What can’t be found, held, or tasted, but can be made?
Happiness can be an elusive idea to some, and it’s a daily state of life for others. Happiness is also a personal experience that people and animals feel for many different reasons. That being said, I have been, seen, met, lived with, dated, and worked for many people who struggle to ‘be happy’. I think happiness is like making cookies, and if you leave out the sugar, or the baking soda or you don’t put in the right amounts your cookies just aren’t going to be very good.
You need to be doing certain things in your life in order to create an environment where it’s easy to decide to be happy. It’s a real thing you can do, and you deserve to live that way. By looking for and appreciating the things you enjoy you will make the soil of your life ripe for the fruits of happiness. Some people think happiness is an effect of getting something, doing something, etc. It’s a combination of things, and ultimately a series of choices. Sometimes things make you feel ‘good’ in a short term way, but short term happiness is another way of saying temporary. Long term happiness comes from within and is baked carefully like cookies.
- Good food, not just good tasting food. Nutritionally dense foods that you get in the ‘right’ amounts, during ideal periods of the day.
This has deep reasons, clear biological reasons, woo woo unscientific reasons, and effects just more than happiness. The clear biological reasons are that if you are not eating things that are high-quality matter, you are not going to be made of high-quality matter. It takes your body 7 years to recycle itself totally, and you are constantly being made of what you are eating. We could also dip into the hormone interactions that equate to rises and falls in blood sugar level, that will dysregulate your energy and mood and much more if you choose to eat high glycemic foods as a staple. If you are eating too much or too little, well you know what happens, and the myriad of effects don’t point you to feeling good. Food allergies wreak havoc on your body, and can drive autoimmune disorders which sounds crazy, but should be common knowledge. The deeper reasons are the effects it can have on your psyche to be out of control in the way you eat, and the negative feelings that can come with the way we feel about our appearances. The woo woo reasons are that how you feel when you eat your food can change how nutritious it is to you. Napolean Hill said it, my mom used to say it. Don’t eat when you’re really upset. Maybe there was a reason for praying over food.
- Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals effect chemical reactions in your body that regulate all sorts of things for you, if you are lacking or exceeding your vitamin needs the effects are varied. A lack of vitamin C, E, B, and D in particular can be associated with disregulated moods and other symptoms that result in a lack of positivity. I personally had an experience where I was dreadfully enescapably bitter and grumpy for several days. I resolved that this was not normal and I had no real reason to feel this way. I proceeded to consume larger than normal amounts of vitamin C, and within hours I felt like myself again. A lack of vitamin D is linked to depression as well. You should be meeting the needs of your body in these ways daily in order to thrive.
Exercise is so wonderful, I couldn’t imagine life without it. In the early times man needed intense fitness to live and today some see fitness as an extension of vanity. It’s essential to a good, happy life. Not only does ‘exercise’ as a habit across the board add 10 years to your life, but athletes who stop exercising often first feel depression as a result.
Exercise stimulates your body to upregulate things like cardiovascular function, range of motion, bone density and much more. It causes hormone interactions that release feelings in your body to make you feel good. It can be difficult to start, and easy to compare yourself to others, but exercise is based in personal preference you can be doing whatever you want as long as it’s physically challenging, engaging and safe for you to get the effects of exercises. There is no downside.
4. Time to relax, and a strategy for calming the mind
If you are an unfocused person, an overwhlemed person, an intense person, a high-strung person, an angry person, an exhaused person, an ecstatic person, a busy person, or a very lazy person we all need a way to relax the mind. Many people do this by watching screen media like television and movies, some use exercise, some people try to use drinking, or drugs, some use sex. There are ways that ultimately work, and ways that don’t. My choice is meditating, and occasionally video games. You cannot avoid a feel-good, check-out type activity forever. By taking time to decide what you want to use to calm and control your mind, and how much of that you really need you open the doors to a using your time more wisely on more things that will ultimately make you happier, like some of the stuff in this list.
- A hobby you enjoy deeply or a full-blown purpose for your time or life.
Having a reason to get out of bed in the morning is essential. Napolean Hill has many great reasons to have a purpose in life, and without purpose you have nothing to compare your success against. People live longer, accomplish more, and make more money when they have a purpose. Going through life without a direction, and having a purpose for your time is the difference that adds value to what you do and what you accomplish. Many depressed people have lost touch with their purpose, and feel unable to ‘accomplish’.
- Regular movement
Your blood is pumped by your heart, and every other type of fluid made by your body is pumped by movement. Your spinal fluid, and your lypmh fluid are moved by movement. If you are feeling sluggish and stiff, it may be because your fluids are circulating enough. Not only this, but sitting in places too long is bad for your health as we have all known -source- and staying still for longer periods can also cause problems. You likely would not drink a glass of water sitting out for days, if you are not moving around regularly and staying hydrated you may be a glass of water just like that. It is recommended to move around every 20 minutes or so, and as a posture therapist I can tell you without moving regularly that you will have a hard time managing or recovering your posture.
- A positive social outlet
Hanging out with people that don’t make your happy won’t serve you, and neither will hanging out exclusively by yourself. There is a deep human need for connection, and it can be found in a variety of forms. Some of these help our psyche and improve our experience others hurt us over time. For example, excess social media use leads to depression, increased time with technology is associated with poorer behavior. If you argue with someone or a group of people a lot, maybe you shouldn’t be making every minute of your time available to them. Basically do things you like, don’t do things you don’t like, and do it with people you enjoy.
- A well-trained appreciation of delayed gratification
Living in the moment can often make you feel good now, but if you are never acting with tomorrow in mind you are preparing to fail by failing to prepare. Certain lifestyles allow people the ability to turn on a dime, travel, take leisure etc. Most of us need to plan in advance for things, if you get in the habit of planning anything in your life ahead of time, regularly it will save you time, and effort in the long run and make things feel easy. The ability to delay your gratification, and plan ahead is so essential to success. Whether you’re thinking about lunch, vacations, financial goals, relationships, work, personal projects, hobbies, or anything else existing mentally in a bigger space of time relative to the task or goal is going to serve you deeply. Understanding that you can’t have a shiny object now, but that if you achieve x, y, z first you can obtain it leads to a satisfying process and a satisfying result. This is a learned thing, you have to act mindfully to achieve it if you did not obtain it in youth.
9. Hydration (with water)
Water is an inescapable necessity. Sure you get some from food, and maybe there’s a sugary drink you enjoy more. Water effects not only how you feel, think, and function. The overall fluid content in your body alters the way you move. Your muscles squeeze you to increase the pressure in your body so you can keep your shape under load, if your fluid is out of balance not only will exercise seem impossible anyways but you wouldn’t have the physical integrity to perform at your best. Sure maybe you’ll pee more at first, what a drag, but when your bladder returns to normal function it will expand and shrink naturally allowing you to be more comfortable at peak health. 1 glass of water is not enough, 3 pots of coffee is not enough, all the diet soda you can drink is not enough. There’s so much behind this topic and advice, but really just do your best to drink like a gallon of fresh filtered water everyday. If you are thirsty you are dehydrated, many people live chronically dried out and their performance and state of mind suffers immensely.
Some of things things probably sound at least a little annoying, or maybe even impossible. They might be a drag the first day you try, but by putting the right ingredients in your recipe you will find that it is much much easier to claim happiness, and enjoy it in the long time. Much of this is common sense, but if you think I’m sure you’ll be surprised to see how often you really do some of these things that need to be baked daily, fresh. If you put the right ingredients in, you are going to get some amazing cookies. Doing these things for the day, week, or month will probably help a lot. Doing them forever will work forever. Put the right amount of each thing in each day, for the most amazing recipe for happiness(cookies) that will last a lifetime. ps. The Happiness recipe is gluten free.