Wide Leg Crop Pant, I’m wearing a 0, but could easily wear a 00—they’re stretchy—more colors here! | Central Shirt in Pure White, wearing XS | Fan Tassel Earrings, more colors here | Greece Sandals | Saddle Bag, also love this one and this one | Indio Glasses, also in tortoise shell | Anna Locket in Gold
At the end of the day, I think we’d all agree that we just want to be happy. But, sometimes happiness, contentment, joy can feel so elusive. We chase things, goals, material possessions that we think will bring us that joy, and typically doesn’t, at least not for long.
Why is it that happiness can be so hard to find and then maintain? What I’ve really come to learn this past year is that happiness isn’t achieved by hitting goals or gaining things, it’s achieved by being grateful and feeling joy for the things we do already have in our lives.
Too often, I’ve said, “I’ll be happy when…”, and the point of today’s post is that happiness is not something we should wait on. It’s not something that’s dependent on outside forces, it comes from within and each and every one of us has the power to create our own happiness—RIGHT NOW! So, let’s get started!
How to Boost your Happiness
1. Think Happy Thoughts & Actually Feel It
It’s so easy to get stuck on the “what ifs” of life. We’ve all done it, you get one idea in your head and before you know it, you’ve talked yourself down the worst possible scenario and you start getting really worried and anxious about it. And for what? It’s not even real!
It can take some time, but when you start focusing on your thoughts, it becomes easier to catch yourself when you turn down that negative, what-if pathway.
Every single one of us has the power to change the way we think, so turn our negative thoughts to positive. You might think, ugh, you can do this, but I can’t. Stop, girl. You, too, have the power inside of you, stop doubting yourself.
Start focusing on happy thoughts, even if it feels fake at first. Eventually, it doesn’t seem so fake and you start truly believing it and that’s when the real magic starts. But, thinking good thoughts is only half of it. You have to think them, and then feel the feelings of happiness.
When I’m having trouble thinking happy thoughts and feeling happy, I always think of Owen’s smiling, laughing face and it’s nearly impossible for me to still feel bad.
I think it’s so handy and helpful to have a “default thought” when you get stuck. One that’s easy to get to and know makes you happy.
2. Visualize What you Want from Life
One thing I still really want for myself is to get in a better habit, or at least intentionally set aside time for myself to meditate, visualize and journal every day. In my dream world, I do this first thing when I wake up, but with a one year old, my mornings are anything but slow and quiet and peaceful. And, that’s okay too!
One practice that’s really helped keeps my thoughts positive is to visualize what I want from my life from the perspective that I already have those things. The main visualization I do is thinking of my dream home, envisioning my kids playing in the backyard, seeing myself planting in my garden, watching Rob come in the door, hug me and give me a kiss after work. I think about the team of incredible and kind women that I have working beside me.
Do I know exactly how I get here? No, I don’t. But, I truly believe that this will be our lives and the more detailed I get on this life, the more real it feels. So, take a moment to do some day-dreaming today and visualize it as if it’s already yours. Feels pretty amazing, right?!
3. Stop Focusing on What You DON’T Want
This idea is an interesting one for me, because I think it’s easy to get stuck on the things we don’t want. And I think that by saying we don’t want them, we’re claiming that we want something else, but all we’re really doing is giving power to those negative things and bringing them more to the surface, when in reality, we just want them to go away.
“I don’t want to live in a rental anymore, I don’t want to live in cold climate, I don’t want to have to rely on producing content daily for my income.”
These are all “I don’t” thoughts I’ve had or things I’ve said out loud to friends and family. But, what I’ve found is the more that I focus on the “I don’t wants,” the more they show up in my life, and the more those problems continue to go on. It’s like by saying I don’t want them, I’m perpetuating them.
To switch up this pattern of thinking, you have to look at the opposite of your “I don’t” and think of what it is that you DO want instead of that. Once you’ve got that in your mind, focus all our time and energy on what you do want and it will happen.
4. Focus on Abundance
The word abundance used to have some negative connotations for me. It felt excessive or greedy or materialistic. But, I’ve changed my tune. Abundance for me is joy and contentment in all areas of my life—at home, my relationships, my career, my health—physically and mentally. I want the best in all those areas.
The best doesn’t mean the most expensive or highest-paying, but it’s what feels best for me in each of those areas. By focusing on abundance, we attract abundance and good into our lives. Try it—it works!
5. Show & Feel Gratitude for your Relationships
Relationships are essential for our health and well-being, but they’re not always easy, are they? Marriage, especially once kids are in the picture, can be tough. Friendships, dating, and relationships with your work colleagues and family can be tough.
Instead of looking at where those people are failing, look for what they’re good at, what they bring to the table, what’s unique and special about them. Say thank you for those things. When you’re grateful for your partner, boss, family, etc., it comes back to you too.
I know personally that when Rob and I focus on what we’re grateful for in each other, rather than picking at the things we failed at (“you didn’t do the laundry, well, you didn’t take out the trash”), our relationship is stronger. It’s almost instantaneous too.
I talked about this on stories a few weeks ago, but Rob came home one day and told me he was thankful for me and thankful that I worked hard to help provide for our family so that we can get to place where we really want to be. It was such a simple thing, but it made my week! Maybe even my whole month.
You never know how powerful sharing little graces like this can be, so stop internalizing them and start sharing them with others. Yes, it makes them feel good, but it makes you feel good too!
6. Laugh More Often
It’s impossible to feel happy and be thinking negative thoughts. One of the easiest ways to feel happy is to laugh and smile. Laughter lightens up your mood so quickly and feel so good! Maybe that means you watch a funny movie this weekend, watch a funny dog video after a bad day, or call up your sister and laugh about the hilarious family trip from 1995.
Whatever it is, laugh often—it’s good for you!
7. Smile at People
This sorta goes with laughing more, but smiling—yes, even at strangers on the street—is actually pretty powerful. For the most part, people don’t walk around smiling on a normal basis. And, when you do see someone smiling, it makes you think, hmm, I wonder what happened to them today? And soon enough, you’re smiling and thinking about something good that happened to you too. It’s a simple act that every single one of us can do today!
8. Spend Time Outdoors
When I visualize my dream life, a lot of my time is spent outdoors—in my garden, in my backyard with my kids, hiking, biking, being at the beach with my family. Why? Because I feel freaking amazing when I’m outdoors, in nature without my phone. Even better, take your shoes off, and walk around barefoot. I read somewhere that it’s proven that connecting, skin on the earth can be incredibly grounding and beneficial for us humans.
For me, it always reminds me of being a kid and running around in our backyard or at the park barefoot. There’s something so liberating and freeing about it!
9. Put your Phone Away
In so many ways, I’m grateful for our phones. It allows me to connect with family and friends that live hundreds of miles away, allows me to pay for parking with a single click or order groceries when I’m in a pinch. It’s allowed me to build a community and connect with so many of you! How amazing is that?!
But, it comes with a lot of downsides too and I’m guilty of mindlessly scrolling Instagram or checking my email or my sales 10x a day. Sometimes it leaves me feeling good, but probably more often, it leaves me feeling bad, stressed or anxious. I might get a snarky message, see that an Instagram post isn’t getting very many likes, or maybe I get anxious because I get an email and I can’t respond immediately because I’m with Owen that day. I then spend all day getting worked up about it.
You can easily see (and have probably experienced) that our phones can have negative impacts on our mental health and happiness. I mean, how many times have you gotten sucked in and come out of an Insta-binge feeling worse than when you started? Too many too count!
I’m a work in progress, but I’m finding that I’m becoming more and more aware of how much time I spend on my phone and how important it is for me to intentionally take time away from it to actually be present and live my life.
10. Spread Love
When I went to the LEAD conference back in March, one thing I came away with was the phrase “Lead with Love”. In the conference setting, this was in reference to my business, but I thought, why can’t I apply this to all areas of my life?! I don’t consider myself a natural leader or a good salesperson. In fact, sometimes I wonder how I got this far at all with my business.
But, one thing I keep coming back to is LOVE.
Spreading love, giving love and showing people that they are worthy of being loved. I’m sure I don’t do a perfect job of this, but when I work to spread love—to friends, family, readers, women that work with me I feel it come back 100x over and it’s the best feeling in the world.
Whether it’s in your work or just in your personal life, give and spread love as much as you can. Treat others as you’d like to be treated and that exactly what you will receive.
Do you find that you’ve tried to find joy and happiness in the wrong areas like I have? What practices, thoughts, meditations, mantras, actions, etc. help you find contentment and happiness?