The busier we become, the more we steal from our “joy” time. If work demands more time and effort, chances are our gym time will suffer. When the teenager has yet another hormone tantrum, watching a movie or painting our toenails goes out the window.
Ironically, the first activities that we give up when we’re overbooked are the ones that actually make us feel happier and less stressed in the long run, according to one study (Lewinshon, Munoz, Youngren and Zeiss, 1986). In the absence of these moments of joy and positive emotion, it becomes more and more difficult to separate ourselves from work, paying the bills and our everyday routine.
A Harvard economist Juliet Schor (1991) reported that when workers in an English factory had to give up their overtime hours due to the bad economy, they recovered both physically and mentally shortly after. Because of the new extra time they had on their hands, they started hanging out more with their friends and families. Money escaped their minds, and their zest for life returned.
Happiness can be a conscious choice
Finding happiness in our everyday lives is something we can learn to accept and implement. For many of us, it’s not an automatic thought. Often, we have negative thoughts and feel little compassion toward ourselves. But it is very possible to make a conscious choice to do the things we truly enjoy and be with the people we truly love. When we give to ourselves and are happy, others around us will pick up on these positive vibes, creating a good cycle of giving and receiving. Most of all, I certainly know that there is joy to be found in the freedom of self love.
What makes you laugh and feel joy? How can you share these feelings and moments? Can you stop and smell the roses a little bit every day?
5 ways to live happily
- Never skip your workout.
- Begin to feel, smell and taste again. Smile.
- Before you do an activity, visualize what it is going to look like. Let yourself know that no matter what happens, it will be good.
- Experience new things little by little — especially if you are nervous about them. Note that you have done a great job every time.
- Instead of saying “should,” say “I would like to.”
Life is your gift, living it is your choice. Live life loud!