12 Happiness Hacks

12 Happiness Hacks

Keep feelin' okay even on the rainier days

We're all in the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. In reflection, the following few philosophies capture a bit of my own internal dialogue that has brought greater joy into my life.

#1. Don’t “fix” yourself when you look in the mirror

It takes a lot to not look in the mirror and immediately seek out imperfections to adhere to. I think that it's important to practice self acceptance in all forms. Accept the pictures that are at bad angles or the funky strand of hair that (for some reason) is sticking straight up today because those things are a part of the whole, and worth loving! They are the imperfections that make you interesting and irreplaceable. Embrace being abnormal!

#2 Build on a skill

There's something really empowering about being good at something, especially if you have been working towards improvement! Pursuing something you love with your time is also an opportunity for others, with similar interests, to cross paths with you.

#3. Plan something to look forward to

Let's be real, sometimes life can be a little dreary. But don't let the heavy responsibilities that lead to long term goals weigh you down. Plan something that makes you excited just to think about! It lifts the weight of the monotony just a little knowing that there's some color around the corner.

#4 Get out of your comfort zone

Have you ever read a book where the main character never had any development? So boring, right? Growth is accelerated when we leave our comfort zones. That could mean something as simple as saying "hi" to a peer that you've never talked to before or testing yourself by standing up on a highline! It makes being you more fun because you get to see yourself grow while exploring new reaches.

#5 Choose your thoughts

Did you know that neural connections are just as strengthened by thinking of something as by experiencing something? If I asked you to think of something you don't like about yourself- you'd probably be able to do it in a second. Unfortunately, humans tend to spend a lot of time building these connections. But, you can decide your own reality! Your thoughts really are powerful. If you want to accomplish something, picture yourself doing it. It's kind of like giving yourself experience!

#6 Treat yourself like you’d treat a lover

Love can be a very consuming emotion, especially with a romantic interest. "I'd do anything for you!" "I want to make you happy!" or "I love you no matter what!" are some of the statements that unconditional love can envoke. I find myself offering validation, a listening ear, curiosity, thoughtful acts, enthusiasm at that person's presense, and more. But we seldom have that sweet tenderness with ourselves. Make the silence of your mind as loving a place as it can be by prioritizing your relationship with yourself in the same way you would prioritize your relationship with a lover. Spend time with yourself. Do fun things alone. Write letters to yourself. Love unconditionally!

#7 Activate Your Beautiful Mind!

I like to meditate for reflections or spent time wandering the library to see what sparks my interest. There is so much amazing and life changing information out there- it's just a matter of engaging with it. I realized that I used to look in my phone a lot for stimulation, but it was so dissatisfying to just scroll through endless unfiltered snid-bits of information. I fill so much more fulfilled reading about philosophy, language, or transformative stories that lasts longer than the few lines of a facebook post.

#8 Let your self image be fluid

The hardest person to forgive, without a doubt, is myself. But I can't hold on to the past if I want to be in a place where I can still have a fluid identity. Just because I didn't accomplish something yesterday, doesn't mean I can't accomplish it today.

#9 Accept bad days

Sometimes shit happens. This is a photo from a hit and run on my car. This is a very material example, but bad days come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they even hit like a storm without even clear reason. We don't have to be ok all the time.

#10 Play outside

I noticed that sometimes when I'm feeling down, something as simple as climbing a tree can completely change my mood. I'm so grateful to have found a connection to the outdoors. Growing up in Los Angeles, and moving to Humboldt for college, I didn't know this part of myself until my undergrad education. But it makes so much sense. Of course, we need to be connected to this earth that sustains us!

#11 Listen to your longings

We are all on our own paths and are being guided by our own mechanisms. I have grown so much by trying to tune into those bigger questions, such as, "Why does my life feel dissatisfying right now? What do I love? What makes me feel like I'm in the right place?" Ask those questions and listen! Sometimes sadness is just a call to action from within.

#12 Don't overvalue happiness

Joy is great an all, but humans are far to complex to be emotionally single circuit. Some of the people who have given the greatest gifts of innovation or growth to our world have been motivated out of tragedy. The darkness of life is still a part of the beauty of it. Also, there are times when loving yourself means loving your future self, and delaying gratification. Happiness is what we expect each other to exude all the time. The truth is, it's seldom what we are actually experiencing. Accepting that is also part of the pursuit of internal peace. There are a plethora of intricate and distinct emotions that characterize who we are on a day to day basis. These feelings are to be celebrated and explored as part of this silly and wonderful human experience.

Cover Image Credit: Raleigh LaCombe

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Being Ugly

What it means to me


Due to a series of ongoing events throughout my semester, I've reconsidered what it means for someone to truly be ugly. Though it is often used in terms of appearance, I do not see it as such-- now more than ever. Ugliness runs deeper than appearance-- it runs within one's soul and festers into other areas of one's life, particularly in their treatment of others.

I view ugliness as someone's conscious capacity and implementation of malice. Taking time and energy out of your day to hurt someone else, that's what I view as ugly. Some offenses are more minor than others, however, it is still a conscious effort to hurt or affect someone else negatively-- and that's the source of the problem. I truly wonder what causes that sort of behavior in someone, as I, along with most people, simply do not invest time or energy into hating or plotting against others. It seems like a full-time job.

I can theorize all sorts of reasons as to why someone would act this way: hate, jealousy, vengeance, etc. Yet, all of these reasons don't hit the root reason. It almost seems that some people are just innately ugly in their soul. This alludes to the timeless debate of whether one's personality is due to nature or nurture. Again, although our surroundings and environment do have a large effect in our behavior, that alibi only goes so far when multiple people are placed in the same environment, in the same situation, and only some are willing to cross moral boundaries in order to hurt the others. Just because an environment applies pressure to people, does not mean everyone is going to act out in malice, and it certainly does not give everyone an excuse to do so. Some people are simply conniving and, well, ugly inside.

If you have ever encountered people like this, I know from personal experience that it is such a drag. You have an enemy, essentially, whether you chose to or not, however based on their hatred towards you, they are now considered an enemy, a hater, and any other associated term. Know that they will do anything in their power to bring you down, even if it requires bending the truth and creating elaborate schemes, but you have to keep on doing you. Let them obsess over ways to bring you down. At the end of the day, their time and energy is being invested into bringing you down, while yours is being used to build yourself up. They will fall by default. So, keep your head high, act in grace, and make your money. They can sip on their Haterade and watch from below.

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