Stop Chasing Happiness: Do THIS Instead
Written by: Kat Gal
Traveling the world across 4 continents, I have learned that, despite cultural and other differences, in the end we are more similar than not. Around the world everyone wants the same basic things: happiness, health, safety and love (not necessarily in that order).
Let’s take a look at happiness now.
Are you happy? Are you seeking happiness? What is happiness in your dictionary?
I used to be a happiness chaser. I wanted happiness so badly, but to be honest, I wasn’t even sure what happiness was and what I was looking for.
There is a big problem with happiness. Nobody really knows exactly what it is. Everyone has their own definition, ideas and experiences about it. Happiness is intangible and even a bit mysterious. Yet, we all want it.
The trouble is that, if you want something too much and try to become something too hard, it may not ever happen. You know those nights when you can’t seem to fall asleep? The more you are trying, the less likely you will be able to sleep. Happiness is the same way; the more you are trying, the more you are chasing it, the less likely you will experience it.
The truth is, happiness is not something you buy at a store. It is not an ice cream cone or a new plasma TV. Happiness is a state of being. It is an experience. It is a journey. It is a way of life.
Stop focusing on wanting to be happy, but start living life, create a positive mindset, develop positive habits, seek joyful experiences and embrace life with its ups and downs.
When you stop chasing happiness and instead start focusing on creating and truly living your life, chances are you will actually find happiness in the process.
Here Is What You Should Do To Start LIVING Instead Of CHASING:
#1. Take The Word “Happy” Out Of Your Vocabulary.
Happiness is so broad, it is difficult to comprehend. Just forget about this word and look for alternative, more descriptive words instead. Stop asking yourself “Am I happy?” Instead ask yourself: “Do I have [insert word] in my life?” (Contentment, joy, laughter, well-being, peace, playfulness, adventure, hopefulness, etc.).
#2. Practice Being In The Present
Here’s the deal: the past is past, the future is yet to happen. You only have now. It is pointless to dwell on the past or to worry about the future. It only creates anxiety and frustration. Instead, focus on the present moment. Look for the gift in each moment.
#3. Decide What You Really Want To Do
This can be tricky. Most people have no idea what they really want in life. You may do what you are expected and told to do or you may be trying to copy others. You may end up going from goal to goal, from idea to idea without really doing anything you actually want to do. Finding out what you really want to do requires time, self-knowledge, self-exploration and practice. Journaling and meditation are great ways to go within and find out your heart’s desires.
#4. Let Go Of Unrealistic Expectations
If you are a happiness chaser, you likely have some expectation of what happiness should be. Whether you idea comes from movies, books, the lives of others, societal expectations, or your own imagination, it is still an expectation you may never meet, especially if your expectation is a steady image of perfection. Living a life with ups and downs with periods of joy, general contentment and gratitude is more healthy and more realistic than trying to meet an idea of “perfect” happiness.
#5. Take Small Steps
Life’s a journey. This may be a cliche, but it is true. It is a windy road of experiments and growth with ups and downs, surprises and – if you are willing to see it – full of beauty and joy. Slow and steady wins the race and slow progress creates a life-long transformation. Take small, doable daily steps of positive actions and you will find that overtime your life will transform.
#6. Live A Life Of Service
Living a self-centered life will likely create dissatisfaction and unhappiness. But living from the heart, giving back and serving others will fill your heart with joy, bring you positive energy, give you meaning and, as a result, bring you happiness. You may choose a job that serves others. You may start volunteering. You may start practicing random acts of kindness. You may do all of this. But making serving others a regular habit will create happiness and purpose in your life.
#7. Don’t Confuse Achievement With Happiness
From childhood on we’ve been taught that achievement and success are important. If you get an A, you should be happy, but if you get a D or an F, you should not be. But achievement does not mean happiness. Happiness is a way of living and state of being. It is a mindset. It is the journey. Don’t let your achievements (or lackthereof) determine your state of happiness.
#8. Don’t Force Positivity All the Time
In the North-American culture we are expected to smile all the time. Among spiritual circles and in the self-help community we are taught to be positive at all times. While living a mostly positive life is a good and healthy thing, forcing to be positive all the time may not be the best. Just like the dark clouds roll in at times, negativity will appear in your life too. Learn to accept and appreciate negative feelings as well. They are there for a reason and are part of your learning experience and growth.
#9. Remove Things That Prevent You From Being Happy
This makes sense. If you are surrounded by people, things and habits that are not serving you and making you feel low, you will be less likely to achieve happiness. Are you eating unhealthy foods that are making you sluggish? Do you dislike your job? Are you surrounded by people who bring you down? Let them go. If you can’t let them go just yet – you may need that paycheck after all – look for the positive in these things and people and appreciate that.
#10. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I can’t even emphasize how important this is. It may be scary, but stepping outside of your comfort zone – no matter what area of your life it is – will give you a huge adrenaline dump, a flush of endorphins, relief, joy, pride, excitement and likely some magic. This can be something scary yet “quick,” like bungee jumping, public speaking, or flying on a plane for the first time that will bring you an immediate sense of excitement. It can also be a lifestyle change outside of your comfort zone, such as starting a healthier diet, a new exercise routine, or signing up for a class at your local college, that will bring a more gradual, but more long-term transformation.
#11. Take Care Of Your Body
Your body is your home. You need to take care of it with love to create health and happiness. Feed it with whole, plant-based and organic foods. Give it plenty of rest and relaxation, but also provide it with necessary exercise. Think about your body with love and appreciation.
Meditation and mindfulness have an abundance of psychological and physical benefits. It may be new and challenging at the beginning, but don’t give up. A daily practice will bring more peace, balance and joy into your life overtime.
#13. Meet New People
Humans are social beings. Even if you are an introvert and even more so if you are an extrovert, you need human interactions and connections. Not just any kind of interactions, but positive and loving interactions. Meeting new and like-minded people will bring more ideas, more excitement, more love and more connectedness to your life. Look for community groups and meetups in your area to meet those who are on a similar path or on a path you would like to try to walk on.
#14. Spend Time In Nature
Studies and personal experiences have shown that being in nature has an array of health benefits. It will bring you more connectedness, peace, balance, relaxation and love. Go for a walk, lay in the grass, walk barefoot and hug a tree. Spend some time in nature every day.
#15. Be Honest With Yourself
Lying to yourself, ignoring your feelings, being unwilling to look at your truth, or putting things under the rug leads to emotional and even physical problems. But getting honest with yourself, admitting, accepting and actually experiencing the emotions that are passing through you will actually help you to release emotions that are not serving you and cultivate positive emotions instead. Don’t be afraid of your emotional experiences. Allowing them into your life is incredibly healing.
#16. Energize Yourself In The Morning
The way you start your morning will largely affect your entire day. Develop a morning routine that works for you. Say gratitude for the things you have, for the people in your life and for the opportunity of your day. Set daily intentions and goals. Journal. Drink some warm lemon water. Stretch out to wake up your body. Meditate. Give your partner, family members and/or fur children a big hug or a kiss. Creating a positive morning will make a world of difference in your well-being.
Following these positive habits will create peace, excitement, joy, purpose, health and love in your life overtime. As a result, you will actually start experiencing happiness without chasing it or even focusing on it at all.
Have you stopped chasing happiness? What has worked for you to create more joy, purpose, peace, balance and love (and as a result, happiness) in your life? Let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear and learn from you.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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