• Stephanie Hinds

The 8 Simple Steps to Happiness

Having experienced my fair share of bouts with negativity and sadness, and what my thirteen-year-old self thought was depression, I have come to recognize happiness in all forms. More importantly, I have come to understand the little things that can contribute to our overall fulfilment, satisfaction, and happiness. Here, I share with you, 8 simple steps to becoming a happier person and living a happier life.

1. Make a space for yourself, rather, make your space yourself.

A personalized space made to suit your personality, hobbies, and interests is an essential part of all-round happiness. This could be your bedroom, your office, or your car. Whatever space this is for you, it needs to be a place that you can identify with. It is crucial that your space is reflective of you, complete with pictures of your favorite people, reminders of your fondest memories, and pieces of yourself everywhere. It must be a space that, when entered, allows you to connect with happiness.

2. Keep good company.

The people you keep around you have a huge effect on your overall contentment. While some cases are so drastic that the immediate removal of these people from our lives is necessary, there are other options available. Simply becoming more in control of the effect our company has on us can do the trick. Pay attention to how you feel around certain people. If particular crowds make you feel less at ease, and maybe even a bit anxious, either stop hanging around them, or desensitize your emotions prior to meeting up with them. Sometimes, these people are our closest friends or family members. We might enjoy spending time with them, but they can still rub us the wrong way. You have to pick and choose what matters most; happiness, or keeping them in your life. Or, if the answer is both, find equilibrium.

3. Understand the impact of music.

Music brings happiness, when used wisely. Make playlists for times you need to cry, practice your model walk, or rock out to in your room. By controlling what you hear, you control how you feel. If a song that makes you cry all the time comes on, skip it. If the song your lame ex used to sing to you is next on shuffle, skip it. Opt for the upbeat, more light-hearted songs that light a fire within you. Then, burn shit down.

4. Spend time alone and be comfortable doing it.

Some people just cannot stand to be in their own company. This is a sign of an unhealthy dependence on others. Surely, we’ve all been at that place where all we wanted was company, but learning how to be alone is a lifelong skill that will reward you exponentially. Being home alone on a Friday or Saturday night is not the end of the world, and there are one million and two mothers and fathers and full-time workers in the world that would love to exchange places for your lonesome on any given day. So go on a solo shopping trip, watch a couple movies in your basement, or just jam out to your favorite music until you fall asleep. Just make sure that whatever you do, it is a bonding experience for you and you.

5. Practice wellness.

Trust me; I'm no health and food expert. I have poutine and chicken fingers on speed-dial. But at some point, you have to remember that your body has needs too. Catering to these nutritional needs help you to feel much better about yourself, physically and mentally. Eating healthier, getting enough sleep, and the occasional workout (no matter how in shape you are) helps you to feel more energized, which in turn allows you to do more, and ultimately to live more. Substitute a salad for French fries every once in a while. When you’re in dire need of that poutine, you can eat it and enjoy it without feeling like you've just committed the ultimate sin. Remember: everything in moderation.

6. Do good things.

I'm still mustering up the courage to donate blood after hearing about the wonders that it worked, not only for the lucky recipients, but for the souls those who donated blood.

“As soon as I was done, she showed me the bag of blood and told me I just saved a life. Nothing feels better than that,” I remember my friend Paul telling me after he had been to a blood drive.

Doing good things, no matter how small, allows you to feel better about yourself. Smile at strangers, hold doors open for those in front and behind you, and always give up your seat for the elderly. These small tasks can really fuel your purpose as a citizen.

7. Kick pride to the curb side.

Having too much pride can get in the way, and even destroy, a lot of things. Apologize when you’re at fault, admit to being wrong when you’re wrong and my personal favourite “Keep your words sweet in case you have to eat them.” This creates a set of realistic expectations of yourself, allows you to make mistakes, while still teaching you a lesson each time.

8. Acceptance.

When I was 17, I had the genius idea of getting the word "redemption" tattooed on my foot. The idea behind it was that every step we take is a chance to redeem ourselves from things we have said or done in the past. But after a short while, I realized that I didn't have to redeem myself from anything really, and that bygones were bygones. I changed my mind and got "happiness" tattooed on my right foot instead. Because every step we take should be a step in the direction of happiness, and the future is much more important (and interesting) than the past.

This is the ultimate key to the ultimate happiness. You must accept things for what they are. Things like your past, matters that are out of your control and people that are no longer in your life need to be let go of.

Let go.

Move on.

And if you ever feel the need to revisit your past, do so, but only for a brief moment. Send positive thoughts to the people of your history, and then refocus on the people and circumstances of your present. Finding peace can only happen if we make room for it.

So there you have it. The recipe for the most delicious dish of fulfilment satisfaction, and happiness. Bon appetit mon amis!

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