According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 14.8 million American adults suffer from major depressive disorder[1]. Consequently, it’s no surprise that there’s an abundance of self help articles related to improving happiness. Therefore I’m not going to pretend to have the know all be all to improving happiness, or that my article is superior to others. Rather I'm just going to present what I've found works for me. In doing so, my hopes are that some of you may find more joy in your lives.

Man depression hoodie

Don't get stuck doing something you don't like

Sometimes improving your happiness means getting rid of the negative circumstances in your life. For a lot of people this may be a job. Most adults working a regular job are going to spend more waking hours with their coworkers than their friends or family. If your work environment is full of people you can’t connect with or lacks fulfillment, it’s eventually going to suck the life out of you, making it difficult to be happy in and outside of work. Therefore it’s crucial that you free yourself from any labor environments that don’t bring you joy.

Don't let money hold you back

If the money is the only thing keeping you at your current job, you probably shouldn’t be there anymore. Money does not equate to happiness, so don’t let it hold you back from finding it. I was in a career that I hated, even though I was earning more than I ever have. Eventually I quit that job without anything else lined up. With all the time I just freed up, I was able to quickly find a job that I enjoyed. My mood brightened and the health of my friendships flourished. Now I’m earning close to the same wages, with much more enjoyment, which is worth way more than any dollar amount. The great philosopher Alan Watts delivers a thought provoking, inspirational speech related to the last two paragraphs! The YouTube video of his narration is provided below.

What makes you itch?

When life throws you lemons, make lemonade

We’ve probably heard this saying more than we can care for, but that’s only because it entails a very powerful message. Sometimes we need to see the negative in our lives, and use it to make something good. People tend to only focus on the negative, but who can blame them? We are designed that way. It’s a survival tactic. If you’re physically unhealthy, your mind is going to draw attention to the fact, in an effort to provoke a change before the condition worsens. People, however, often get stuck on the negative thoughts, instead of viewing their source of unhappiness as a motivational tool. The next time you recognize a negative thought, stop, think about what area of your life your mind is telling you to improve, recognize that it needs improving, and then use it as a motivational tool to change your life. Practicing this way of thinking turns negativity into inspiration, which ultimately cultivates in happiness!

Set up goals

Setting up goals is so imperative to improving your happiness. Once you realize that you’re currently making an effort to change your life for the better, it breaks the power that any negative thought holds over you. You no longer have to feel bad upon having that thought because you can tell yourself the problem is being worked on. Even though it’s so simple, this has proven to be a powerful tool in my life, and has redirected many days from bad to good.

Set aside time to motivate yourself

Spend time at the beginning of your day to speak positivity into your life. Remind yourself of all the goals you’re working towards, and the steps you’ve already taken to improve your life.  This is a simple tactic that no one ever does because we're all too busy, however doing this always uplifts my spirit. Additionally, it initiates a positive thought process that overflows into the rest of your day. 

10 Happiness
Credit: Lucis Caelum

Best of wishes

With the most passion I encourage you: free yourself from unfulfilling careers, don't be tied to a job because of money, turn your negative thoughts into positive motivation, set goals, and speak positivity into your life, because you deserve to have happiness. I hope that upon reading this article, you may find an increase in joy and positivity in your life. Best of wishes.