Why I’m Happy Despite All The Challenges I’ve Faced.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”- Charles R. Swindoll.
For those of you who have followed my blog for some time now, you may know that 2018 was one of the most difficult and challenging years for me yet. Nothing, and I mean… nothing went according to plan. My plans to move overseas came to a screeching holt for reasons beyond my control. I dealt with failure and rejection both personally and professionally. I began to question what I was doing with my life.
I’ve spent some time speaking with various people who have made comments to me such as “Great to see how happy you are despite the difficult road you’ve been on.” or “How are you so positive despite everything that happened?” Well, let me tell you that in this past year I’ve truly learned the meaning of happiness is an inside job. I’ve also learned that it’s not so much what happens to us, but how we choose to respond to it, that matters.
So, you’re probably wondering how I’ve managed to stay happy and positive, regardless of all the challenges I’ve faced? Here are some of my key insights and lessons learned:
1. GRATITUDE MAKES US HAPPIER
Practicing gratitude is something I still consider myself relatively new at, and have only recently adopted as part of my daily routine. Some of the practices I have adopted I learned in a recent podcast episode Tim Ferriss hosted with A.J. Jacobs. A.J Jacobs is an author, journalist, lecturer and self-confessed human Guinea Pig.
Some of the strategies I have adopted from A.J Jacob’s lessons include:
- Focusing on the things which go right everyday, instead of the things that go wrong:
One good way to do this, is to write it down- and to get specific. For example, did the checkout line at the grocery store go quick? Write it down. Did you avoid red lights on your way to work? Write it down.
- Using gratitude to fall asleep:
Rather than counting sheep, count the things you are grateful for.
- Discover the hidden masterpieces all around you:
There are so many masterpieces all around us that we take for granted. For example, think about how much engineering, passion and thought goes into creating a coffee cup. Pay attention- if you notice the ‘masterpieces,’ they will awe you with wonder.
2. DEVELOP A SELF-CARE ROUTINE
Another method I use to stay happy is to establish and implement a self-care routine. Taking time out to destress and decompress is necessary for me to take care of my mind, body and soul. Some of the ways I like to self-care include:
- Working out:
I work out 5 times per week at the gym. I also try to go a long walk by the beach or in nature at least 1-2 times per week.
- Digital detoxing:
Blocking out time each week to go device-free and shut off from social media.
Ensuring I get plenty of sleep is essential in recovery and ensuring I maintain a good mood. Lack of sleep can easily result in a grumpy Lara. Same could be said for a lack of food…
Meditating just 10 minutes a day helps me to feel more calm, in control and helps me to elevate my mood.
Taking time out to get my nails done, get a blowout or run a long bubble bath are easy are cost-effective ways to give me a much-needed pick-me-up.
3. RID YOUR LIFE OF NEGATIVITY
One of the most effective ways to stay happy and positive, is to rid our lives of negativity. I have adopted the following practices to maintain positivity in my life:
- Adopt a positive mindset:
I try my best to be consciously aware of my thoughts. When I’ve put an excessive amount of energy into what others have or what others are doing, it has been one of the easiest ways for negative energy to enter my life. I have learned that one of the best ways to remain positive is to focus on the things I do have as opposed to what I don’t have. Focusing and comparing yourself to others serves no purpose and is one of the easiest ways to allow negativity into your life without even realising it.
- End toxic relationships:
The types of relationships you have with people can have a significant impact on your health and well-being. If you surround yourself with positive people, their energy and outlook will have a positive effect on you. On the flip side, if you spend your time surrounded by Debbie-Downers, it will only be a matter of time before their negative outlook will begin to rub off on you. Be selective about your inner circle and surround yourself only with people who will elevate you and take you higher.
- Love what you do:
One of the best and most effective ways to rid your life of negativity is to love what you do. If your job/ home/ gym no longer brings you joy or happiness, perhaps it’s time to either improve the situation or is simply move on. Life is too short to settle for mediocrity. Learn to identify when things no longer serve their purpose or make you happy.
I realise that being happy is not exactly a switch that we can turn on and off. I’m also not claiming that I am happy 24 hours a day, 365 days in the year. However, one thing I have learned is that attitude is everything. Two people could be dealt the exact same set of cards, yet choose to deal with it completely differently. These practices have helped me to choose happiness, despite how frustrating, difficult or disappointing the circumstances may be.
What are some of your practices for staying happy? I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below!