By Kristy Oconnell
Happiness is a really difficult topic to discuss, mainly because we all achieve happiness in different ways. Fortunately, I realized this right after I sat down to write, so I was able to take a step back from writing.
I had to disconnect myself from my own “happiness factors,” so that I could attempt to create a universal recipe for happiness that can apply to anyone.
Is there such a thing as complete, 100 percent happiness? When was the last time you were truly happy? Are you happy right now? I happen to believe that it is definitely possible to feel completely happy, but I also think that most of us have not experienced such fortune – for long periods of time at least.
There are many questions that I asked myself when it came to interpreting happiness, like “Can you feel stressed and happy at the same time?” If you can feel stressed and happy at the same time, are you truly happy? Could you be happier than you are right now? And if so, how can you reach that point?
Anyway, I looked everywhere for this recipe to happiness, and somehow it all came to me when I found a poem that I wrote in tenth grade. It goes like this:
“Look up to the seemingly boundless sky.
Treasure its beauty as the clouds pass by.
Take a look around, breathe in the fresh air.
Appreciate the breeze that flows through your hair.
Listen for the inspirational sounds of life.”
And disregard every bit of strife. Embrace the path, in which you lead For it is solely happiness that you need.
After reading this poem, it occurred to me that you know you’re happy when you wake up, go outside, and everything around you appears wonderful: the people, the weather, the architecture, life in general. But how can we create these feelings? It may seem strange to think that you can teach yourself to be happy, but it is definitely possible. You just have to be more aware of yourself. With that said, I came up with a list of things that you can do to be an overall happier person:
Smile often: Not only is it attractive to other people, but studies show that it is possible that smiling can be a cause – rather than an effect – of happiness. Charles Darwin wrote in 1872,“The free expression by outward signs of an emotion intensifies it.”
Laugh: Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. A little laughter a day can legitimately keep the doctor away. According to helpguide.org, laughter helps to protect the heart, relax the whole body, boost the immune system, and triggers the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
Recognize the little things: By taking note of the little things around you, like smiling at your friends, helpful gestures, politeness, or even just further acknowledging the cute little cats all around campus, you will be happier for it.
Do things that make you happy: Everybody needs some time to himself or herself. By spending a little time each week to do what makes you happy, you are taking time to release the stresses and obstacles that have burdened you throughout the week.
Give Love: Appreciate those around you, and the love that you receive from your friends, family, and significant others. By showing your appreciation and love for those around you, you will not only feel good about yourself, but you will be rewarded with love and appreciation in return.
No matter what stage of happiness you have managed to reach, you can always be happier.
The recipe is simple.