12 Happiness Hacks

12 Happiness Hacks

Keep feelin' okay even on the rainier days
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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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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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I Went From Losing Weight To Lifting Weights, And Now I'm In The Best Shape Of My Life

How a change in my fitness goals changed my life.

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I am in the best shape of my life...or at least I think so, and that's what truly matters.

I look in the mirror and feel confident.

I finally feel comfortable wearing crop tops, and I'm even starting to show visible abs. But getting here has been such a difficult journey filled with eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and other physical and mental struggles that hindered my ability to achieve my goals.

I have been on this health and fitness journey for many, many years now. I've been a size 00, a size 12, and every size in between.

Through it all, I have learned so much about myself, as well as fitness and nutrition in general. My biggest takeaway that led me to overcome all these obstacles was learning to let go of my perfectionism. When I'm old, I don't want to look back on my life and realize that I spent it all trying to lose weight. So, I changed my mindset.

My new focus was to be as strong as possible—to lift the heaviest weights, rather than losing the most weight. If you too, want to be in the best shape of your life but have struggled for so long, read my tips below.

1. EAT MORE

I know, it sounds crazy. As women, we are constantly told about diets and cutting calories. If you just want to be skinny, you can do that. But if you want to be strong, you need to eat to be able to put on the muscle.

2. ALLOW YOURSELF TO HAVE CHEAT MEALS

If you have struggled with eating disorders like me, satisfying your cravings will prevent you from having major setbacks.

3. LIFT WEIGHTS

Get your butt off that elliptical and into the weight room.

4. DON'T WORKOUT EVERY DAY

Again, especially if you want to build muscle, you need rest days. These are the days where your muscles are "actually" growing.

5. DON'T RUSH IT

You will not see abs overnight. It takes a long time. But if you want sustainable results, you must treat your body right.

I hope these tips are helpful. With positivity and patience, you can achieve anything.

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