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We all want different things in life.
However, the one thing that everyone wants equally is happiness.
We spend most of our lives trying to understand what makes us happy. We jump from one relationship to another, from one job to another, from one hobby to another, hoping to fulfill the emptiness that we feel every now and then.
It’s arduous, isn’t it? This quest for pursuing happiness and never being able to keep it seems daunting at times. It seems impossible to remain in an ecstatic state and preserve the feel-good days.
The truth is our happiness is not static; it’s in a constant state of fluctuation. When unprecedented events happen, we can’t but feel sad or frustrated. In addition, life’s daily responsibilities don’t make it any easier. It’s challenging to remain happy when we’re juggling demands at home and work and trying to find the middle way simultaneously.
Although it’s nearly impossible to make happiness consistent, it’s totally doable to incorporate it from time to time into our busy days.
Here are five things that never fail to make me happy:
1. Interact with animals. Whenever I feel down, sad, or pressured, I cuddle my dogs and spend some time with them. If you don’t own a pet, consider adopting one. If adoption is not on the horizon, try to pay regular visits to the friends who own pets. Research has shown that animals decrease our levels of cortisol (our stress hormone) and might reduce feelings of loneliness.
2. Spend time in nature. Doing activities in nature has always elevated my mood. I’m instantly happier and more relaxed when I’m surrounded by trees, plants, and flowers. The sound of rivers and waterfalls also soothes me greatly, and gazing at the sea and listening to the waves put me in a meditative state. Even going for a 10-minute walk or stepping out of the house to simply breathe the fresh air can be extremely soothing.
3. Spend some time with someone you love. Days before passing away in a bus in Alaska, Christopher McCandless wrote, “Happiness is only real when shared.” When I was traveling in India alone, I understood what McCandless meant by this now-famous saying. We are social creatures, and sharing with others our stories, adventures, feelings, and dreams can make us happy and satisfied. Even though I’m an introvert at heart and I always seek alone time, spending time with those I love makes my heart content.
4. Appreciate whatever comes your way. The benefits of gratitude are many, but unfortunately, we are rarely grateful. In our minds, we seek a perfect life—one that is devoid of sadness, disappointment, and loss. However, it’s not possible to live a beautiful life without experiencing the ugly side of it. The more grateful I am, the happier I become. Try to accept and appreciate whatever life throws your way and see how your mood might instantly change.
5. Do what you love—what you really love. The farther I move from the things that make my heart beat faster, the more miserable I become. There are certain things that give meaning to my life and that make me genuinely happy—such as traveling, painting, reading, and gardening. When I stop doing these things, I feel my light slowly dimming. If you want to shine brighter, always practice what makes you you. Goals, dreams, and passions fuel our bodies and souls with pure joy; without them, we might forever feel desperate.