1. Find the bright side in a shitty situation
Life is full of situations that you didn’t expect and often don’t want.
You can lose your job, fail at love, not be able to start a family, have your house robbed, get into an accident or experience a mystery illness you later find out to be anxiety or depression.
Life can be really shitty sometimes even for Brad Pitt. Life can be shitty for us all and when you accept that fact and then decide to find the bright side in whatever goes down, you get the chance to be a lot happier.
Losing your job sucks, although it can also help you find a better one.
Not being able to conceive a child can be a pain-in-the-ass until you discover adoption that’s an alternative.
Having your house robbed costs money until you realize that the physical items stolen can’t replace the memories and the people you shared them with.
Mental illness can suck (like it did for me) until it helps to create a life-long passion for writing that occasionally gets to help other people.
Every situation in life has a bright side and forcing yourself to find one no matter how big or small the situation is, changes your state of mind and rewires your brain.
2. Dial down consumption
Over-consuming everything technology gives you access to can lead to feeling bad about yourself. Even if you try really hard, you’re going to run into people doing much better than you via your newsfeed, and on the really tough days it’s going to make you feel dreadful.
Watching endless news is another form of consumption that can only make you feel as though the world is fucked. Turn on any popular news online or read the major news sites or watch CNN and you’ll become unhappy. The world seems so messed up when that’s the only focus that can hold people’s attention for long enough to cause them not to switch off or click away.
If you must consume news occasionally, one source I’ve found helpful that makes me feel a lot happier is The Happy Newspaper by Emily Coxhead. There’s another online channel called The Good News Network that is excellent as well compared to the norm.
3. Practice leadership even if you’re not a leader (and don’t desire to be one)
Leadership is a title that anyone can have and it doesn’t need to be given to you. Being a leader is based on your actions.
It gives you the gift of being responsible and when you are, you get to have a say in situations that make you unhappy. If you want to be a lot happier, experiment with leadership as an outlet for fulfillment that can lead to some of the best kinds of happiness available.
When I stopped blaming situations and people and stood up for what I believed in, others followed and it allowed me not only to change my own life but occasionally change the lives of others. That feels incredibly rewarding — better than owning a Ferrari, I promise you!
4. Choose to speak up
I know you’re not Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks and you don’t have to be.
Every day there are people that are robbing you from being happy or making your life suck. You can let this continue on or you can speak up. I had a dude I used to work with that was making everybody’s lives hell and one day, I freaking had enough. It got to a point where it was like, “Either they’re going to stop making everybody’s life hell and deal with their mommy issues or I’m outta here.”
One afternoon I took aside their manager on behalf of the team and explained the chaos we were enduring. It was a big risk and it could have got me fired. You know what happened? Change came about and the leader I approached got involved to resolve the situation. And the best part is the person changed their ways and dealt with their shit so we could work, eat and sleep in peace.
If someone is making your life crappy (and the life of others), speak up. You deserve to be a little bit happier each day by forcing someone to deal with their issues.
5. Experience the butterflies in your stomach
Getting up on stage still feels weird to me. And I’m not the only one. You never really get over talking on stage and putting yourself out there. The feeling of butterflies in your stomach stays for most of us.
These butterflies are you taking a short break from the island of comfort and swimming in the choppy seas of discomfort and not knowing what’s going to happen. Putting yourself in situations that scare the crap out of you makes you happier. You might not think that, but here hear me out.
The uncomfortable experience starts out feeling rough, then the butterflies settle, and before you know it, you’ve got on stage and realized you’ve achieved something really special.
The part that makes you happy about these uncomfortable situations is the gift of looking back and seeing what you’ve achieved when you felt the fear and did it anyway. If you want to be a little bit happier, dip your toe in the choppy sea once in a while. There are no sharks, I promise.
You deserve to be happier than you are right now, even if it’s only 1.4% happier each day. If you try some of these suggestions out for yourself, you’ll see just how much happiness is available to you.
Life is worth living and smiling about in the process. Don’t let anyone take away your happiness and see the bright side of every shitty situation.
Happiness is available to everybody, including you. You’ve just got to choose more of it.