It’s easy to believe you need extravagant events in your life to be content, especially when you see influencers taking gorgeous pictures while on vacation or friends getting engaged.
I hope you know by now that’s not true. No person, experience, or material will “finally” make you happy.
You’ll be satisfied when you finally get your dream car or a bigger home, of course, but the pleasure won’t last. You’ll look for the next purchase to “finally” make you feel pleased with your life.
Here’s the thing: there’s no “finally” when it comes to happiness. When it comes to genuine joy, there is only here and now.
You Can Wish for More and Be Happy at the Same Time
My family has struggled financially for nearly a decade. While I have my pessimistic moments, generally, I’m happy and grateful. I’m healthy, I do what I love for a living, and there’s so much I’ve learned from these difficult experiences.
This doesn’t mean that my family is content to stay in this situation. We might be grateful, but we’re not settled. You can be happy and still want more, as long as you don’t expect whatever more means to you to finally make you happy.
Mark Manson once shared a study that revealed that on a scale from one to ten, people mark their overall happiness as a seven.
“At the grocery store buying milk. Seven. Attending my son’s baseball game. Seven. Talking to my boss about making a big sale to a client. Seven,” he wrote in his article, The Disease of More.
It wasn’t until they were getting married or graduating from college that they were at a ten. The point is, you don’t need to be at a ten. You can be at a seven — and that’s excellent. That’s just being happy.
5 Simple Ways to Love Your Life a Little More
You can be unhappy for two reasons.
- The first is what we just talked about: You believe that “more” and “better” will bring you joy.
- The second is that you’re doing too many things that make you unhappy. You believe bigger and more fantastic materials and experiences will solve your problems.
I acknowledge that there are people who truly are unhappy, which is why they can’t find joy in the moment. These people often…
- binge-watch TV shows or escape reality through films;
- don’t do activities they enjoy;
- hang out with people who bring them down;
- let their phones control them;
- don’t let their curiosity lead.
If that sounds like you, then it’s okay to search for ways to love your life a little more. Now you know, however, that you don’t need to buy expensive products or attend fancy events to be happy.
Happiness can be subtle. Here are five ways to find it.
1. Stop Watching Too Many TV-Shows
Watching television shows can be fun. Watching TV shows every day, no matter how exciting the episode is, is boring. Not only is it tiresome, but it’s also going to make you unhappy with your life.
There’s nothing wrong with watching three or even four episodes per week — especially when you watch them after a day of hard work. But no character is going to bring you the delight you’re searching for.
Perhaps the life you live through the screen seems better than the one you live in reality, but do you want to live your life through fictional characters? Binge-watching five times a week is making you miserable. Ditch it.
2. Make Time for Simple Joys
Since you’ll have more free time available to you, you can now make time for relaxing, simple activities you love. Don’t underestimate the power that a good cup of coffee and a sudoku puzzle can have.
Learn how to skateboard and ride around your block. (Yes, even if you’re over 30.) Buy a puzzle, a word-search book, or play solitaire.
Perhaps these sound too simple, but they can be incredibly calming. Whichever hobby you’ve wanted to pick up, this is your time to do it. No matter how big or small, your happiness requires that you make time for the activities you enjoy.
If you want, do them with a friend. Start a book club. Join Jiu-Jitsu together. The point is that it makes you happy or helps you genuinely relax.
3. Get Off Your Phone
People are addicted to their phones. The average person spends three and a half hours on their phone every day. Pure joy can be found by simply looking up.
Rather than scrolling through Twitter while you wait in line, observe life around you. Instead of giggling at a meme you saw on Instagram, be present with your family during dinner. Enjoy some real laughs.
Turn off your notifications. Shut down your phone now and then, and let yourself be in the moment. You don’t need to share every fun experience you have with friends. You can just enjoy them.
4. Pick People Over Work
It’s been nearly two years since my uncle and his fiancée had their daughter, Delilah. Every time they come over unexpectedly, I don’t care if I’m in the middle of editing an article I need to publish soon, I will close my laptop and spend the next hour looking for ways to make Delilah laugh and smile and dance.
You don’t need to choose to go out every time. You can skip family dinners if you have a real deadline. But if you can, choose family and friends over work. The people you care about — who care about you just as much — are the ultimate bringers of joy. Make time for them.
There’s something so beautiful about reading. Sometimes, you have to pause to take a breath. Every emotion is profound. It’s relaxing.
“When you read a great book, you don’t escape from life, you plunge deeper into it.” — Julian Barnes, A Life with Books
Read, and you’ll fall in love with life a little more. It’s like holding a piece of the sun in your hands. While it can be a form of escapism, like tv, reading doesn’t cause you stress. It’s more relaxing than listening to music.
Remember, happiness doesn’t need to be grand. It can be subtle. As long as what your activity keeps you at a seven, then you’re doing alright.
Life isn’t supposed to be made up of tens, anyway. The real tens wouldn’t be as enjoyable if every part of life were grand. Look for ways to love your life just a bit more, and it’ll make all the difference.
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