When it comes to seeking happiness, I know I’ve found myself in the past buying into the trap that buying the next big item, taking a vacation, or getting a promotion will be what finally gives me the satisfaction we are looking for in life. Although the glossy images on social media will have you believing that buying the “next” thing will make you happy, happiness is not a tangible thing but a choice that we make every single day. And what I’ve noticed is the women who are happiest are always intentionally choosing people, things, and situations that keep them feeling their best. If you’ve been searching for happiness in life, relationships, or work–try adapting some of my tangible tips below and watch how quickly you up your happiness factor.
1. Saying “no” to things I don’t want to do without guilt
We’ve all been there: Your friends are making plans to do something that sounds more like a chore than a good time, but the guilt of saying “no” feels worse than actually participating. If you find yourself agreeing to things you actually don’t want to do simply because you don’t feel confident saying “no” or you tend to feel left out when your friends do something without you, it’s time to adopt a new way of thinking. The happiest I’ve found myself is when I’m prioritizing myself by skipping any event, outing, or situation I simply don’t want to be a part of (or don’t have the capacity to be a part of–this one’s huge too!), and I do so without feeling bad. Your niece has a dance competition 45 minutes away the day after you get home from a business trip to the west coast? I might respond with “That weekend doesn’t work for us, hope they do well!” Or your cousin asks you to hang out on a weekend where you have a mountain of laundry and were really hoping to curl up and watch Friends reruns all day in your jammies? Let him know that you’d love to hang out but this weekend isn’t the best time for you.
I’ve stopped worrying about whether or not others are hanging out and having fun without me because I’ve stopped attributing MY worth to my social presence. If you’re constantly doing things you don’t want to do, start practicing the art of “Thanks, but I’ll catch up with you later!” and see how much happier you become.
2. Taking care of myself and prioritizing my health
I can honestly say that making the decision to stay active and adopt a healthy lifestyle has been one of the KEY factors in my overall happiness. The happiest women I know stay well-rested, well-nourished, healthy, and hydrated because those things play a major role in mood, energy, and overall wellbeing. Getting some kind of movement in, eating healthy and nutritious food, keeping up with my mental health, and drinking plenty of water are all things that contribute to our overall wellbeing and happiness but I found were things that I often pushed aside when life got in the way. I would prioritized my families health over my own-ensuring Callie got to all her doctor’s appointments but failing to schedule (and keep) my own. Making James a healthy protein packed lunch and then living off Starbucks and drive thru lunches myself. By prioritizing my own health and wellbeing, not only do I feel good inside and out, but I’m modeling for my daughter that her health matters first. I’m able to show up as a better mama, wife, and colleague at work when I’m healthy, well rested, and full of energy.
3. Not taking things personally
This is probably one of the things that I’ve actively had to work on the most from the list. I used to take everything personally. The sales person who was rude to me at Nordstrom? Well obviously, they hate me and everything about me. I most assuredly offended them when I asked them to check in the back for the new Birkenstock sandals in taupe. And I would stew in that rude encounter for the rest of the day–but why?
The happiest women I’ve encountered rarely take anything too personally. If you’re like I used to be and often find yourself obsessing about whether someone is mad at you or overthinking something you did or said, it’s time to adopt a happiness mindset and start taking things way less personally. Now when someone gives me attitude? I chalk it up to the person having a bad day, not because of something I did or said to upset them. If my friends don’t answer my texts, I now assume it’s because they’re busy, not because they’re mad at me and don’t want to be my friend anymore. By adopting this mindset, I feel like I’m saving myself a lot of unnecessary heartaches and hurt feelings. If you tend to take things personally, try reminding yourself that other people’s behavior is usually attributed to their lives, their schedules, and themselves–not to you. You’ll be happier in no time.
4. Addressing problems head on
Uncomfortable conversations, tough days, and difficult situations may seem easier to avoid than deal with believe me, but I found the happiest women I know don’t shy away from facing their problems. If anything they are quick to address them because they don’t want to be dealing with the same issue 3 months, 6 months, or worse, 6 years down the line.
Whether sharing feelings with my husband or crossing off a majorly cumbersome and somewhat scary item from my to-do list, I’m trying to conquer the things that would otherwise weigh on my mind. Sticking my head in the sand, complaining about the same issue over and over or running from problems doesn’t solve anything; happiness is the result of a truly calm and confident mind. By addressing your problems head-on, you’ll spend less time dwelling on them and more time enjoying life. Plus, you’ll feel more confident because you took care of a hard thing!
5. Only competing with myself
I don’t compare myself to anyone else nor am I in competition with anyone but myself. I think today’s society has fallen prey to the comparison game–with constant social media use, unrealistic beauty standards, and the constant pressure to do more, it’s no surprise. Look like her, act like her, cook like her, work like her….the list goes on and on. However, the happiest I’ve found myself is when I’m only striving to be the very best version of myself. Instead of competing with the women around me, I look to their successes as inspiration of what’s possible and I find ways to celebrate those around me–without jealousy (this is huge. Take jealousy out of your line up and watch your life change). If feeling less-than is something you struggle with, try reminding yourself of all of your accomplishments and see how much more happiness you find in your life.