Hello to all readers. I am a board-certified medical doctor, who sees patients day in and day out in my outpatient practice, treating ailments, while also opening lines of communication between patients and doctor. My goal is to do this for more than just the patients in the office – it is to reach people everywhere – like you, reading this now – and to spread better understanding of common medical topics, inspire with important pep talks, and dole out medical advice on a larger scale than the one-on-one office visit. I’m looking to humanize the face of medicine.
I know I’ve tackled the issue of happiness before, in my 8 Ideas for Staying Happy, in which I focus on activities one can partake in to stay happy. Keeping busy certainly helps us achieve this, as can the right mix of unwinding.
But this time around, I’m focusing on the inside. We all have a happy person there – sometimes buried deep down, other times closer to the surface, waiting for that slight tug. Our goal should be finding that person and pulling them up to the top. After all, if you only live once, why not find the best person you can be, and right now? Put that search at the top of your priority list. Start today. When you find her, or him – when you feel at ease with your truly happy self – that’s when you achieve greatness. Ultimately, happiness is in your hands.
The following is a compilation of 8 ways I find key in finding the best you on the inside, and bringing her or him out to life. I worked hard to put these together – to put together a list of what truly mattered. They may not work for you – I certainly don’t claim to have all the right answers – but I know that sharing the beautiful advice I’ve collected along the way – advice I myself follow – keeps me grounded. And happy. I use the list myself, all the time. It helps me focus, and look ahead, and I hope that it somehow speaks to you, too.
8 Ways of Finding the Happy Person Inside You
#1 Spend time with those you don’t need to impress.
We’ll start with one that’s quite easy to do. Make a list of the people in your life that don’t require anything fancy. Yes, those ones. It can even be just one person. You probably already know who I’m referring to, in your head – these are the people who make things easy. You would literally enjoy each others’ company stepping out in pajamas, disheveled hair, and unbrushed teeth. Those are the people you focus on. Surround yourself with them.
#2 Turn negative into positive.
We all have negatives we can harp on- and they bring us down. Allow those negatives to lift you up instead. Think of all the amazing things you have going for you. Focus in on those. Look at the positives, even if it starts out a situation you wouldn’t consider that way. There is always silver lining, somewhere, you just need to think of it and stay there. An easier way to so this is by imagining yourself a warrior – someone fighting through even the toughest of times. I had a patient the other day who was battling cancer at 30. Cancer at 30! The specifics don’t even matter here, just the fact that she was happy – those kinds of interactions really put matters into perspective. I don’t mean to draw this example to minimize your own struggles. I think we all have them – we call them our issues – and all issues are relative. But we must put forth our best efforts to adopt a positive outlook on the one life we’re living so that we make every day count.
#3 Lift others up.
Truly, a point I believe to be crucial in finding self-happiness. Lifting others up is the bread and butter of being a better you. Why wouldn’t you? Have you tried it? Try it now. Think of something nice to say to the next person you bump into and I promise you, their smile will do wonders to your insides. When you nurture kindness to others, and exude warmth – and when you truly mean it – you allow the best person on your inside to bloom.
#4 Give yourself second chances.
Be forgiving – not just to others but also yourself. You are human. We are all human. We make mistakes. We say the wrong things. Take time out of your day for self-reflection, to fully think over what took place – the true substance – and make decisions accordingly. Do you need to right something you may have done wrong? Do you need to think a decision through? Do you want to work on something you could do better? Never regret, because you are human, and humans make mistakes. But do consider righting your wrongs. You can almost always fix a mistake. As for those you can’t – use them as learning tools – an experience platform from which failure turns into future success. Once you’ve put in that effort, look forward and don’t dwell.
#5 Don’t sweat the small stuff.
This is not just a cliche. Even if something seems huge, turn it small. You may need readjustment, when you consider the angle at which you’re looking at things. Remember perspective. And relativity. That’s how illusions works, after all – think David Blaine. What happened earlier in the day may mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, especially when you’ve taken a step back, and looked at it from an entirely different angle.
Consider those who make up your circle (go back to #1 for those who make you feel comfortable) and decide if they’re worth the drama. Keep busy, and do this by engaging in things that you enjoy. Take a step back, consider life on a grander scale. Are the little things really worth your aggravation? Wouldn’t it just make you happier to look past them? Isn’t it time you looked away and smiled? Sometimes, just placing a smile on your face can actually make you happy. Go ahead, try it.
#6 Engage in activities that you enjoy.
From your professional life to your family life to your free time, do the things you love to do. Keep busy. Busy time allows you to avoid dwelling in negative places. Doing this doesn’t have to translate into work- keeping busy can be doing something relaxing- like yoga, or reading a book, or taking a bubble bath. Just stay in the moment and enjoy the activities you choose to partake in.
This is an extension of self-reflection, which we all need once in a while. It means we need to take time out of our busy schedule to look within, to reconsider all that takes place in our life, and decide if it’s going as planned. This is the perfect time to reassess what may not be working, or what needs change. It can mean making a list of priorities you must focus on to get to where you want to be. Whatever is important to you, take time out to think that over, to recalculate, and to regroup. It’s ok to make change, take on a different plan, or just be content with the path you’re already on. But make sure to check it every once in a while, to ensure you’re in your happy place doing it.
#8 Be you.
I heard a quote the other day, and immediately connected to it, “Don’t turn your authenticity in for approval.” No one does you like you do. Embrace the you. It may sound silly, but I don’t actually think you can achieve true happiness unless you’re being yourself. Love that person. Sometimes that person may need a little change after regrouping (see #7). That’s ok -a little introspection never hurt anyone, and, you’re still you- only better. Also, remember that not everyone will like you. Not everyone will support you, either, or care. What matters most is that you are liking you, you are supporting yourself, and you are comfortable with it all because you are being yourself.
Remember, most importantly, that we don’t all fit in a box. We are all different people, and our diversity is what makes living beautiful. Find your happy place, and live there.