Many of us have great plans for the future, and we are excited for the time we meet those goals, like finishing school, getting married, or simply having a day off together with the family. And then we meet those goals, but the happiness fades quickly. Was this not what we wanted? Did we have the wrong goal?
The simple answers to both those questions are, “yes,” and, “no.” We may have had the right goals, but the reality is that happiness may not be that way forever, even if we attain it.
Happiness, in other words, is an ongoing process that we must work at regularly, in order to first get there, and then stay there for as long as we can.
One of the steps that we need to take to stay in a state of happiness is that we need to accept that it will likely end at some point, and we will be sad, hurt, or depressed. This may seem counter-intuitive, but by giving up the fight against negative feelings, we can focus more time on what brings us joy and fulfillment instead. We can become so embroiled in fighting off being angry that we forget about being happy. This is in all actuality a very difficult step, and some may need help to do it. Please remember that if mood, depression, or any major life event has been a struggle lately, help is available.
Happiness as a choice
Another important step towards happiness is to recall that happiness is a choice. We choose our happiness often, and we choose our misery just the same. Before we go any further, this not true for all people; some are clinically depressed and need counseling or psychiatric care to alleviate that. If this seems like yourself or someone you know, please seek help immediately. For the rest of us, happiness is a daily choice, or even hourly. During the course of the day, we react. Something happens, and we react to it. It’s a normal human behavior. But we do not think about our reaction. Making a choice to be happy means we stop, think about our reactions and choices, and decide to be happy, or to not let someone upset us, or to deal with the issue later. It’s a conscious choice, and it will take effort and time to practice it, but soon happiness will become a habit, a natural reaction to life.
Keeping focused on the present
A last tip towards a more lasting happiness, is to remember to keep focused on the present, and what we do have going for us. Being grateful is something that comes up often when it comes to substance abuse treatment or support groups, and that’s because it is a really useful tactic to help people improve their mental state. Choosing to look at what we do have, what talents we have, can help boost our mood, and remind ourselves, that our lives could be a lot worse.
While these may seem like simple steps, they will go a long way towards helping us all find a little more happiness in life, and not struggle so much when life is hard. It is ok to feel down, angry and depressed. It also does not always have to be that way. Reach out for help if these feelings are becoming too much to handle alone.
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