As promised, I’m going to talk more about how to change our unhappiness into happiness.
I know that seems like a big thing to talk about in one blog post, but there’s only a few things you should keep in mind that will ultimately bring happiness. And from there, we can become greater beings and have a better quality of life!
I’m pretty sure when you think of what will make you happy, it tends to be a personal goal or a materialistic item. Like if I can get that house, or score that promotion, or get into this school, THAN I’ll truly be happy. The reality is, that these things will only give us temporary happiness before we want the next thing. We all have a baseline level of happiness that we feel. This baseline spikes when we get things we want. The real question is how do we raise our baseline happiness.
1.Be a service to others.
This is a surefire way to raise your baseline happiness according to MANY studies. We are social creatures and this is why we have a built in reward system by helping others. Our brains use oxytocin to intensify the feeling we get when we help others. So when we do actions that make others smile, especially our family and friends, our brains reward us for strengthening our social ties.
Everyone thinks that we should help others because they need our help. But the first person you help when you help someone else, is yourself. Having a routine that includes helping others is one of the only ways we can help ourselves. This is why I will shamelessly plug the benefits of becoming a volunteer with Youth Gravity. It’s a team where you create strong social ties with other members and the ultimate goal is to help the greater community. This is the perfect formula to raising levels of happiness. By joining Youth Gravity, you’re helping yourself as well as helping others.
2. Spend money on others
Now we all know that money doesn’t buy happiness, but that’s actually not true. Money will buy you happiness when you spend it on someone else. This is known as prosocial spending.
This statement is true even if you spend a small amount of money on someone. That feeling you get when you give is present no matter how insignificant the purchase may seem. A study shown by Laura Ankin found that even in different countries and cultures, prosocial spending was always associated with greater happiness.
Spending money on others makes us feel good about ourselves and allows us to see ourselves in a positive light. In addition, spending on others create stronger bonds, and people with stronger relationships are happier.
Furthermore, spending money on others becomes an experiential purchase because it’s like buying the experience of someone else’s gratitude. And when you look back on that purchase, you’ll remember how good you felt.
3. Allow yourself to feel what you feel
It gets pretty easy to numb any negative feelings of stress, disappointment, and sadness. I know from experience that when I don’t want to deal with an issue because I know it’ll make me sad, I just eat as much as I can, watch endless Youtube videos, or scroll through Instagram forever just to avoid how I really feel. But in order to feel the good things from gratitude, to contentment, to relaxation. We need to allow ourselves to feel sadness, anger, and frustration. Your emotions will allow you to discover who you are and what you want because it’s how you listen to your heart.
4. Appreciate the present
We all have goals and sometimes they can blind us so much that we don’t even focus on the journey. It’s like we go into autopilot mode until we reach our goal and that is the only time we allow ourselves to be happy. There are so many people around us that spend their time striving for more but in the wrong places. This can be from more money, to a better job, to a faster car etc.
I feel like this sometimes, like if I can get into this program, or live in this city, or have more friends, the list goes on. This is where having more gratitude can combat these thoughts. Just by writing 5 things you’re grateful for can rewire your negative thoughts into positive ones.
Anyways, chances are that when you reach the thing you wanted, you’ll most likely be let down. The key is balance. For example, a person might work 100 hour work weeks for years on end so they can reach a certain position. When they finally reach that position, they might realize that despite all the awards they received and prestige they expected to get, all they see in the mirror is a tired and lonely self. I genuinely believe this happens all the time. To avoid this, our materialistic goals shouldn’t be our only purpose, and we shouldn’t allow them to consume us.
So instead of wishing to be somewhere else, enjoy where you are now because this is where you were meant to be.