3 Simple Ways to Be Truly Happy Right Now

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This is the easiest time to be happy and grateful for what you have. It can be equally easy to be unhappy this time of year. Realizing that 2013 did not meet your expectations and comparing yourself to how and where you think you should be, combined with family/societal pressures to be merry and bright, can leave you feeling down.

Even though research demonstrates that happiness is a choice, outside influences can complicate your feelings. There are times when you have to be vigilant in choosing happiness and this might be one of those times. If being happy right now feels out of reach, know that it is closer than you think.

3 Simple Ways to Be Truly Happy

1. Abandon Your Search for Passion
Passions and interests change over time, so instead of trying to fulfill the goal of discovering that one thing you are meant to do, think about what you like to do or what sounds interesting. Also, your job doesn’t have to be what you consider your passion. Perhaps your job gives you the freedom to pursue your passions/interests/loves in other ways.

Give up the passion-seeking and give yourself permission to be curious. Maybe there is something that you’d like to learn more about, but because it doesn’t fit the “find your passion” model, you passed it by. Chances are you’ve dismissed good ideas and interests because you didn’t think you were passionate enough. Don’t let the way other people define passion and a meaningful life dictate what means most to you.

2. Do Something You Love Now
Even if you are in a job you aren’t crazy about, or struggling in other areas of your life, do something you love now. You don’t have to wait for the perfect circumstances or until all of your problems are solved to engage in activities you love. Take a photography class. Plan a getaway. Start a blog. Organize a hike. Throw a party. Doing things that make you happy, help you figure out how to deal with the stuff that makes you unhappy.

Make a list of the things you loved as a child. Then make a list of things you’d be interested in starting now. If there is any obvious crossover on your lists, start there. If not, start anywhere on the list. You can’t go wrong when you are working from a love list.

3. Forget about yourself
Sometimes seeking and searching slowly turns into being completely self-absorbed. Give your brain and ego a break and turn your attention to someone you can help right now. Volunteer at a food bank or with a local organization. Start a fundraising campaign for an organization you care about. Add joy and meaning to the lives of others and don’t be surprised when your life is infused with joy and meaning.

Happiness isn’t a place you arrive, but instead a feeling you create and encourage. Don’t wait.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Lori says

    I love this … “give up the passion-seeking and give yourself permission to be curious.” Courtney, this is a beautifully written essay that brought a great deal of peace into my day. Thank you.

  2. Laurie says

    I just finished reading 3 Simple Ways to Be Truly Happy. Excellent….thank you!
    I am by nature, a happy,optimistic and simple person, but I’ve been having a little bit of a pity party this week. My hard-working husband was laid off just before Thanksgiving, we have a son in college, Christmas is right around the corner, and to say money is tight would be an understatement. Your post was right on time. This statement struck a chord with me… “Even though research demonstrates that happiness is a choice, outside influences can complicate your feelings.” Enough of the pity party. I AM going to be vigilant and not let outside influences/situations steal my joy!!

  3. Rebecca says

    Number 1. For sure. I hear the refrain from Oprah harping on always seeking your passion. It’s strange how one blog post can dissipate that feeling. I’ve passed on many things because I didn’t think I would be passionate enough about it. Time to give that up and just do it!

  4. says

    This comes at the perfect time. I’ve been thinking a lot about passion this week and wondering where mine went…and maybe it’s time to let it go for awhile. Exploring isn’t a bad thing! Thank you for this early Christmas gift! xo

  5. Carla Clark says

    This is a great post, thank you! I’m on the hunt for a new job and feel a lot of pressure to find the right thing, but the job I have a second interview with on Monday is interesting and will give me a new direction where I feel stale and bored where I am. Thanks for helping me to see it’s the right direction.

    Also, the love list is great. I’ve been doing this every year without realising what it was. I have one constantly on the go, evolving as my interests change.

  6. Julie says

    Beautiful! Thank you for giving permission to feel curiosity instead of passion. I’ve always felt defective in some way because I haven’t defined my one true passion (as Oprah suggests), yet I have many valuable interests and much love to share with the children I see everyday.

  7. says

    I am going to agree with everyone else about not fighting hard to find that passion – at least not as the way we define it. Curiosity is the best teacher and when we try things we have never done before new doors open before our very eyes, joy is usually on the other side.

  8. Mike says

    I love this article. Since my childhood, I have been chasing Hollywood-like dreams of what I thought was an amazing life through a career or job title. Lately, I have finally realized that it is not your job that identifies who you are, it just pays for what you want to do and necessities like food, shelter.

    I really like bullet #3, I recently volunteered at a local food bank. I did it mainly to do something different and help out a great cause – especially at Christmas time. The rewards were far greater than I imagined, I met some great people, and changed some negative views I was starting to form towards people in general. Now I can’t help but wonder what a different place the world would be if everyone volunteered even just one hour a year to a cause, group, etc.

  9. says

    Thanks for these inspirational words. They seem to hit at just the right moment, in just the right way. I especially appreciated the first piece of advice, abandon your search for passion, and plan to give myself permission to be a little more curious instead of trying to identify just that “one thing.” I’ve never thought of it exactly that way, so I appreciate the simple clarity of your message.

  10. Jennifer says

    I read this last night and it has stuck with me all through the night and into this morning.

    What a crazy but beautiful concept #1 is. I’ve been “forcing” myself for years to try to figure out which one of my varied interests is my passion – never giving anything my all since I didn’t want to waste time until I knew.

    Really? (I ask myself now). What a waste of time THAT was. What is that saying…”Life is what happens while you are busy making plans.” (I would swap out “plans” for “following your supposed passion”.) While it is good to know what you are interested in and follow those paths, I feel like the best moments happen in life when you let life lead you…this makes perfect sense. Thank you for the reminder that it’s not all about passion for something but passion for living life and seeing what happens as you go.

  11. says

    Beautiful Courtney (as always),

    I think what you’re describing here is really mindfulness – living in the moment and letting go of fears and worry.

    I couldn’t agree more with all 3 pieces of advice!

    take care & very best wishes,
    Alan

  12. says

    I’m just catching up on my reading and you have NO idea how much I needed this post. I have always been an eclectic “generalist” really good at a lot of things, master of none, but interested in everything. At 56, it’s really hard to still be saying I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but now I’m realizing that’s okay, and maybe I’m better prepared in this constantly chaning world of ours than someone who picked one thing and is afraid to try anything new. Thank you so much for your wisdom and timing. I really, REALLY appreciate your blog.

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