We all say we want to be happy, yet we make choices daily that prevent our happiness. We say that happiness is our goal above all else, yet chose money over it time and time again. Why do we sabotage our own happiness like this? Do we not actually want to be happy?
Of course we actually want to be happy– it’s just easy to get lost along the way. There are lots of distractions to confuse us, and there are actually different types of happiness to consider.
First, there is real happiness. A hug from your grandma, a deep life-changing chat with a friend, true love. That’s, of course, the one we’re going for. Second, however, is fleeting happiness. This happiness is the type that comes from an Instagram like, comments on your Facebook post, your favorite Netflix show. While these things can definitely boost your mood and make you feel happy temporarily, I’d argue that this isn’t the kind of happiness worth pursuing. Yet, ironically, this is the type of happiness we most often turn to (because it’s easier and more readily available).
I recently traveled to Hawaii and had the chance (aka was forced due to lack of coverage) to not use my phone for more than 24 hours. In the moment, I was so annoyed not to have access to my phone, but as we descended into the canyon to camp for two nights, I felt a weight lifting off my shoulders (not literally– literally, there was a 70-pound pack on my shoulders. It was incredibly heavy). I had no idea the mental stress my phone was having on me. Through this experience, I was able to see clearly enough to define three factors I think are crucial to real happiness.
1) Being in the moment
When was the last time you didn’t check your phone for a whole day? How about for even just an hour? If you’re like me, it doesn’t happen very often. We are too caught up in our phone world to be active in our real world. There is such thing as balance. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but we need to spend as much time off of our phones as much as we spend on them – if not more.
2) Connecting with people
It’s more than just impolite to be on your phone constantly when around others – it’s what’s making us unhappy. By using our phones when around our friends, family, colleagues, etc. it’s showing them we care more about others than we care about them. It’s also denying us the real happiness that can come from genuine connection with people. It’s not quantifiable like likes and comments, but it’s way more important.
3) Appreciating what you have
Running, drinkable water and a warm bed to climb into at the end of the day don’t seem like luxuries, but they are. When we get too comfortable in our daily routines, we forget how nice is is even to have the basics. Instead, we start looking for things to complain about. Try thinking of five things you appreciate as you brush your teeth each morning. You’ll be amazed what a difference this mental trick will make in your mood.
There is no way to be happy all the time, but I’ve found that these three elements make is much easier to be happy more often. I hope you all will try to move more toward real happiness too, and let me know how it goes!