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The search for happiness has been underway since humans first became aware of their feelings.
We do everything we can to keep our hands tightly wrapped around it when we finally find it. But sometimes happiness slips away from us in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.
There are so many stresses that we have to deal with in our everyday lives. Maybe it’s a sick family member or an illness of our own, a boss with unreasonable expectations, bills piling up…
Or maybe it’s just the state of the world – it can be a depressing place if you spend too much time consuming news of all of the awful things that go on in the world.
Social media isn’t much better. It’s awash with toxicity and people being ugly to one another.
All of these things and more can erode your happiness away until you’re left searching for it again.
What can you do if you find that nothing is making you happy?
1. Take stock of your situation to identify what is eroding your happiness.
People have so much going on in their daily life that it is hard for them to keep up with everything.
So the first step is to take inventory of your life and present situation. What are the neutral and negative things that you are currently dealing with? Neutral things count because they require an investment of emotional energy to take care of, and they aren’t likely to be providing any positive lift to your life.
Consider the different stresses that you’re currently dealing with. Is it work? Is it friends? Is it life in general? Is it your bills? Is it lack of time?
Make a list of the items you think are making you unhappy.
2. Consider which of these problems can be solved and how.
That list of negative and neutral things going on in your life is an action plan. These are the problems that you need to invest energy into resolving so that you can free the emotional energy that you’re spending on them.
Do you have friends and family that are abusive or make you feel bad? It might be time to reevaluate just how much time you’re giving them. You don’t want to spend your valuable time with emotional vampires or abusers who will leech your happiness away.
Is your job a constant source of stress? Are there any ways that you can mitigate that stress? Change departments in your current job? Ask to work under a different manager? Start looking and applying for other work that might not have as much stress?
Is a lack of money the problem? Can you work out a budget to see where your money is being spent and whether or not you can control it? Are there frivolous things you can cut out to give you more money to throw at getting out of debt? Are there ways that you can make a few extra dollars without burning yourself out?
Resolve whatever issues you can. Be ruthless about it if you need to be.
3. Take some time to play, exercise, and rest.
Do you live a busy lifestyle? Have a thousand things to do with work, your relationship, kids to wrangle? Do you have deadlines looming? Need to get groceries from the store? Need to tackle that sink full of dishes? Need to hack your way through that pile of laundry?
There will always be something more to do. Always.
That’s why it is so vital that you regularly work some rest and play into your life. Block out time in your busy schedule for it if you can’t easily fit it in otherwise. If you don’t, the responsibilities that you have to take care of will eat away at it.
Exercise is so important for maintaining a happy mental space. Not only do you keep in shape and keep your body healthy, but you also cause your brain to produce the chemicals that you need to be a happier person.
Exercise is always a net positive for your overall well-being. The human body was not built to be sedentary, even though our current lifestyle promotes it.
You need rest and play to give your brain a break from everything else that you have to do. Create the time and space for it and treat it with the same gravity as any of your other responsibilities. It is that important! It’s essential self-care.
4. Eat healthier, drink more water.
Are you drinking water? Probably not enough, with the way processed foods and sugary drinks can dehydrate us.
Healthy eating and water are two essential parts of maintaining good mental health. An unhealthy diet can actually worsen your moods and make you feel more negative emotions by dragging your thoughts into a negative space.
Food and drink are not just enjoyable things, but they are also necessary fuel that your body and mind need to stay healthy and active. Make sure you’re putting good things into your body.
And while you’re at it, cut back on the not-so-good things.
Junk food is precisely that – junk. Much of it is engineered to be tasty but not necessarily nourishing. Reduce your intake of junk food, caffeine, alcohol, and other substances that might bring your mind down and keep you from experiencing your happiness.
5. Meditate to help process and clear out your emotions.
Meditation is an incredible tool for finding some peace of mind and clarity, which makes room for more happiness and joy in your life.
And this is not some metaphysical thing or woo. Meditation is a directed, intentional act that you use to process emotions, feel them, and let them go. The stress and negative emotions that we carry with us need to be vented off and set free from your mind.
No, meditation will not magically cause your problems to go away or make you okay with things that you shouldn’t be okay with. What it will do is help clear out some of the emotional baggage and negativity that may be occupying your thoughts.
Search around on the internet or an app store for a bit, and you will be able to find guided meditations and meditation for beginners easily.
6. Reconnect with people, places, and hobbies that bring you joy.
Nurturing happiness back into a healthy place requires dedicating time to the things that bring you happiness and joy.
That could be hobbies, a place you love to be, or positive people that you like to spend time with. Maybe it’s a romantic partner or a dear BFF that you just have to catch back up with. Perhaps it’s tending to your flower garden so you can watch it all grow and blossom.
Spend some time reconnecting with the things that bring you happiness and fulfillment. Make it a regular habit to partake in these activities so that you can continue building on those positive things.
7. Consider professional help if you are struggling.
Depression is a serious health issue that may need the assistance of a knowledgeable professional to confront and overcome.
If you find that you can’t reconnect with your happiness or get into a better mental space, it would be a good idea to consult with a mental health professional to work toward a solution. Click here to find a therapist near you or who you can connect with online.
There is no shame in getting professional help if that’s what you need to reconnect with your happiness.
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