I often see many articles (especially on instagram) with tips on how to be happy. I have a few issues with this. Firstly, simply because you have a large number of followers, doesn't mean you're somehow now a life coach, dietician, therapist, motivational speaker, writer, health expert, etc etc. And many followers will blindly follow people with large audiences, so I think it's important to remember, that often the people with the most to say, should often be listened to the least.
And I know what you're thinking... But aren't you about to tell us how to be happy? No, I'm not. I don't think it's a one size fits all approach, and even though I'm generally a pretty happy camper, I would never presume to tell you how you might 'get happy'. Instead, I'm going to share with you some things I do regularly that make me happy.
(I'd also like to stress that as much as it might seem like someone you follow on instagram is living a super happy, amazing life all the time, this is not the whole truth. And I don't mean to imply that myself, or someone else is deceiving you. I choose to focus on the happy, beautiful things in life, and online. But what I would like to say very clearly, is that there are things going on in my life that aren't beautiful, they're actually very hard. Not everything is amazing. There are dull, boring moments where I'm doing taxes, paying bills, cleaning, or doing tedious tasks for work. There's parts of my life that I choose not to share, that are definitely not easy. And maybe one day soon I'll open up about these things, because I understand it helps others out there to know that we all have obstacles. I've chosen to use my platform to inspire, to brighten someone's day, and be a positive little nook in the world of instagram, free of negativity. I'd actually love to hear your thoughts on this, and if you think you'd benefit from hearing about some challenges, and 'real talk' in a section on this blog. If you'd like to leave a comment on the instagram picture relating to this blog post, I'd really appreciate it).
Ok, back to it... I think it is true what they say about the little things, they're what make me the happiest. And when you think about it, it's the little things we do daily, that are the most important, because they're things we do everyday, so they're bound to make the biggest impact.
These things aren't going to work for everyone. And I'm under no illusion that taking a bubble bath is going to help someone in a very dark place. To say that it would, would be insulting and disrespectful to that person. These are just things that I do, and they aren't anything I do consciously, it's basically how I live my life! But I'm often getting asked, how/why am I so happy all the time, and how can they create a life like mine? It's very flattering when people send me messages like this, but I think that's the biggest mistake they're making. Firstly, I would never set out to live a life like someone else. It really doesn't interest me. I've always wanted to be right where I am, doing my own thing, chasing my own dreams, and creating a life I love. I wouldn't say it's been a deliberate thing either. I've never woken up and said, ok, what can I do to be happy today? It's just my way of life I guess, and how I was raised would have a lot to do with it. I come from a very optimistic, happy family. Negative things were never really focused on, or brought to our attention or discussed. Everything was great, and everything was always going to be ok. I remember my high school friends used to affectionately tease me, that I lived a very happy, sheltered life. And I had no idea what they were talking about at the time, but looking back, I certainly did! And I'm very grateful for it.
I think most of the time, happiness is a choice. When I first met my husband, he said something one day that always stuck with me:
"There's no way to happiness, happiness is the way."
And I think it's so true.
My husband has come from a place where at times, he's had to chase happiness, and it hasn't, and isn't always easy for him to find. To say he had a turbulent childhood is putting it lightly. I would say his upbringing was almost the complete opposite of mine, and as a result, we look at the world in very different ways.
We've definitely taught each other a lot though, and opened each other's eyes to different things. B has taught me patience, he ignited my passion for nature and exploring and he's very wise, always explaining worldly things to me. I would say that the biggest changes to Brendan since we've been together, would be celebrating special events and travel. Before we met, Brendan hated Christmas, birthdays, etc. He didn't even want to celebrate them. This DISTURBED me to say the least! Christmas is my favourite thing ever, in the history of the world. And who doesn't want to celebrate their birthday and get PRESENTS?! I create pinterest boards in the months leading up to my birthday with all the things I want! Lol. Now Brendan loves Christmas and special events. He looks forward to them. And travel. B really wasn't interested in travelling that much when we first met. And we've had many amazing overseas trips together, but it took a couple of these trips before he really started to appreciate travelling, and now he starts counting down before the next trip! This brings me to my first point. And one of the things that makes me super happy:
20 everyday little things that make me happy...
1. Have something to look forward to. Plan a holiday. If you're working on a budget, it doesn't have to be an overseas trip. Sometimes a night in a hotel nearby is exciting, or a camping trip. Make it happen.
2. Celebrate the little things. Any victory, big or small. Celebrate it. Sometimes a bottle of your favourite rosè, or a $5 red wine will do. (My favourite red wine is $4 - this is it)
3. Have a bubble bath and listen to some of your favourite relaxing tunes while you're at it.
4. Light your favourite candle. My favourite scents definitely lift my mood. Also, use coconut fabric softener when you do the washing. It actually kinda makes me excited to do a load. Almost... (Here it is)
5. Have dinner outside. It's good for the soul. Whether in your backyard, or pack a picnic and sit by the beach, or in a forest/park with lots of pretty trees, it shakes things up and is so much fun.
6. SWIM IN THE OCEAN. This should be at the top of my list. This is NUMERO UNO for me. Do you ever feel charged and energised after swimming in the ocean? It isn't in your head, it's real. It's because of the negative ions. Click here to see what I'm talking about. Soooooo good for the body and mind.
7. Plan to cook your favourite dinner. If you're at work all day, having a bit of a bad day, knowing you're going to eat your favourite meal that night should be enough to get you through the day.
8. Clean sheets. How good is hopping into a bed with fresh clean sheets! This is an instant mood lifter.
9. Use the fancy stuff. The good towels that you save for guests, the expensive glassware. USE IT. Use it everyday. I'd rather use something pretty and break it, than have it tucked away collecting dust! (And when I say break it, I'm referring to hubby, who has broken many of my nice things over the years!) lol
10. Buy yourself some flowers.
11. Get a lotto ticket and fantasize about what you'd do with your winnings. Mine always includes travel. Lots of travel. Sharing most of it with family and friends. And freedom! I would say I feel pretty free all the time, because I make a living doing what I love. When I say freedom, I'm thinking of B, and telling him that he never has to work again! I'd be on a private jet to America. (I've already been 11 times before! But it's my favourite). I'd hire a car, and starting in Cali, I'd travel across the desert stopping at thrift stores (op shops) and find lots of vintage treasures. I'd swim in hot springs, I'd stop in at our favourite little restaurant in Utah that only serves ribs, potatoes, green beans and corn bread. That's it. There's an old boy playing the guitar and singing country music in the corner. There's the dart board where B and I played darts for the first time as a married couple on our honeymoon. Theres antlers hung from the ceiling and twinkly lights and wood everywhere. I'd drive and drive through cactus lined desert roads. I'd stop at little diners and eat all that delicious american food. I'd swim in every waterfall, and hike through every forest. We'd do this until we got to New York. We'd spend some time in the city and then head upstate to stay in the cabin where we spent Christmas 2 years ago. We'd sit by the fire and eat s'mores. We'd cook breakfast on the outdoor fire every morning while we sipped our coffee and breathed in that pine fresh air. Ooohhhhh I could go on and on!
12. Try op shopping! You never know what you'll find, and I find that the most exciting part. It's like a treasure hunt!
13. Dance in the kitchen. Put your favourite playlist on, and go bake some brownies!
14. Watch an ASMR video. Look it up on youtube. It seems weird at first, but trust me, if you're one of the weirdos like me who gets an autonomous sensory meridian response from watching these videos, then you're in for a treat. My family and friends make fun of me for watching them ;)
15. Buy some plants. Get some cute pots and do a bit of decorating around the house. Plants make me oh so happy.
16. Write a list of goals... It might be just goals for the week, or for the next 5 years. I like to write down my intentions and get clear about what I want.
17. Create a new pinterest board with things that inspire you and make you smile.
18. Go for a walk. Somewhere with lots of trees!
19. Buy your fruit and veggies from a roadside farm stall. It's scenic, fun and it feels good to support local farmers. It doesn't get much more depressing for me than buying shiny produce under bright lights in supermarkets. Sometimes we all have to, but if you can, take your basket, drive down a dirt road, and get yourself the good stuff!
20. And the last, and perhaps most important one... Spend time with those who matter most to you.
I hope this helps or gives you some ideas of your own. As I mentioned earlier, these are just things I do that make me feel happy! And this life isn't a dress rehearsal, don't wait for tomorrow, make memories today. The only limitations to the way you live your life, are the ones you give yourself.
So I think it's important to choose to be happy. Everyday. Seek joy. Be grateful. Look for the sunshine. And remember that the only person in this universe who can give you happiness, is you.