Let me start this post with a question for you: When you think about a happy life, a sparkly life, what come to your mind? What do you think is necessary for a happy life, what does your happy life entail, what do you need in order to be happy?
You may think something like this: lots of fun, and excitement, financial success, nice vacations, maybe great parties and adventures?
Well, most of us have realized by now that you don’t need money to be happy, yada, yada, yada. So, you may also think something along the lines of: a job that you like, a loving family, a comfortable home, and good friends. That sounds pretty down to earth and like something everyone would want, right? Well, yes.
And still, that doesn’t mean that you need these things to make you happy. What I have come to realize is, that 1) happiness does not rely on ANYthing in our lives that lies outside of us, but solely on our decision to be happy, and 2) happiness oftentimes lies in the smallest, and I literally mean smallest of things, encounters, and occurrences.
Chocolate makes me happy
Let me explain what I mean by that. When I was scrolling through my Insta feed to look at all of the things that make my life happy, I realized that the thing I post about the most, is food. Jackfruit burgers, chocolate cakes, salted caramel chai lattes, buddha bowls, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, sweet potato fries, pizza, vegan ice-cream. Man, I love food. It brings me so much joy, I can revel in the taste of delicious food for an hour, and then some.
But food is usually not something that comes up when you ask people what makes their lives happy. Because we tend to think bigger. Searching for the next „party“ (in air quotes – not necessarily talking about a real party here). We are so focussed on the big things, the fireworks, and party balloons, that we completely forget to consider the joy and bliss within the smallest, most mundane things in our life, the everyday stuff, like food.
Go for your big dreams, but …
Now, I’m not trying to tell you to settle for the little things and not pursue your big dreams or goals. Not in the slightest. I have big dreams, and big goals that I want to achieve. Dreaming of a beautiful house in the South of Spain with a view over the Mediterranean Sea and avocado trees in your garden? Yep, I’m right there with you. The question here is simply: Do you need that to be happy? Does it make you unhappy not having it?
I sure hope not. And I want to challenge you to find your happiness in your life as it is now. No matter how much you think your life sucks, there are joyful moments, I promise. Oftentimes we are just too busy to notice them.
It’s the everyday stuff
I think the key to happiness lies in being AWARE of the tiny little things that sparkle some joy in you. I remember when my boyfriend and I were traveling through Europe in our camper van, people kept asking me what the best part was about traveling for so long. And then I would wreck my brain for some grand answer. You know, the crazy freedom, the impressive places we get to see, the adventure, whatever. But in all honesty, it was the little, everyday things.
The quiet moments we had in the middle of nowhere. Yellow tiny butterflies that accompanied us for a while in Denmark. The pure and utter bliss of a hot shower after not showering for four days. Sitting in a cute café with a piece of cake in front of use because cake is happiness. Building a fort out of blankets in our camper van on a rainy, foggy day because sometimes the most joyful thing that you can do is cuddle up and listen to the raindrops on the window. Ten minutes of rest after chasing adventures for months. The beauty of the everyday moment that we started to notice because we had broken out of our routine.
It really was the small things that made us the happiest.
The key lies in mindfulness
Chances are, that your life is completely different from that. If you do a regular job, being at an office from 9 to 5 with the usual amount of days off, your everyday life probably doesn’t look like so much fun. Get up, go to work, come home, make dinner, do housework, go to bed, sleep, wake up, and repeat. You may have trouble finding the happiness in your life. And you may think that you need the fancy vacation or adventure to experience a bit of happiness at least two weeks out of the year.
Well, I am here to tell you that you don’t have to rely in that vacation. You don’t have to rely on ANYTHING to make you happy, especially not the big stuff. All you need is the decision to look for blissful moments throughout your day, and the understanding that these blissful moments don’t have to come with a bang. Practicing gratitude every night is a good way to start. I have talked about that in a previous post, in case you missed it.
The key here really is mindfulness, and awareness.
If it brought you joy once …
There may be things in your life that brought you joy one day, but now you have become numb to that joy because you experience it every day. I remember loving yoga. It made me feel so freaking good. Then I did a yoga teacher training course, and spend a whole month doing yoga for several hours a day. I kind of stopped loving it because it felt like something that I had to do. And I stopped focusing on how it made me feel.
I actually had to take a break from doing yoga for a while after that because I couldn’t find the joy in it anymore, even though I used to be so happy on my yoga mat before that. Only a few weeks later I rolled out my yoga mat again, and was able to delight in the movement of my body again, because I was able to look at it as something to bring me joy instead of something that I just do.
I am pretty sure that there are similar things in your life. Things that brought you joy once, but now are just something that you do regularly. Think about what this could be in your life. Hey, maybe you started drinking coffee because you really liked the taste. Which, I’m sorry, I won’t ever understand. Coffee to me tastes so bitter and I don’t get what all of the fuzz is about. But anyhow. Now, you drink 5 cups a day, and you don’t even notice it.
Try and remember that joyful feeling that you used to get from drinking coffee or doing whatever it is that you just thought of. Try to be present when doing it, like drinking your first cup of coffee in the morning. And boom, there you have a happy moment in your life – or five, depending on your coffee consumption. From the small act of drinking coffee. Pretty cool, huh?
Ten little happy moments are better then one big one
And the best part is: these small things add up. They really do. If you have ten of these small, and short sweet moments throughout your day – and you actually pay attention and notice them – think about how much happier your life would be. You suddenly fall asleep all blissed out from your day that would have bored you out of your mind before.
And there you have it: When it comes to happiness, bigger isn’t always better. The small things can make you just as happy if not even happier.
Now, if you have trouble finding the small things in your life that bring you joy, here are a few ideas – besides food. Good music on your way to work. Walking barefoot and feeling your feet. Basically anything relating to nature. It is a scientific fact that nature makes us feel good. A playful moment during the day. A minute of complete quiet. Or a phone call from your bestie. All of these small things can make you happy – if only you let them.