According to Google, the most reliable source of information on the planet, happiness is defined as:
A mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.
That’s actually a pretty good definition, but to take it one step further, my definition of happiness is when I’m feeling like nothing can stop me. Happiness is when I’m productive, positive, inspired and motivated. Happiness is when I’m looking hot, feeling invincible, and optimistic about the world.
I can honestly say without a doubt, that I’m pretty f’ing happy right here and right now. However, I can’t say that I’ve always been this way. In fact, for a great majority of my life, I’d say, oh 27 out of the last 29 years, I was deeply unhappy.
From my experience of battling with my own self-diagnosed depression (I talk a little about it here) and then pulling myself out of a very dark phase in my life, I’ve learned a few things about what it means to be happy. And from what I’ve gathered along my own journey, I’ve realized that being happy is actually very simple. It may not always be easy, but it is simple.
So simple to the point that I’ve summed up the process of being happy into 2 very easy steps. And they are:
Step 1: Write down all of the things you like to do, and do them more.
Step 2: Write down all of the things you don’t like to do, and stop doing them.
I wish there was more to write, but to tell you the truth, that’s all there really is to it. That’s the “secret”. Since we all find ways to overcomplicate the hell out of everything, it can be hard for our brain to grasp the simplicity of this notion.
Don’t like paying bills? Then eliminate unneccesary spending like cable and high cell phone costs.
Don’t like being in debt? Cut out credit card spending and pay for everything in cash.
Don’t like commuting? Move closer to work or find a job closer to home.
Don’t like your boyfriend or your relationship? Well then, get out of it.
Hate your job? By golly, find a new one.
It may sound a little curt at first, but when you break it down, in order to be happy you must do more of the things that make you happy and less of the things that make you unhappy.
The secret to happiness is filling your life with people and things that you love and enjoy whilst reducing the time doing things or spending time with people that you don’t love or enjoy.
Getting to this point may not be easy. And in most cases, the process will probably be downright uncomfortable, like leaving a job or a relationship. It may not always be easy, but it is simple.
For real, do this today. Get a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle, list one column as “Things I Like To Do” and the other as “Things I Don’t Like To Do”. Release all your preconcieved ideas as to what you think you want your life to look like, and just get down to the basics.
Nothing is too big or too small. Think about anything and everything that makes you smile, laugh, or just makes you feel good, damnit.
Then, do the same for the things you don’t like to do. Things that make you frustrated, things that make you cringe, or people that make your life more difficult.
And don’t feel bad about what you put down. Get mom and dad, church, your friends, “societal norms”, or anything else that will make you feel guilty or apprehensive out of your head, and just listen to you. No one else has to even look at this. This will be for you and you only. This is just an exercise for you to see what you like and don’t like, that’s all.
If you don’t like walking the dog because you’re busy at work, write it down. This may mean you hire a dog walker, or re-consider dog ownership. (Let’s hope this isn’t the case.)
If you don’t like waking up early in the morning, write it down. You may consider going to bed earlier or adjusting your work schedule to fit around a more comfortable lifestyle for yourself.
If you’re boyfriend, girlfriend, wife or husband is really irking you, maybe you find better ways to communicate.
At first it may be scary to write some of these things down, but one of the keys to living a happy and fulfilling life, starts with being honest with yourself, and this is just a simple way to get you started. And if at the end you still feel ashamed about what you write down, just rip it up and throw it away. No harm done.
Really, write anything. The goal of this exercise is to come up with as many things as possible. For example…
If you like drinking tea at Starbucks, write it down.
If you like snuggling on the couch, write it down.
If you like shopping at CVS, write it down.
If you like dancing around naked after you get out of the shower, heck, write that down too.
And if you like sex, please, write that down.
Once you have your list in front of you, start finding ways to do more of the “Things I Like To Do” column, and less of the “Things I Don’t Like To Do” column. Again, this part may not be easy. But it is simple.
Once you get on a roll of doing more of what you like to do, and filling your life with doing things and hanging out with people you enjoy, you’ll find that the things/people you don’t particulary enjoy, will start to phase out.
To make it easier to get going, I’ve even created a “How To Be Happy” worksheet for you, and you can download it below. After you make your list, be sure to put it somewhere you can always see, like at your desk or on the fridge, this way you are reminded about the things you like and don’t like.
—>>>FREE How To Be Happy Worksheet <<<—
And for some inspiration, here’s a snapshot of my worksheet I did this morning. (It’s always a good idea to re-evaluate from time to time.) Now that you have your worksheet, and some ideas to get you moving, I’d love to hear what you come up with.