By: Thara Prashad
“These are happy days. I’m hoping that the happiness stays. I just wanna be in this state, I’m tryna feel the sun on my face, yeah”. My husband, Jay Sean, recently wrote and released this beautiful song, “Happiness Days.” During quarantine as we listened back, he was pushing our daughter on the swings and we immediately knew that the music video for this song needed to be different. In a time of so much heartbreak, loss, fear and constant emotional ups and downs, he wanted to put out a song that would make people feel good again. Something to make them happy. Something to make them smile.
Why do we find happiness to be so fleeting? It’s here one moment and gone the next? It seems we are all in search of happiness? How do we find it? Where do we find it and most importantly how do we hold onto it? It seems to slip through our fingers so quickly.
As a yoga and meditation teacher, health coach and Karuna Reiki Master, a massive part of my life has become devoted to helping myself and others find their happiness and figure out how to stay in that happy space. One of the greatest lessons that I often share is that our happiness, our peace, cannot be contingent on outside sources. When we begin to understand that, massive shifts can occur. The outside world is always going to ebb and flow. Our family, our friends, they are all going to do things that are outside of our control. So if our happiness is contingent on outside sources, on people, well that leaves a lot at risk. It leaves your happiness in a very volatile state if it can constantly be affected by all of these other sources. So how do we cultivate happiness from within?
Here are some of my favorite tips!
- First we have to get really clear on what makes us happy. Spend some time quietly and ask yourself, “What makes me happy? What truly brings me joy?” So often we are so busy running around in the hustle and bustle of life that we don’t even know what truly makes us happy, let alone making time for it.
- Make time for things that make you happy on a daily basis. These don’t have to be big things like dinners with friends or a fancy vacation to the beach. It’s really about aligning with the little things. One of my favorite daily moments is my coffee in the morning. I look forward to the smell and that quiet first sip. I make sure to get up before my kids in the morning so I can have that little moment to myself. That helps me start my day off happy. I also love starting the day with gratitude. It immediately shifts you into a positive state to receive all the opportunity that a new day brings. Start writing a list of 10 things you’re grateful for every morning. Write it down and watch how you become aware of all the little things in life you have to be grateful for; a warm bed, an invigorating shower, food to nourish your body, your breath… Some of these things seem obvious and we so often take them for granted but when we start noticing all of these little things, everything becomes so much more precious. The more we pay attention to, the more we have to be grateful for!
- Create moments of happiness. The reality is that we have jobs, we have commutes, some of us have kids, we have responsibilities and bills to pay. Of course some teachers would tell you to find joy in ALL of it but I don’t know, sometimes I find that a bit unrealistic. Of course I could sit here and tell you how to find happy in all of those moments, but I will spare you. What I will say is, create your moments. And as you start creating your moments, you will inevitably learn how to create even more moments. So this kind of goes back to #1. Get clear on what your happy moments are. Then find ways to integrate a few of them into your daily life. So I know coffee is one for me, meditating is another, exercise is another, sharing yoga with my kids is another, cooking is another, watching a favorite show with my hubby… So my job is to integrate as many of these moments into my day as I can. Some days there will be more and some days there will be less. But if I can consciously pull these happy moments into my day, making that choice to create happy moments rather than just letting life happen to me, it will make all the difference. Every moment isn’t going to be blissful, but if I can create my moments throughout the day, it will help to keep me filled. And when my happiness bucket is feeling a little too empty, I will know it’s time to refuel and I know what to reach for.
We’ve all had those days where we wake up feeling grumpy or something happens not to plan or we get that email that just puts us into a negative state. And it’s in those moments that we have to choose. We have to decide if staying grumpy is going to serve or hurt our day? We all know the answer but for some reason we often choose to stay grumpy even though that just leads to more frustrating moments throughout the day. And what purpose does that actually serve? So instead of staying grumpy or frustrated or even angry, I choose happiness. I choose to reach into my tool basket of things that make me happy and create the shift. Because, well, the alternative just kind of sucks right? And if we have the choice, why would we choose otherwise?
Get clear on what makes you happy and commit to creating it each and everyday. Everyday may not be blissful but you can create your moments that will fill your cup. And when you find them, stay in that moment and let the good feelings wash over you so you can reach for them whenever you need the reminder. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in and remember that you can always choose happiness. Let your heart swell with gratitude. When your eyes open, let the colors be brighter and the world be just a little bit sweeter. In the words of Jay Sean, “Ain’t life sweet lemonade.”
Make sure to check out our video for Happiness Days and I hope it reminds you of what makes you happy!