By Kristi Morgan, LMSW
Whether or not you are in a relationship, being happy is something that we all want! If you can be happy on your own as a single person, you will likely be happy in your relationship. However, if you think you need someone in your life to make you happy, you are getting into a relationship for the wrong reasons.
Do not confuse moments of joy with happiness. Happiness is not a fleeting feeling. Happiness is more than what you feel in the moment. In fact, you can be overall happy even when you are having a bad day or when you face setbacks in life. Happiness is when you have your act together and have set realistic goals and are working towards these goals in these areas of your life - family, social, financial, personal development, career, spiritual, and physical. . Happiness is feeling good about yourself as a person and having activities and relationships that lead to self-fulfillment. You could have a physical health crisis, for example, but still be a happy person because you understand that setbacks are a part of life. If your overall outlook is positive and you have other areas of life that are going well for you, personal crises will not cause you to lose your overall feelings of happiness. In fact, when other areas of your life are going well, these areas can help to pull you through a personal crisis
The following tips will help you in your pursuit of happiness:
- Gratitude Journal. Make a daily habit of writing down three things for which you are happy. These don’t have to be big things. In fact, being grateful for the everyday small things will help you to be more mindful of the blessings in your life. When you are feeling down, look back over your daily lists for a reminder of all the good you have. DO NOT journal the negative things in your life. All this does is make you dwell too much on the bad things. Focus only on the positive.
- Acts of kindness. –Practice the “pay it forward” philosophy and do something nice for someone. Doing something for someone else lifts both your mood and the mood of the recipient. If you anonymously do something nice for someone, you can be sure that you are being kind for the right reasons—not just for the accolades you will receive for doing a good deed.
- Maintain relationships. It takes work, but keeping in touch with those you are close to will greatly improve your mood. Take the time to send a text, an e-mail, an old fashioned letter, or make a phone call. Spend time with friends and family as often as you can. Don’t be the shut-in who gets too nervous to go to a party or meet new people. Those with friends and family surrounding them show the highest levels of happiness. Be sure to continue to keep in touch with the people who matter to you even after you enter into a romantic relationship. Many times, people focus too much on their significant other, especially at the beginning, and end up isolating themselves from everyone else. Maintain healthy relationships with a wide variety of people in your life for a healthy balance.
- Exercise. The positive benefits of exercise on your health, sleep, and mood are astounding! You will look better, feel better, have an improved immune system, and alleviate depression if you exercise. Don’t know where to start? Just add a 30 minute walk to your day and make this walk a part of your regular routine. Exercise is one of those things that people say they know they need to do, but, for some reason, never make time for. The positive benefits of exercise are too good to be ignored, so start today!
- Let go. If you are holding on to the past, a grudge, or some wrong that has been done to you, you will not be happy until you can let it go and move forward. If this is you, talk to a therapist about ways you can begin to let go. Once you let go of those negative feelings from the past, you can begin to live the happy, fulfilling life that you deserve.
Edited by August Wright