As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that sometimes it takes effort to feel happy – or to find happiness. As we age, we experience more tragedies, more heart ache and more loss around us. Likewise, if you struggle with mom or wife or female guilt, your sense of happiness reduces drastically! So, perhaps it’s natural that as we learn how to make it through the rough seasons we face, we also need to find ways to recalibrate ourselves to navigate back toward happier selves, too. I’ve discovered that finding ways to be happy is an essential part of aging gracefully and finding more balance in life.
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I’ve walked this walk personally in my own life. I lost myself during my 40s in what I now call a season of grief, so I know what it’s like to have to work at finding my happiness again. But as a parent of 3 kids who are now teens and young adults, I’ve also had to parent kids in their own season of sadness. I’ve come up with some ideas that have worked for me (and for my kids) in the past. Happiness doesn’t always come to you – sometimes you have to look for it! These are my 5 tips for taking the conscious effort to find happiness again:
Or 14 days! Or 30 days! I had one friend who took a photo every single day for 365 days! Take photos of things that make you happy… things that make you smile… and put them into a “Happy Album” on your phone. Maybe it’s a pretty sunset. Perhaps you see Fall leaves on a sidewalk. Maybe the foam in a fancy cup of coffee looks perfect. Maybe it’s as simple as a great parking space at a crowded store. Sometimes a sunny day is enough to make me smile!
2. Share your happy photos on social media!
Or text them to a family member or a friend. Start a conversation with others (on social media or privately by text or direct message). Let your happy images uplift someone else. Be the one who spreads cheer. Be the one to make someone else smile. When you start taking notice and observing the little things in life (and appreciating them) you will become more aware of other things in your life that make you happy.
3. Read a happy book!
Check out the book 14,000 Things to Be Happy About! I found this book several years ago when I had a child who was suffering through a season of sadness. We created a before bed routine where my child held a highlighter pen and highlighted a few things every night before bed. The hope was to help replace sad thoughts with happy ones prior to falling asleep. It became a routine that I think both of us truly began to enjoy as we spent 15-20 minutes every evening on the little things that make us smile.
You can start with a blank, Notebook Journal. Or you can try something like The One-Minute Gratitude Journal. I truly believe that something changes in your mind and in your heart when you start recognizing even small things that are so easy to take for granted!
5. Make someone else happy!
Give a compliment to a friend – or to a stranger! One of my favorite things to do is to pass out nuggets of happiness as I run errands around town. If I see a woman who looks gorgeous in a purple top, or a cashier hands me change and her nails are stunning, or maybe I see someone with a cute hairstyle, I love to tell her she looks fantastic! Have you ever tried that? It makes me smile. It makes her smile.
It’s like handing someone a small dose of happiness in their day! It’s hard to be unhappy when you are making other people smile!
Tell me what makes you happy! How do you find your happiness again if you’ve gone through a season of life that includes sadness? How do you get your smile back? How do you get yourself back? Comment below and share your best tips with me!