“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
Okay, now that you’ve read the quote – you did read it, right? I hope so. It’s important. In fact, it’s so important that step two is for you to read the quote again. Okay, okay – I’m kidding…kind of.
I graduated with a degree in Computer Science – so I’m not human psychological expert. In fact, I can’t even give you a list of five things guaranteed to make you happy for the rest of your life. However, I can share this quote. I mentioned my favorite piece of this quote just a week or so ago: “happiness is the consequence of personal effort.” That’s right. You are in control of your own happiness. Not your parents or your spouse or your significant other or your kids. Nope. Just you. Now, I don’t mean to put any pressure on you…but it’s all on you! Woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Make the choice to turn your day around! Having a bad hair day? Make the choice to put a hat on. Have a back ache? Hot or cold compresses work great (depending on the cause). Getting the picture?
Now, I’m not saying that every life event that we go through on our grand adventures of life will be happy. That’s not the case – at all. Death, sickness, stress and many other things can and do commonly cause unhappiness. However, general life happiness? Well, it’s up to YOU to make that choice to be happy. Life, after all, is about the choices we make.
Below is a list of results returned from Google-ing “How to be Happier”:
- Get enough sleep; 7 to 8 hours per night!
- Eat right; fruits, veggies and protein!
- Exercise at least four days a week; sweat it out!
- Let anger go; some say to forgive those you are upset with immediately and others believe that allowing your anger some time to dissipate is best.
- Keep busy but avoid an urgent mindset.
- Fake it; if you’re feeling down, just pretend to be happy and you might surprise yourself by actually being in a better mood.
- Give your time to others; Volunteer!
- Keep learning!
- Make and keep friends! Close friends!
- Challenge yourself to do new and exciting things!
- Give up nagging and telling others what to do
- Make note of three things that were good or three things you’re grateful for each day.
- Just start smiling and laughing!
- Dance. Sing.
- Find faith.
- Be honest; being direct with those you’re close with makes for less work, worry and time wasted.
- Be humble.
- Always remember, experiences generally trump material purchases.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic recipe for happiness. It’s all about discovering what is right for you – what makes you happy? What gives you peace? This is where the personal effort begins: look inside yourself and really reflect on what is making you feel good and what is causing your chest to tighten up or giving you a headache. And no, you can’t just do this once. You have to do it consistently – throughout life! As what makes one happy when they are young changes as they grow. Take the time to reflect.
As today is the first day of summer, I have a bit of a challenge for myself and the rest of you: Make the choice to be happier. Do what you have to do to be happier. Make the time commitment to be happier. Give yourself the gift of personal effort. I truly believe that it will be a life changer.
Let me know what you think about this challenge or how you’re planning to be happier this summer in the comments below!