Everyone wants to be happy, right?
Spiritual ways to be happy are all very well, but not everyone wants to be spiritual.
So how do non-spiritual people (and atheists) access the happy, or are they doomed to a life of miserable?
I took the opportunity of lunch with a friend and her kids to figure this out. She’s open-minded in a balanced way: prepared to accept other people’s experiences, but with a good healthy dose of scepticism that stops her from going so far as to believe in some form of higher power she’s never experienced herself.
But what makes her qualified for the figuring-out is that she’s almost militant about being happy.
She says that it isn’t possible to be happy all of the time, but if something crap happens, you should do something later that makes you happy.
How to tell what makes you happy
If you’re not sure what makes you happy, you need to find out! How many people sit back from playing their DS and think, ‘Hell, I’m happy right now’? Sitting back for a moment from whatever you’re doing, to see if you’re happy – and how happy – is a great way to find out, one activity at a time.
If you regularly acknowledge that you feel happy with whatever you’re doing, at least you can differentiate between happy and crap. This isn’t hard work! It’s a second of your time. You just have to be mindful enough to remember to do it.
Happy is easier than unhappy
This was a joint effort by my friend and her son. It really is easier to be happy. Focusing on all the bad things is hard work and stressful. It’s far easier and more fun to think of the things that are going right.
You can build your life around that kind of thinking; building it on a set of worries and lack of appreciation for what you’ve got is very shaky ground for a life worth living.
When happy feels very distant
My friend’s solution to feeling blue is to take a walk outside somewhere; preferably in country, by a river, or in a park. She says that the energy of outside seems to clean you off, and you always go home feeling better.
Liking our own lives
Sometimes the path we take seems incredibly tough, and there doesn’t seem any end to the torment. But here’s the thing: it’s a path*. At some point it will veer in a different direction, or there’ll be a fork in the road, or a sea change and new scenery. So there will be an end, all you have to do is grab hold of anything that makes you happy to enable you continue on your chosen journey.
Real life-changes can be stressful and filled with doubt, so knowing what makes you happy is really important. Sometimes you have to stay strong for something good later on; at least this is a simple way to gain the strength you need!
Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
Find your happy inside yourself and be resolute that you’ve taken the right path. And if you haven’t, change it! Sometimes the smallest adjustments reap the biggest rewards.
*Presumably a path you chose. You can change it if you don’t like the way your life is going. There is always a way.
Image c/o progressisperfection.com