“Life is full of choices and I choose Happiness.” – the quote we have heard and seen everywhere at least once in our lifetime. But have you ever actually stopped and thought about what it means? I did. Today. I was going to make another blog post about nutrition and wellness, when it hit me. Why? What is the purpose of all these information that we learn and share? What does it mean to be healthy and whole? What are we looking for in all of this? Then there it was. Brighter than the Sun. My answer was Happiness. We want to be happy! Money, fame, success, health, love….it all comes down to how Happy they’ll make us feel.
As I looked back in all of my years in the past 25 trips around the Sun, I realized I had learned how to be happy. I had felt so many emotions, and Happiness easily was among them. What stood out was the fact that apparently I always had a say in all of those happy moments. Somehow, I had made a choice along the way that had led to that moment of true Happiness and pure joy. Even if someone had surprised me, I still had made the choice to make that person a part of my life and be good to them. And then there were those few times where I could not yet explain as to how and why I deserved such happiness. But deep down I knew everything was a part of this whole domino effect that had brought me to today. Nothing was wasted and nothing was random.
They say 25 is a good age, because you have the rest of your life to find happiness. Well I am either super lucky or just too damn good, because I have found it. Not once but in a million perfect moments, Happiness has always opened its doors to me. I have found my way to it through many different ways and it would only be fair if I shared them with you. So here are the 25 keys that have led me straight to Happiness in the past 25 years:
- Set your standards high but never your expectations. I don’t think I have ever expected and planned anything and had it happen in the same way I had imagined. Expectations bring disappointments and we all know it. So why don’t you stop imagining and expecting things to happen a certain way or the people around you to act how you want them to. Set your goals and standards high but never try to control and expect the outcome. You’ll only let yourself down.
- Happiness is not a One-Size-Fits-All. What makes me happy won’t make you happy. It’s as easy as that. Yet we all forget this rule and start wishing for what other people have in order to be happy ourselves. Don’t compare your life and where you are in your journey to someone else’s. Search within and the answer will always be right there! I promise.
- Stop chasing money, fame, success, love and even Happiness itself. The more I grow up the more I realize I need to slow down and smell the roses. I have always chased it all just to get to that point of high expectations yet feel no different. You can win a lottery today and come a year later, you’ll be right where you were if you’re not happy with who you are today. You can chase love and let it consume you but in the end it’ll only bring you heartache if you’re not at peace with your own heart and soul. But as human beings, we are never satisfied. We like to chase. And when we get there, it’ll lose its meaning because we don’t know what to do with it all. We don’t know how to stop and appreciate life.
- Life is a balanced adventure, so don’t ever settle but don’t burn it all down either. It’s good for the soul to stop and slow down from time to time but that doesn’t mean to settle. If you’re at the same place you were five years ago, are you truly living an adventure? If you’re relaxing and enjoying a cup of tea while reading a good book today, wake up and go hiking tomorrow and grab a beer with your buddies on your way home! When it comes to the matters of the heart, this is also true but you already knew that. Right!? Ugh fine, I’ll get to that in a few.
- Give more! Be generous. It’s not all about you. The more you make someone else happy, the more joy will be brought into your life. It’s a universal rule no one has been able to break! I have never seen an unhappy giver, but I have seen many selfish sharks who will never understand true happiness. Someone once told me “When you give away your most favorite things in this world to make others happy, then you’ll feel true happiness.” And man, weren’t they right!
- Be thankful. I don’t know at what point in life we forget to be thankful. Isn’t that the first thing we learn when we are little? To say thanks and sorry when appropriate? Even if we don’t learn it from our parents, society and this universe has a way of teaching us. However, we still forget. Then we get mad when we don’t receive the next best thing that we so dearly deserve. Well maybe if you stop being a brat and actually be thankful for the things you have, you’ll receive more. Everyday when you wake up, you need to count your blessings because you never know how long you’ll have them. Make your everyday a Thanksgiving Holiday!
- Smile More. This one I think I was born with and has been the most challenging yet rewarding to maintain. However, it is one of the only keys to happiness that has never failed me. I could be having the worst day of my life and still smile through it all. Smiling is and will always be the most used universal sign of appreciation. When you smile you tell the universe I am happy. I am here. I am fighting. I am alive and I thank you! 🙂
- Tell the truth more often. Why do we lie? Why do we hide things? To save a face or a life? Whatever the reason might be, it will do permanent damage to your soul and to others. The outcome is always the opposite of happiness. So tell the truth more often. It will sting for a few but it won’t burn you later or steal your joy. Just remember, there is a certain ray of peace that shines on those who are truthful in all matters of life.
- Sleep more. Sleep is our natural recharge button. Reboot as much as you need to and wake up to continue your journey. Don’t be a constant night owl, it won’t do you any good. Going against your body’s natural mechanism is worst than poison. It will not only hinder your physical health but it’ll do serious damage to your mind and soul.
- Exercise at least 7 minutes a day. Move your body. Happiness is not all sleeping, believing and hoping for the best. You have to move your body physically to let your blood flow easier. After all this is the only body you’ll ever have. Treat it nicely and you’ll feel much happier in return.
- Eating good food should not be a miserable task. The moment we let numbers, scales, crazy diets, instagram models and surgeries have a say in our relationship with food, was the moment we lost one of top pleasures in our human history. Eating food. When did the trend became to starve yourself so you look skinny enough to match some filtered thigh gap instagram model? Uhm #TeamNoThighGaps please. You are meant to enjoy your food. It is not supposed to be a miserable task or a weapon to kill you. Learn to have a good relationship with food. Eat food with gratitude not attitude.
- Have at least 5 close healthy relationships. They say you are who you hang out with and that you’re as good as the 5 closest people in your circle. Make your circle smaller in quantity and higher in quality. I have not once regretted losing the friendships or relationships that never added anything to my life. Friendships and relationships are supposed to be two way streets. If you’re the only one that gives, soon you won’t have anything left. Cut off those energy suckers. Gather some people around you who would build you up, not tear you down.
- Be happy for others. I have always struggled with this one because I am so competitive. But jealousy will only damage your soul and slow you down. You will lose your focus and happiness. So be happy when someone else gets their dream job or gets married after only 3 months of dating the guy you introduced to them. Wahh!! Be happy for others even if it means you’ll never see them again. After all there is a lesson in everything if you just learn to pay attention.
- Write it down. Something magical happens when you write things down. This may not be for everyone but I think if we all would give this a try, then we would feel happier and more at peace. There is a power in writing the thoughts in your mind and giving them life in the form of letters and words.
- Minimize stress. There is nothing like stress when it comes to destroying someone’s happiness and peace. If you are stressed all the time, it’s time to sit down and make a list of things that are good and bad for you. Eliminate the bad one by one and increase the good. It’s easier said that done but do it before your adrenal glands give up on you.
- Make a to-do-list and finish it. I tend to feel more fulfilled and happy when I am organized and on top of my game. Making and finishing a to-do-list is my to go tool for this. Even if you don’t finish it all, just add it to the next day and make sure you won’t allow more than 2 days to finish a certain task. If you keep seeing the same item on your list for an entire month, you either need to do it now or figure out why you are procrastinating on such a task. After all laziness never leads to happiness.
- Get outside more. I love sitting outside and listening to music. It’s my way of meditating I guess. It makes me realize that I am a part of something so amazing and wonderful. You have to remind yourself that you were not born on this big beautiful planet to sit inside of four walls, every day and night. Get out and connect. And remember that no matter where you are in the universe, you will always be at the center from every infinite direction possible. How beautiful is that! 🙂
- Buy experiences not things. Yeah I don’t think I have ever looked back and said I should have never gone to this city or that country. Memories are what makes us who we are. Experiences bring us fulfillment and happiness. Things on the other hand, give us a sense of false entitlement. They never truly belong to us. But our memories and experiences will always be ours.
- Pick a skill and master it. This one is definitley my favorite thing to do. I can never learn enough or do enough. There is a certain beauty and happiness in breaking into a new skill and realizing that you can do anything if you practice enough.
- Quit daydreaming. I am guilty of this. I think we all are. We sit in our offices, coffee shops, cars, bedrooms and anywhere else where we get to dose off and we create perfect moments in our minds. Moments that will quite possibly never happen. Imagination is a good thing but just like anything else in this life, too much of it can be damaging. True happiness never comes from wishing, it comes from doing.
- Connect to your soul and find your higher purpose. Some people might think this is unnecessary to find happiness, but I say the moment you connect to God/Universe/The Master Mind is the moment your entire existence makes sense. And with that comes the best feeling in the world. Unfortunately such connection is not the best, due to the distractions and barriers that are in our way. So we lose this connection on a daily basis, then certain things happen that remind us of why we are here. So instead of waiting for signs and miracles everyday, find your true center and create a steady connection so you’ll always be in tune.
- Be nice to yourself. We are our own worst critics. we never think we can be perfect and that’s okay. You may not be able to be perfect or accomplish everything that you want, but at least be nice to yourself. You are all you’ve got. You came here all by yourself. You made it through so much and you have done a tremendous job. After all this life did not come with an instruction manual. So stop being hard on yourself and give yourself a break. You’re doing your best.
- Let it go. I think I learned these next couple of keys just recently, and they just might be the most important ones. I never knew how to let it go and be okay. You can move on but never let go. And that was my struggle. Sometimes you have to let go of things, people, feelings, situations, and even dreams that no longer make sense. It will be hard but the feeling of peace and joy that follows will be priceless.
- Fall in love not lust. Oh boy, this one is a hard one. However, when you learn to distinguish between lust and love, you’ll quickly realize where your happiness lies. You see, lust expires. But love grows and won’t go away. So fall as hard as you can, but make sure it’s for love. And never forget that not all loves and lovers are meant to last and stay the same. People grow and change and you may fall for more than one person. And that is okay.
- And accept that sometimes good enough is good enough. Last but not least, remember that happiness doesn’t always come from the best thing on the menu. Sometimes it’s just the good-enough-moments all in one.
Happiness is not a hidden gem, and it certainly is not a luxury. You just have to remember to keep finding it, because it will never stay in the same place.
Sweet Escape Project