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Eight Ways to Make Happiness Happen

Happiness Happens

To us, happiness isn’t so much an attitude as it is an experience, something we can pursue whether we’re feeling positive about ourselves and the world around us, or not. From phone calls to creative collaboration, here are a few actionable ways to make happiness happen.

  1. Play the name game
    When getting acquainted with a grocery store clerk, new coworker, or barista, try learning more about them, whether it’s asking about their hometown, hobbies, or how they take their coffee. It’s a kind of learning that will better help you remember their name, build the relationship, and strengthen your feelings of community.
  2. Make time for the fun you love
    You might find it easiest to create a daily agenda that allocates time for painting, video games, the local bowling league—whatever truly delights you. If strict scheduling isn’t your thing, consider putting your phone, computer, or any kind of digital distraction in a drawer to focus on being present and letting go.
  3. Let a child teach you something
    This summer, my four-year-old nephew gave me a driving lesson. We used his car, a 45-pound, battery-operated Jeep that, at its speediest, clocked in at a whopping 3.75 miles per hour. With my nephew at the wheel, I was able to see the world through his eyes—and all the joy, beauty, and silliness he experiences from the simplest pleasures.
  4. Find peace of mind
    Next time you find yourself pursuing a favorite activity, focus on your senses. What do you taste? How do you feel? The moment you catch your mind drifting, try directing it back to the present. Once you get the hang of being mindful during your favorite activities, you can apply it to other situations—even upsetting ones. You just might be surprised at your ability to remain calm, deal with stress, and find optimism in the face of adversity.
  5. Make a list of the good things
    Making a list of the good things in your life is a surefire way of seeing even the simplest positives as a gift. Plus, it’s a great way to get to know yourself better. You just might come to find out that you’re enamored by Jeff Goldblum tattoos (which are a gift in itself, really).
  6. Exploreate (because creativity is an exploration)
    Sometimes we opt out of starting projects because we believe that they’re not going to meet our expectations, or simply because they’re a waste of time. In these situations, we have to try and look at creative work as an undertaking where even the smallest project is an act of exploring our ideas and emotions and bringing something new into the world.
  7. Call a parent or friend (for no reason)
    Calling your parent or close friend just to talk can bring about the best kind of stories—and laughs. Remember that phase you went through in high school? What about that time your brother wouldn’t stop prank calling Home Depot? Ah, the golden years.
  8. Acknowledge that there can be bad days in a good life
    Consider an existence in which every day was bright, shiny, and hurdle-free. Sounds ideal—or not. We need bad days because they make us stronger, they change us, and on good days, they remind us that we’ve conquered much and survived plenty.