How to Live a Happier Life
"Do more of what makes you happy." You've probably heard that before. I know I have! But it seems too good to be true, much easier said than done.
Sometimes when I hear it, all I can think of are obstacles to happiness. I can't do more of what makes me happy because I don't have enough time, or enough money, or enough talent, or enough ideas. I'm too busy already-- I can't possibly do MORE of ANYTHING! Wouldn't doing more of what makes me happy mean having less time for the other-- more practical-- things in my life?
After all, we're adults. We have responsibilities. We live in the real world-- a world of work, mortgages, electrical bills, car loans, family responsibilities, extracurricular obligations, meal planning, grocery shopping, and lawn-mowing.
How are we supposed to do more of what we love when we're so busy doing all the things we have to do to survive?!
I think it starts with a shift in our mindset.
If we think that doing more of what makes us happy means eschewing our adult responsibilities entirely, it's going to be hard to follow through. But if we realize we can do more of what we love in little ways in and around our other activities and to-do list items, there's more hope for us to actually act on this concept.
Sometimes it comes down to partial solutions. We might not be able to completely transform our schedules and our lives, substituting things we love for all the things we tolerate, spending all our time doing our favorite pastimes. But that doesn't mean we can't find little ways to do more of what we love in our everyday lives.
I love to read, but I can't often set aside hours of time to read all at once (even though I would love to!). But I do have short breaks in between items on my calendar when I can get in a chapter or two before heading off to the next thing.
I also love fresh air and sunshine, but most of the things I spend my time doing are inside (work, cooking, housework, computer work). But I started a garden on my patio to get outside more, and I make a point to roll my car windows down and open the doors and windows in my house whenever possible to make the inside more infused with natural light and air. It's certainly not the same, but it's better than nothing! I'm also taking more midday walks with my coworkers to get up and moving (and outside) in the middle of the work day.
I don't love the fact that I sit at a desk all day and go home to often sit behind another computer. I make a point to exercise regularly, but I knew I was missing out on more activity. I've started taking more midday walks with my coworkers to get up and moving (and outside) in the middle of the work day, and it's made a real difference!
Making time to send a friend a thoughtful message, to read a chapter of a book, to take a midday walk, or just to pause what I'm doing and breathe makes me happier because it allows me to step back and de-stress. I hope you can do the same by finding more ways to do what makes you happy!
What makes you happy? How can you fit more of it into your everyday life? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!