How to Be Happy

boxing glovesI’m writing this for you. I can see your face, your beautiful eyes and perfectly sculpted nose and eyebrows.

You are worried because you don’t know how to be happy and you are too young and brilliant to be unhappy and stressed. You know that. So the fact you are not really happy worries and annoys you even more. And you are a little bored even though you know that’s absurd.  Part of the problem might be you’ve forgotten how and what brings happiness.

It’s ok. I promise.

I can’t tell you how to be happy but I can tell you what makes me happy and maybe that will help.

There’s good news. You already know somethings most folks don’t. You know happiness is a choice. Every morning you have to decide if you will be happy.  You already know happiness is not something that happens to you.  Other people can’t make you happy.  Happiness is something that happens in your brain. It’s a switch and you have to decide to flip it.

Right now, I’m sitting in the bathroom. It’s 6:45 on a Sunday morning. I didn’t want to wake up this early. There’s dirty laundry in the corner. But I have a bottle of cold water, a cup of hot coffee. I have a book that I’m enjoying and I’m happy. That’s so weird. But it’s ok.

1. Figure out what you like to read. Biographies, math books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, classic fiction, history, graphic novels, the Bible, collections of trashy funny essays. It’s all fine. Waking up in the morning is much better when you have something to look forward to. Fifteen minutes of putting something  into your brain, that’s only for you, will help make you happy and will actually help make you look forward to waking up.

2.Eat and drink good food. Sure you’re gonna put garbage in your body too, most of us do. But everyday make sure you give your body, this astonishing engine God has give us, lots of water and good food too. It’ll make you feel a lot better. When you don’t eat and drink enough good stuff you will not be happy. (Again, being happy is a choice, are you seeing the pattern?) A car needs gasoline and oil. If you fill the tank with maple syrup and Windex, the car won’t run. This one is pretty simple.

3.  Get enough sleep. You can’t be happy without it. Yes, there will always be days when life interferes and you don’t get the sleep you need . But don’t expect your brain and heart to be happy if you’re not getting enough sleep. You know that so make it happen.

4. Figure out some physical activity you like to do and do it. I recently discovered I like picking vegetables out of our garden. I like to swim under water, I like to look at stuff underwater with goggles and float on a raft. I like trying to dance with my children. And I like to box and kick. Why? Who the hell knows . It’s odd but it makes me happy so I try to do it with my friends who also like to hit stuff, several times a week. It makes me happy. But, it’s up to me to make sure I go to that place and be with those people.

Recently, I thought I needed to do something more reasonable for a woman my age.  I went to a couple of yoga classes. It was nice but didn’t make me happy. It’s all about trial and error.

If you don’t know what you like to do, then you need to be brave and accept responsibility to go figure it out. Get off your ass and go try some new things until you find the thing and people you need.

Think back, maybe you used to do something that made you happy. Dancing, gymnastics, sword fighting, horseback riding, martial arts. Try that again. Forget about how you look or what people will think. What’s more important to you? Looking cool or actually being happy. If you need help, Email me.

And finally, talk to God. All the time. Tell him what you are trying to do. He can help. He’s got ideas. And when you get some good sleep, read something fun, drink some water and eat something delicious. Say thank you. You’ll enjoy it a whole lot more.

There’s more, but I’m going to stop right now. Remember, you have to love your self and take care of yourself first. Then you can help others and that’s where things where things get really really happy!

But for now, it’s all about baby steps and moving forward just a little everyday.