The One (& Only) Method To Be Happy Always & Everywhere

reading time: 3 min

“Happiness is not a destination, it's a way of life”

I've had some pretty shitty weeks/months lately. I was unhappy at work, I was unhappy in my new city, I was unhappy about the fact that I wasn't happy and wasn't living my life. This got me thinking about happiness, and what it actually means (and takes) to be happy.

Practice Gratitude

Most people (my past me included) tend to think that once this or that happens (graduating, losing weight, earning money, having a career), they are going to be happy. For some it's even a life goal to be happy one day! However, this is a major error in reasoning. 

I'm sure you have heard sayings along the lines of: "Happiness is a choice". But maybe you have never really - like, really - thought about what this means. I know I haven't. Until recently. When I realized that I didn't want to wait until "I finally found my dream job" or "I didn't have unclear skin anymore". (Because I can tell you from personal experience, that those outer circumstances like losing weight etc won't make you happy!!) No, I wanted to be happy NOW!

And the great thing about happiness is: In order to be happy, be happy!  

Yep, it's that simple. The key to this paradox is to find gratitude in each moment, even - or especially - in the bad ones. After all, it's easy to be happy when times are good. But when times are bad, when everything goes wrong and you feel devastated, lonely or overwhelmed, that's when you need to take responsibility for your own happiness! Remember: It's your choice.

3 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude

1. Keep a gratitude journal. We've probably all heard this one by now: Write down one or more things you are grateful for on a daily basis. That way you will dwell on the positive and appreciate your life.

2. Make a list of what you have now that you once wished for. This could be an actual object like your own house, or it could be a skill, a fitness level, an attitude, a relationship, an experience... Be proud of what you've accomplished so far!

3. Acknowledge one ungrateful thought per day and then replace it with a grateful one. For instance, if you catch yourself thinking: "My husband never compliments my looks!", stop, and alter your thoughts into something more grateful like: "It's a wonderful trait that my husband places more value on people's personality than on their outer appearance."

How to Be Grateful Even When You're Not

Just because you can be happy always and everywhere, doesn't mean you won't be sad or angry or disappointed any more. But you will be able to turn your unhappy thoughts around to a more grateful and optimistic perspective on things.

Some examples:

  • Your car has been towed and you need to pay 200 bucks to get it back. Think: "I am grateful for having had my trusty car all these years." Or: "I am grateful for being able to pay that money, even though it hurts."
  • You've failed an exam. Think: "I am grateful for having the privilege to even take this exam." Or: "I am grateful for this chance to test my knowledge."
  • You're stuck in a train and are delayed two hours. Think: "I am grateful for being able to afford a train ticket." Or: "I am grateful to have a wonderful boyfriend I am about to spend time with." Or: "I am grateful for having two more hours to read my book." 
  • You've got your period on your first day of your vacation and feel like crap. Think: "I am grateful for being a fully functioning woman." Or: "I am grateful for having access to a toilet."
The great thing about mishaps like these is that once they are over, you will feel even more grateful, stronger and more confident - and you will realize that you are able to survive even the worst of worst circumstances (unless it's something actually life threatening, but even that would be an opportunity to appreciate your life so far).

Choose to be happy!