Mastering Your Happiness

For many reasons as we get older, a lot of us neglect to set aside time to do things we enjoy. Two popular reasons I hear frequently are: time and money.
Have you ever heard someone say, ‘I don’t have time to go to exercise’ or ‘Who has 30 minutes to just read a book for fun?’ I wonder if these complainers truly believe people who work out and read have more than 24 hours in the day. The difference is that the people who have this so-called ‘extra time’ prioritize something that they enjoy.
I get it, you want to save money. However, it’s also important to enjoy a little bit of what you work so hard for. The next few sentences may take some time to digest so buckle your seatbelt. A very wise man once said:
‘Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.’ – Bob Marley
This is similar to the arrival fallacy, the belief that once you arrive at a certain destination you will be happy, which is usually never the case. Happiness is usually up to the person reading this post (spoiler alert it’s you). Here are a few tips to help you master your happiness.
Positivity is keyIf you always see the negative in a situation it’s an uphill battle to being happy. Challenge your mind to see the positive. Challenge is a key word because most of the time, the positive things are not always obvious. For example, let’s say you ran your first half-marathon and you weren’t even close to achieving the goal time you set out to achieve. After the race you’re upset and disappointed in yourself and the negative self-talk cycle begins. When struggling to see the positive, a good first step is to start from the beginning. First of all, you finished a half marathon! That in itself is a huge accomplishment. You also have an opportunity to learn from the experience, maybe next time you’ll adjust your training routine or your pre-race routine. The take home point here is that we have the ability to reconstruct a negative (i.e. not achieving a goal), to a positive, as we can reframe our perspective or at the very least, learn from the bad experience.
Don’t reward yourself after a bad dayI’ll be the first to admit it, after a not so great day, it’s hard not to treat yourself to a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie or two. But are these immediate rewards going to benefit you later that night? Or tomorrow? Probably not, especially if you’ve been working out trying to get your body right for the upcoming beach season. Having discipline and taking a step back to think in this situation, ‘is it really worth the instant gratification for the later disappointment?’ This self-discipline to say no does not happen over night, it takes time and effort just like everything in this life. But don’t get discouraged just because it takes time; take it one situation at a time.
Buy your happinessWhat do you mean you can buy happiness? Impossible! Well listen up, you can in fact buy happiness. If money spent the right way (spending within your means) by purchasing experiences rather than materialistic items, money can bring happiness to your life. This can range from paying for the gym to paying for a vacation with your closest friends. One study explains how as little as 10 minutes of exercise out of your week can contribute to the odds of happiness. Who doesn’t have 10 minutes in a week? We’ve all wasted 10+ minutes trying to find a show on Netflix to later fall asleep after the opening credits. Another way of buying some happiness is to go on vacation with some of your closest friends. This can bring a great deal of happiness to your life. I mean think about it, you’re going to experience a new country/city or lifestyle with your closest friends, maybe have a laugh or two, and maybe even let your hair down, who knows!
Want to compare and see who’s better?This is a slippery slope, especially with today’s social media driven society. Scrolling through your Instagram feed to kill some time as you wait for your Uber driver to show up poses some underlying implications for happiness. As we scroll, it is difficult to not compare ourselves to the people we see on social media (I know I’ve done this). A preventative approach is to consider using social media in the way it was intended for, not instant gratification of ‘likes’ or to bump up the following to follower ratio (because that’s a thing apparently) but to connect with friends that are not close. I’m not saying delete all social media but when using it remember to take it with a grain of salt, as no one’s life on social media is an accurate portrayal of their reality.
Let’s make an effort not to play the blame game for why we aren’t happy throughout the day. Master your happiness – it’s your responsibility and not something you can rely on other people to provide you.
Remember, you do have the time. You can spend the money. Work hard to see the positive or at the very least, learn from bad experiences. Love yourself enough to have the discipline to not be your own worst enemy and self-sabotage with instant gratification. Feed your soul with experiences that will bring joy instead of spending your money on materialistic things. Try to use social media as a way to connect instead of a means to compare your life to others.

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