that crap was quick and easy, but in the long run, it wasn’t making me happy.
The first step in getting to your happy place is to own your misery so you can take responsibility for it. By this, I mean you have to confront and accept you might not be entirely happy with yourself or your surroundings. This can be really hard to do for some people; it certainly was for me. It took weeks worth of gentle prodding from the Hubby to finally embrace the fact I wasn’t happy. Each time he suggested it, I denied it and my response was typically delivered through clenched teeth, “I’m fine.” But deep down, I wasn’t, and until I accepted it, I wasn’t going to be able to change it. When I finally and grudgingly came to the conclusion the Hubby might be onto something, I said, still through clenched teeth, “Maybe I’m just a little unhappy.” Owning it allowed me to take responsibility for it.
This is the second step. Take responsibility for your mood and actions. It’s not the weather’s fault, it’s not the guy who cut you off in traffic (and of course, it’s a guy because women drive just fine), it’s not the snarky coworker, or the spouse. Your mood is on you. I learned long ago, people are not going to act, react, or behave the way you think they should, and you can’t control other people or external factors in your life. What you can control is your own response. So, the question is are you going to let some crazy driver ruin your day? You can, but you don’t have to. You can choose to brush it off and move on. This isn’t always easy, but it’s also why it requires work to be happy. Sometimes it’s hard to let things go, but you’ll feel better if you do. It takes more energy to be angry with someone than just letting it go. I’m not suggesting you let people walk all over you (hell to the No), but don’t let their issues become yours.
Step Three is to change. If you aren’t happy with something, change it. If you hate your job, look for another one. If you want to lose weight, change your eating habits, join a gym. If you want time for yourself, change things up and make it happen. If there are obstacles (or excuses) in your way, then find a way to tackle them. And, if you don’t try to change it, you can’t complain about it. Simple as that.
You know what I did today to make myself happy. I went spinning and I loved every blissfully sweaty second of it. And I rewarded myself with an entire head of cauliflower for dinner and soaked that bad boy in a Blue Cheese Vinaigrette, and it was good, real good.
What makes you happy? What did you do today to get your happy groove on? What do you need or want to change?