We search our whole lives for “happiness,” but what exactly is happiness? And where do you find it?
Do you ever find yourself thinking: “Once I get that job I will be happy or once I am in a relationship or when I move to a new city,” and yet you are sadly disappointed when that thing comes and you are still unhappy? Aren’t you tired of waiting? Wouldn’t you like to be happy today, not tomorrow or in a year?
Most people think happiness is this obtainable object that they have to search for or buy or hold on to, and that is where I believe the confusion with happiness starts.
Throughout my journey I have found that true happiness is the day to day moments that give your life joy. Not the trip you are planning in a month, not the date you are going on tomorrow or that raise you have been looking forward to. Happiness comes from within – one day at a time, one moment at a time.
Every morning you must get up and be committed to yourself, and act like today will be the best day yet. It takes daily dedication and surrendering. We cannot control our outside factors. We can only control ourselves and that is where the happiness lies.
If you focus one day at a time, you will be amazed how your happy days will become happy weeks, months, years, and ultimately, a deeply happy life.
And it all starts with today, right now, and you.
Below are some of the daily practices and routines I found, that have changed my life and helped me find happiness, one day at a time. I hope they impact you as much as they did me.
1) Ask yourself: “What gives me life?”
This question allows you to dig deep and reflect on what truly brings you happiness.
2) Start your day with 20 minutes of meditation.
When facing a very busy (and noisy!) day, a quick meditation gives you a dedicated time for silence. Cultivating meditation as a daily practice can create powerful shifts in your life. (Trust me, I could go on and on about meditation but that will have to be another post!) Some of my favorite meditations are by Mellisa Ambrosini.
3) Set alarms in your phone that ask “Am I present?”
Having appreciation for time means paying attention to what is important in the present moment. When you see an alarm go off on your phone that asks “Am I present?” It quickly reminds you to enjoy the small things, laugh more, immerse yourself in nature, and cherish the time you have with your loved ones.
4) Write down the desires you have for the day, NOT a to do list.
The things that you really want to do. Whether it is sit at the beach to listen to the ocean waves, watch the sunset, go on a run or maybe just have some quiet time by yourself. What ever it may be write them down each morning before you start your day.
5) Write down the pockets of time you could fill with something you actually enjoy and lights you up.
I know I catch myself spending at least 20 minutes in the morning scrolling through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter when I could be going on a quick run or getting lost in a really good book.
6) Read a daily affirmation or devotion.
Wise words foster a positive mindset. A daily affirmation works in two ways: to educate and to inspire you. Two of my favorites are Gabrielle Berstein’s Spirit Junkie App for your phone or Marianne Williamson’s book A Year of Miracles.
7) Write down five things you are grateful for.
A gratitude journal is not a new concept, but its impact on your outlook is incredible. Write in your journal by splitting the page: one side says “Thank you” and the other “You are welcome” (For example, “Thank you for my family”—“You are welcome”). This format creates an inner dialogue and cultivates a deep gratitude that you can carry with you throughout the day.
8) Go on a morning run, walk, or practice yoga.
Physical activity clears your mind to start the day with a clean slate. You generate tons of energy, as well as a sense of accomplishment (your workout is already done!) before you conquer the workday. Bonus points if you get moving outdoors!
9) Take a walk during your lunch break.
Fresh air and a change of scenery will do wonders for your state of mind. A short walk gives you time to reboot and recharge, so you’re ready to face whatever comes your way. And motion creates emotion, which means that a walk can help you work through how you’re really, truly feeling.
10) Practice visualization for five minutes each day.
Like your daily meditation time, set aside five minutes to envision positive moments or outcomes. Bring to mind feelings of happiness, people congratulating you, specific smells and sounds. Move beyond strict visualization by assigning emotion to these thoughts. Resist thinking of “how” something will come to be and focus on the experience or achievement itself.
11) Read or journal before bed to unwind.
Make the hour before you go to sleep a sacred time. Turn off all electronics and TVs and engage in a quiet, reflective activity, like reading or journaling. This peaceful time allows you to slow down at the end of a busy day and prepare your mind and body for a restful night’s sleep.
12) End with three wins from the day.
Reflecting on three positive points from the day is a wonderful way to recognize how great your day was. In the hustle and bustle, we often forget those amazing moments, overlook their significance and fail to appreciate them. Think about your successes and accomplishments of the day, uplifting interactions and instances of beauty, awe and delight. Of course, you can have more than three. It’s also fun to do this exercise with your family or friends.
In the end remember, just focus on today.