Word has spread fast around the blog world about the new documentary Happy. I finally watched it this past weekend (when I was in a particularly frustrated mood) and it put a lot of things in perspective. I encourage you all to watch it, and discover how people find happiness in their everyday lives. The following are some lessons I learned on how to integrate happiness into my life.
Make Happiness a Priority
Don’t get so caught up in work. Take time to smile and find things that make you genuinely happy. Call that friend you’ve been meaning to call. Take a walk. Cook dinner and watch a movie. Doing something simple every day that brings you joy may really change your overall attitude (and others may notice, too!).
Don’t Wait for the Future to Be Happy
It’s easy to think that we’ll be much happier once we receive a promotion, get our own apartment, have the iPhone 5, or buy the newest designer clothes. This documentary proves that some of the happiest individuals in the world live with much, much less than our modern expectations. We are so often living in the mindset of “what comes next” that we are hardly living in the present moment. A great way to realize your blessings now is to keep a gratitude journal. Concentrating on what you have now will allow you to find happiness in the present.
Find Your “Flow”
The most fascinating thing I learned in this documentary is that people who engage in flow are typically much happier. Flow is a state where one is completely immersed in an activity. You are concentrating on something so intently that you forget about everyday tasks and worries. Examples include participating in sports, practicing musical instruments, drawing, writing and volunteering. It made me realize that I experienced flow during my surf camp this summer, and I’m also going to try to play the piano more often.
Engage in Something Meaningful
An overall theme of Happy was that individuals who are consistently interacting with their communities are happier overall. People that partake in something they find meaningful, something bigger than themselves, are much more likely to find happiness. Smiles are contagious, and spreading those with others can impact the world. Participate in something you believe in — it may be education, the environment, or social justice — then find something within your community to help your cause. Tutor children at the local school, or volunteer at a hospital or animal shelter. Meeting others in your area and working towards a common goal is sure to bring more meaning and happiness to your life.
Have you found your “flow”? Tell us about it in the comments section.