In the middle of having the world turned upside during this pandemic, there are signs of hope and happiness.
Videos of people singing joyfully on balconies, coming together in spirit even in isolation. People sharing humor and memes on social media to make each other laugh.
Even during this unprecedented threat to our global well-being, can we learn to be happy?
Happiness is harder to define than you’d think. It’s very personal and experienced by each of us differently.
It’s a tricky emotion and can be elusive for many. We seem to chase after it like we’re chasing our own shadow in the sunshine… it always seems to be one step ahead of us. We exhaust ourselves trying to grab and hold onto it.
But maybe happiness is not as elusive as think. Maybe it’s not even something separate for us that we need to fight or reach for. What if happiness a place within each of us that we have the choice to access whenever we wanted to. And what if our internal stores of happiness were so incredibly abundant that we could learn to grab some whenever we wanted to and it would never, ever, ever run out.
That’s what and where I believe happiness is. We can (re)learn how to be happy.
What is happiness to you?
“Happiness comes from knowing what you truly value and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.” – Mike Rowe
Happy to you might be a day spent at home on the couch, working from your laptop, your dog by your side (minus the pandemic).
Happy to someone else might be a busy social gathering, a party with music and dancing, plenty of conversation, new friends and tasty foods.
“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.” – Henry Ward Beecher
We all feel happy for different reasons and therefore the key to your happiness (and that never-ending abundance I mentioned) is within YOU.
Feeling happy on a regular basis should not be hard to do. It’s a natural state of being, after all. Babies start smiling by the time they’re two months old. Before they can speak, feed themselves or understand a joke. They smile, giggle, coo and even giggle in their sleep!
So then why are we now adults who struggle to feel happy?
Why do we need to read books, take courses, journal, see therapists, all in a constant search for happiness?
This is a rhetorical question because to answer it is like unraveling a lifetime of what happens to each of us from two months old to now. It’s like we’ve been scarred and concussed along the way through life and we’ve gotten foggy and forgetful about how to be happy.
“It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.” – Lucille Ball
Happiness is an innate, hard-wired, natural state of being.
Like an automatic setting. Smiling and feeling happy are always just a teeny tiny microsecond from the surface of our being. So incredibly accessible to us all day long – and yet we have generally gotten used to allowing worry, fear, busyness, overthinking, and the inner voices of negativity to steal our joy.
But here’s the opportunity. You can learn to be happy. Right now.
Learning to be happy is simply figuring out (or remembering) what helps you tap into your joy.
The situations, behaviors, activities, habits, books, music, foods, people, animals (etc…) light you up in that warm, satisfying, smiley, baby-passes-gas kind of happy feeling. And then it’s up to you to be intentional about adding more of that happy to your life!
The happy place is inside of you and it’s like a bottomless margarita!
Smiles and times of purposeful satisfaction are always a choice and available to you. We’ve all heard someone say, even in the bleakest situation like the death of a loved one, I’m just happy I got a chance to say goodbye. There is usually laughter and joy when family and friends gather in a celebration of life. So, a form of happiness and gratitude can even be felt during times of pain, anguish and loss.
Learning who you are (again) and what triggers you to feel that heart-expanding kind of happy is how to tap into your infinite internal well of joy.
Gratitude is a big piece of the happiness puzzle too.
Learning to feel grateful and to count blessings regularly, no matter how big or small, fosters happiness and satisfaction too. I say learning because not everyone easily or readily invites gratitude to their life.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle
Many are reluctant to feel grateful, either out of fear or guilt or even a sense of competitiveness. But those who do make gratitude a habit learn how important being thankful is to keep happiness bubbling up from that abundant reservoir to the surface of our minds and hearts.
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
And by the way, it stands to reason that unhappiness can be the product of not making enough room in your life for those things that make you happy. We all have responsibilities, tasks, people, and activities in our day that we can’t avoid and that don’t make us want to do a happy dance. But if we can intentionally – mindfully – fold in plans to help us tap into joy – we’d all be so much happier.
Yes, this may seem like an oversimplification. But, is it really?
If a silly pandemic quarantine-meme about how we’re all going to look like long-haired unkempt cave-people when these pandemic restrictions are lifted can instantly make you laugh, then does frequently accessing happiness really have to be so complicated? I think not!
Cheers to re-learning how to be happy right now, even in the present circumstances.
Tapping back into what you intuitively knew when you were little, and every year since, makes you smile and feel happy.
Although we are moving through challenging and difficult times right now, I hope that you may find happiness in simplicity like in practicing gratitude, in spending quality time with your children, in making a homemade pizza, in singing on a balcony (or in having a dry diaper and a quick round of peek-a-boo).
Wishing you loads of light, love, hope, gratitude and wellness during this challenging time. – Marlene
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