Happiness Isn’t As Difficult As We Might Think

Posted on by Kim Openo

I was on vacation. I was stressed. I must be crazy. Right? I’d been waiting to relax and find some calm happiness at the beach for months. Why was I feeling anxious? Would the kids get a nap on time so they could have fun tonight, or what would we feed eleven of us for dinner that would be super yummy, or would it be too cold to go on a super awesome boat tour the next day? We need all these things to have fun, don’t we?

Was I seriously so worried about making sure I had plenty of fun that I actually didn’t have fun?  I was missing the fact that I was with people I love most at a beautiful location in warm weather with sand between my toes and wind in my hair. We are going on all sorts of fun outings and planning terrific times, but what about just being? I was missing time recharge my mind and restore my body with nothing but fresh ocean air, laughter, and maybe a few sand castles. However, with the fear that I might waste one second of my vacation I tried to cram fun into every moment while worrying about the next fun activity.

Then I began watching the three beautiful preschoolers that were part of our extended family for the week. They were sliding sea shells back and forth to each other over the tile floor laughing their little heads off. It sounded like nails on a chalkboard as random sand from the shells went in every direction, and it was clearly annoying several adults. It was not as exciting as the zoo the day before and might not measure up to the boat tomorrow, but these kids were loving it. They had big smiles and the giggles bounced from wall to wall.

So, what did I do? I decided that I didn’t give a rip about naps, dinner, or the next day’s boat tour. Planned fun time was over for me, and I replaced it with playtime. I sat down with the little ones and started sliding sea shells and laughing my head off! The rest of the week was a similar story of finding happiness. I gave in to dozing in the sun, playing in the sand while I listened to the surf and the laughter of children.

And what did I learn? I learned that even when not on vacation, life does not always need a list of things that need to be done. And worrying about each next bit of fun takes the fun out of the present. One way to increase the good times is to make sure we are mindful of the happiness of present because then achieving it is not as hard as you think.

In my situation, the problem was that I felt stressed and upset that I wasn’t enjoying myself because of other things that were happening around me. My own worry was the cause of my stress. The truth is, things are going to happen and we need to not let these little things get to us and get in the way of our happiness. Here are a few things that you can do to help yourself stay focused on happiness and not on the negative things that happen around you.

1. Breathe.

Close your eyes and take at least three slow deep breaths. Focus on things that make you happy. Try to forget the things that are bothering you and refocus your attention to whatever makes you happy. Relax and feel yourself breath, and with each outward breath, release all of the stress and tension that you might be feeling. When you open your eyes, be prepared to face whatever it is that makes you unhappy and know that it is not worth getting in the way of your newly found happiness that you are now have.

2. Clear your mind.

Many of us at times forget that we are in control of our own thoughts, therefore can be happy at any time. If something is bothering you or getting in the way of your happiness one of the greatest things that we can do is to clear your mind, ridding it of all negative thoughts. Enter a state of peace and calmness, where you are not burdened by anything at all.

3. Distract yourself.

Go on a walk, exercise, or out with friends for a little while to get your mind off things. When you come back, be ready to start fresh with a clean slate and don’t let your happiness slip away.

4. Use logic.

Use this as a last resort, but ask yourself, is it really worth sacrificing my happiness or good mood over this? In most cases you can handle every situation with happiness and kindness and get a much better result than if you got upset or angry.

In summary, be calm, relax, and don’t let those little things get in the way of you and your happiness just as I did at the beach, because you and only you are in control of your happiness.

What helps you relax and be happier? Share your wisdom in the comments below!