Tuesday, July 21, 2015

100 Things to Make You a Little Happier, Part 4

As I continue this foray of discovery into the world of happiness I find myself lost at moments. What really makes happiness endure? How can some people be so happy with so little effort? And how can others struggle their whole lives for a few moments of bliss? As the band Our Lady Peace said, "Happiness is not a fish you can catch." But maybe it isn't about holding the fish in your hand, maybe it is about the beautiful swim in the endless blue.

This list continues. Please comment on what makes you happy. Maybe nothing on the list really works for you, if so, what does?

31. Practice mindfulness- No matter your religious persuasion, you should take a page from the Buddhists every once and a while. Mindfulness is an important principle of observing and awareness of the things around you. It sounds overly zen and rather obvious. But I would look into it.

32. Meet odd people- Odd people are a special bunch. Their oddities range from silly hats to cult-like personalities. But spending time with people that you deem to be odd can be of great value. They bring to the table things that never cross your mind, and they remind you of the weirdness that you hide inside.

33. Take epic selfies- If you have to take selfies, (and you probably do) take them in awesome places, doing epic things. If your activities are going to be so overrun by the presence of your cellphones, you might as well seek to do cooler things that get you more likes. I am thinking less mirror selfies, and more selfies on elephants, more selfies with people you love exploring places that scare and excite you. In fact, get a selfie stick while you are at it.

34. Be more vulnerable- People are attracted to vulnerability. Let go of the ugly past and the things that have hurt you. Maybe write them down, and look not again upon their nasty memory. You deserve to be happy, and being vulnerable, and open to life and love is part of that. Being hurt sucks, but missing out on something because your doors are sealed shut is even worse.

35. Judge people less- Good luck in living a life without ever judging another person. Unfortunately it is kind of a knee-jerk reaction we have sometimes to meeting someone or hearing about another's way of life. Though we might be right in our hurtful assumptions, what good does it do? All it does is unfairly elevate ourselves, inflating our heads in the process. And an inflated melon is not the way to felicity. Take a few steps back and realize that you have no right to judge, and probably very little knowledge of what journey people are actually on.

36. Accept compliments- A good friend of mine taught me this one. Our culture has spread this false idea that compliments should be lightly refuted upon receiving. Instead of saying thank you, or reciprocating with an equally genuine retort, we often shake our heads and insist that "It was no big deal" or that "It's not that impressive." Sure humility seems to be the culprit, but insecurity is also a perpetrator. Realize that sometimes it takes great courage for someone to tell you something great about yourself. Don't negate their act of kindness with needless self-deprecation. That is no way to perpetuate happiness.

37. Screw orthodoxy- Many people are unhappy because a great portion of the world is telling them to live in a very certain way. You must do what you feel is true and wonderful, and it must be in your own way. Screw the notion that things must be done in a precise way. Break the box, destroy the mold, and be you.

38. Meditate in some form- No matter your religious loyalties or beliefs, find time to meditate. It doesn't have to be sitting down on a mat with Enya playing in the background and incense burning throughout the room. It can just be a brief walk through the woods, or a moment of solemn prayer. It could be with others or all by yourself and your favorite Spotify playlist. Just remember a cluttered mind is not a happy mind.

39. Try things that you used to make fun of- Maybe it's Tinder. Maybe it's Crossfit. Or perhaps it is snow-shoeing. Whatever it is, give it a try once. You might meet some splendid people, and you might even enjoy it. If nothing else, you will homologate your original beliefs, and you won't think twice about it again.

40. Don't think or speak in absolutes- This goes a bit hand in hand with #39. If we think or speak in such absolute and definitive tones we are really limiting ourselves. People change, and the world changes. Be open to new ideas and new ways of approaching life. If you must be firm and absolute in a few things that is okay. Be absolute in your faith, in your love, and in your drive. But don't build a dam where water should run free.

As per usual, please let me know which ones you liked, and what it is that brings you happiness. Stay tuned for the fifth segment in a few days. Cheers.