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Lindsay is a creative with a passion for a mindful and purposeful life.  Her photography is inspired by nature and color.  She shares her thoughts, passions, and interests on her blog, From Summer Breeze Lane.

Happiness is a Side-Effect

"Live, breathe, be in the now, and happiness will find you!"

 Feelings are like clouds.  They come and go...

Feelings are like clouds.  They come and go...

What happens when you make happiness the goal?  It has the potential to leave you feeling sad, frustrated, and definitely not happy.  There is a trend of happiness challenges taking over the internet by storm.  These lengthy challenges require intense focus, and in my opinion, are unrealistic.  What happens when people “fail” at the challenge?  They may feel even worse than when they began the challenge.  Happy people know that you cannot be happy all of the time. Focusing on pursuing happiness will likely be counterproductive.   I am proposing a different idea.  Shift the focus to allow happiness to be a natural side-effect.  Here are 10 ideas to focus on instead:

1)      Stop evaluating how happy you are.  You have to really live, connect, and be present.  When you are thinking (or obsessing) about being happy, you are not actually living.  You have to really live first to be happy!

2)      Recognize and accept that your feelings are like clouds.  They come and go.  What would happen if you tried to hold onto and keep a cloud?  Some clouds are happier than others, but if you struggle to keep a happy cloud what will happen?  You’ll ruin the cloud.  Recognize that when you feel sadness, it’s okay to feel sadness.  Feelings are not permanent. 

3)      Be grateful for what you do have, and not what you are missing or need.  Focusing on what you need in order to be happy will just make you feel worse!

4)      Do not base your happiness on conditions.  Yes, we would all love to live on a tropical beach somewhere, but this is not required to be a happy person.  Avoid labeling, and making associations that you will feel happy if or when something happens.

5)      Find joy in the little things.  A squirrel on a nearby tree?  The birds chirping?  A warm breeze? Take all of these moments in!  Open up your eyes and connect to the beauty, wonder, and magic all around you. 

6)      Keep your mindset positive!  If you don’t have the best day, don’t beat yourself up about it.  If you make a mistake, don’t let it impact how you feel about yourself. 

7)      Spend time doing what you love.  Love playing the guitar?  Play it!  Love painting?  Paint!  Love yoga?  Yoga on! 

8)      Focus on love, and surround yourself with love.  Feel the love everywhere you go.  Treat other people and the world with love and kindness. 

9)      Recognize that you matter.  Recognize that you are a part of this universe.  Feel your connection.  Know in your heart that the universe would have an empty spot without you in it. 

10)   Be spontaneous.  Let the moment guide you.  Flow with the river of life.  Too much planning means you are overthinking.  Too much thinking means you aren’t really living and experiencing.

 

Remember that you cannot chase after happiness.  It would be like chasing after a butterfly.  Let the butterfly come to you.  Live, breathe, be in the now, and happiness will find you!

Happiness is a Side-Effect (as featured on Elephant Journal)

Happiness is a Side-Effect (as featured on Elephant Journal)

The Illusion of Control: Surrender to the Universe