I’ll save you some time… Happiness is homemade. It can’t be “found” so stop searching. I used to tell myself things like, “One day, I’ll be happy if only I…”
- Make the iTunes charts
- Find the man of my dreams
- Achieve financial stability
- Yada Yada Yada….
But those are all things I can’t control! Things you can’t control shouldn’t be the things that determine your happiness. So, what do we have control over? Nothing except our perspective.
God controls everything yet this world blinds us & we think that we are our own boss. It wasn’t until I learned how to practice gratitude & rely on God for an eternal & loving perspective, my happiness began to soar!Step 1: Stop Desiring Happiness!
Psychology: You find happiness when you’re not looking. Think of it this way – if you’re wishing for happiness or something “better,” what does that do to the present moment? It dissolves it & we miss it. The practice of meditation is so powerful because it trains your mind to embrace the present moment in all it’s imperfectly perfect glory. Slow down and enjoy right now. Truly taste the flavors in your food, hear your thoughts, watch the sunset or admire the breeze as it elegantly sways mighty trees.
Whatever your definition of perfect is, it’ll never be in your hands. Let me assure you, the search for perfect NEVER ends & NEVER gets achieved.
What DOES end? The present moment.
“Real happiness isn’t something large and looming on the horizon ahead, but something small, numerous and already here. The smile of someone you love. A decent breakfast. The warm sunset. Your little everyday joys all lined up in a row.” ~ Beau Taplin,
Happiness & Joy come when we fully accept the present moment (no matter how bleak it seems). Accept all things without trying to change them but letting life happen as it will. It’s ok to have hard times. It’s ok to be human. It’s OK not to be ok!
Step 2: Be Thankful!
As a culture, we’ve been taught to desire the maximum enjoyment possible… But our REAL goal should be having the ability to EMBRACE whatever the present moment brings. Something makes you feel sad? That’s okay! Accept it. Find God in it. Don’t strive for perfection. Strive for being able to wholly accept whatever the now brings.
Good news, you can BECOME an optimist… Gratitude comes simply with practice!
Psychology: Looking for things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects. Can’t find anything? Not to worry, just the act of searching for something you’re thankful for that will strengthen your brain’s gratitude muscle (yes that actually is a thing). Thankfulness allows us to get into a habit of praying without ceasing. Thankfulness allows us to create our own “homemade happiness” because happiness starts within – despite our circumstances. All that is needed to change our perspective toward happiness is to be grateful for whatever you have and to cherish the present. Desiring things to be different or dwelling on the past/future are easy ways to make your mind depressed because you’re constantly comparing it to the present and it will NEVER measure up to your definition of ‘perfect.’
Make a Love List! What am I grateful for? Answer that. Memorize the list. What went well today? Why did it go well? Why are you thankful for the people in your life? Make this kind of list weekly or monthly, then memorize it. Keep it at the front of your mind & choose to look for the positive.
Catch Yourself Complaining – It’s a silent killer. Accomplishes nothing! Be sensitive to that negative voice in your head, and immediately change it to a more realistic tone that views the universe as friendly & not “out to get you.” Look for solutions to the problems, until you stop complaining & start doing.
It’s not finding gratitude that matters most, it’s remembering to look in the first place.