Maybe your "but if..." is having more money. Maybe it's having a different job. Maybe it's adding a child to your family unit. Whatever the case, people tend to get weighed down in fantasy and sometimes it overshadows the feelings of happiness they should be feeling in the present. I do it. Like, every day.
So I did some Web research and found three great tips for being happy based on other blog posts and articles. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.
1. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. A post on the Real Simple site says that the brain is stimulated by surprise and having the ability to overcome the fear (and reality) of failure goes a long way towards having a happy outlook. Instant gratification is empty and will leave you with a hollow feeling in the end. Choose to take on challenges and step outside your comfort zone and the result will be a deeper level of satisfaction with life.
2. Surround yourself with positive people in person or online. In a post titled "101 Ways To Feel Happy," travel writer Annabel Candy gives several examples of ways to achieve short-term and long-term joy. I really liked this point, especially since Annabel mentions interactions in the online world. It can be tough to cut toxic people from our everyday lives, especially if they are coworkers, parents of our children's friends or even family members. It is really simple, however, to keep toxicity out of your online relationships. Do not feel bad about deleting friends (electronically) who bring you down. If you want to stay in touch with a particular person but not read his or her statuses, filter out his or her feeds. If you somehow got lumped in a mass email group of a friend who has different political, social or religious views than you do, politely ask to be removed. There is enough negativity that is unavoidable in our lives; don't put up with any that is unnecessary.
3. Live in the now. Don't roll your eyes. I did not borrow this point from some rainbow-chasing hippie woman's blog that she writes from her lily pad in the rain forest. I got it from Psychology Today. It can be easy to regret the past and stress about the future. Meanwhile, our beautiful children are growing and getting bigger by the minute, our parents are aging and our own bodies are losing a little bit of youth with each passing day. In a post on this blog by Tricia, she mentions repeating this phrase to herself in her most stressful times dealing with melanoma: "Nothing bad is happening in this moment." Since reading that, I know that I personally have applied it to my own life. Right now is what we have, so live your life there -- not in a past or future state that you cannot control.
Be happy readers!