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 the past year 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.