Photo via TheSweetLife
Today’s post is the third and final installment in a brief series on finding your happiness. If you’re confused, just skip back a post or two to get caught up on the latest!
Having brainstormed and analyzed a previous period (or two) of happiness, it’s time to… well… brainstorm again. This time, you’re going to think about ways to create the circumstances for achieving more happiness in your life. Now that you have identified what sensations and feelings constitute your own unique version of happiness, you can begin to think about new ways to create those same emotions.
Let’s follow up on a few examples we started last time to illustrate this process.
Pulling from my own happiness exercise, I shared that during a previous period of happiness I was interacting with interesting people who brought new perspectives to my life everyday. So what are a few ways I can reintroduce that dynamic back into my daily living now? Well since I enjoy discussion I could join a current affairs book club, or perhaps a group centered around a personal interest such as a monthly meetup for people to discuss ecological living.
What about our example of the individual who missed their significant other because that relationship represented a sense of purpose and love? There are other ways to rediscover a sense of purpose and love without finding the next Mr. or Mrs. Right. Volunteering is a great way to reestablish a personal sense of purpose, especially volunteering that enables us to take care of another being such as walking dogs or taking care of the cats at a local no kill animal shelter. If having a personal connection is what you miss, maybe volunteering at an assisted living home or tutoring children at a local school is more up your alley.
Finally, there is the individual who looked back longingly on their co-ed days because of the sense of belonging and adventure that period of their life represented. Another way to develop a close sense of unity with a group is to join a team that appeals to you. Many people find taking part in an amateur sports league is a great way to reestablish a personal sense of belonging, but do not feel limited if you would rather hide in the locker room than spend time on the court/field/green/ice/what-have-you. There are endless types of teams to join, from debate to art to board games to improv, which are great ways to bond with others on a deeper level than just being social. Of course, if it’s the adventure factor you’re missing, it’s time to start planning. Find a friend who is ready to try something crazy or strike out on your own. Sky diving? Road trip? Dog sledding camp? Create your own adventure to start, and adventure will start to find you.
I hope you have found this exercise to be helpful. Of course, happiness is a tricky thing and we each experience it in a different way. However, I think that we can all benefit from examining our current levels of satisfaction and considering what might help increase that level. Do not fall into the trap of thinking “If only I had more friends” or “I just need a spouse to be happy”. Happiness doesn’t do titles like this anyway. By digging a little deeper and recognizing what it is we’re really missing, we can begin to find new ways to fill that void.