• Emma Eggleston

How To Be Happy: A Facetious Ten-Step Guide

Updated: Dec 7, 2020

Happiness is what we all want, right? Then, you might ask yourself, “Why are there so many people who are depressed, grumpy, sad, and discontented in this world?”

Sure, our world is, at times, a very dark place, but I refuse to believe that the circumstances of our society are really the root of our unhappiness. Rather, I believe that our unhappiness is the root of the unideal circumstances in this world. Let me explain.

Humans in their endless desire for more have become greedy and selfish driving them to a point where they are never satisfied no matter how much wealth they may acquire or how much they have accomplished. This greed and selfishness are what causes people to do what they know is wrong and harmful to others in order to get themselves ahead.

Therefore in order to combat the unhappiness epidemic, we need to consider how we can reduce greed and selfishness. Additionally, we need to find and rely on non-material things to give us joy instead of our possessions or bank statements.

I’ve compiled a subjective ten-step guide to happiness that is in no way guaranteed to work for you or for everybody. However, I hope that you will consider practicing some of these ideas in your own life as they have greatly helped me to personally become a happier person.

happy teens laughing outside

Step One: Focus On Becoming Instead Of Doing

So many of us spend all our time and energy throughout our lives trying to do this or that. We have a list of goals we want to accomplish whether we are conscious of them or not and we work day in and day toward those goals.

For example, we focus on getting a college degree. We focus on earning a certain amount of money in a year. We focus on being promoted, winning accolades, or gaining a certain follower amount.

Instead of focusing on these tangible goals, I believe our lives would be enriched if we focused on who we are becoming as people. In place of spending all of our time and energy trying to do things that others can see, let’s try to become kinder, more thoughtful individuals on the inside.

We can learn to value ourselves and others for more than what we have done by training our minds to think about how we can help others, how we can love others, and how we can put others before ourselves.

Most people, if asked, would probably say that they would like to become a kinder or more generous person, but that can’t happen unless they put in the effort to become a kinder or more generous person, by practicing kind and generous acts every day until it becomes second nature.

Some might say, doing good things leads to becoming a good person by the theory of habit. Although that is probably true for some, there are flaws in that theory. If your heart isn’t into whatever good deeds you are doing, then it isn’t doing you any good personally and it’s not going to make you any happier. You need to actually change your priorities to those of compassion and kindness and do the good things in order to become a better person.

volunteers building a house

Step Two: Learn To Be Grateful

If you’re reading this, you’re a pretty lucky person.

It means you have access to an electronic device of some sort, access to the internet, and enough time on your hands to read a post on how to be happy.

A large amount of the world’s population don’t have those three things let alone the ability to read, access to fresh drinking water, or reliable income to provide for basic necessities. When you stop to think about that reality, it does really make you feel a little more grateful, doesn’t it?

As humans, we rarely do that though. We almost never stop and think to ourselves, “Wow, I’m so lucky to have a bed to sleep in tonight,” or “I’m glad to have indoor plumbing.” Instead, we too often think things like, “I wish I had better clothes to wear,” or “I wish I could afford a vacation home like the neighbors.”

Then our thoughts lead us to form an attitude of discontentment and soon we start to believe we are unlucky instead of very, very lucky which we are.

Start each day by writing down one thing you are grateful for. Maybe even consider posting it on social media to share your gratitude with the world. Who knows- you could start a change reaction and others might follow your lead. Even if you don’t though you’ll be in the process of changing your perspective on your own life to something much more positive.

a girl writing a thankful list

Step Three: Find Something That You Love And Spend The Rest Of Your Life Doing It

The majority of the adult world is stuck doing jobs they don’t love for reasons I don’t quite understand. Maybe it’s because they are simply stuck in a pattern of ingratitude or they just don’t really like doing any sort of activity that requires effort, but I think it’s because no one told them that doing something you love is more important than doing something that will make you loads of money.

Lots of people think, "I’ll go into medicine or business so I can make good money", but as they start to take classes in those fields they realize they don’t enjoy studying it all. Then, their work ethic goes down and they fall behind some of their peers who actually enjoy what they're doing. Ultimately, they settle for positions they didn’t aspire to have in the first place and learn that it would have been better to pursue something they enjoyed even if it wasn’t guaranteed to make them as much money because as it stands they are not making as much money as they hoped and stuck dreading every second of the workweek.

If you’re young, make the decision right now to not make the same mistake as many others have. Find what you really love to do and do it. If you’re a little older and already into your field, remember that it’s not too late for a second act. You might be able to use your degree and your experience to actually get a job you like in ways you just can’t imagine right now.

As Billy Joel once said, “If you’re not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.”

girl working happily

Step Four: Find People To Love

I believe the world sometimes feels like such a lonely place because in Western culture we are all waiting for someone else to love us before we start loving others.

We want someone else to make the first move in a relationship. We want a friend to initiate a hangout. We want our parents to do things that will make us feel valued and important. We want people to reach out to us and invite us to things, but we don’t feel like inviting others.

Can you see where the dilemma is? Everyone is waiting for someone else to make them feel less lonely and so everyone is stuck in a rut.

Decide today that you are going to be a catalyst. Instead of waiting for someone to be your friend or to show you love, reach out and show love to others first. Trust there are people out there who need and want your love. All you have to do is give it to them. You might even get some love given back to you. If not. you still did the right thing.

People say they don’t mind being alone. They put on a tough act and pretend that they don't need a support system, but that’s not true. That’s just a facade people put on so they don’t get hurt. Reach out to others and let yourself be vulnerable because you do need friends and you need family too whether it’s the family you were born with or the family you chose.

teen girls laughing and hugging

Step Five: Seek Therapy If You Need It

We all have demons. Sometimes the mind can be a scary place. Anxiety and depression are on the rise, especially among young people.

If you have some deep underlying things you need to work out, seek out therapy. Talking things out can be a big help. Plus, therapists can help you learn to deal with those feelings of sadness and panic that you might have trouble controlling.

If you feel therapy would be helpful, talk to your family doctor today and they can help point you in the right direction.

teen girl in therapy

Step Six: Be Healthy

If you eat right, sleep well, and exercise often, you’ll start to feel better emotionally as well as physically. Our bodies and minds are closely intertwined and in order for both of them to be at their best, we need to give them our best.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can never skip a day at the gym or eat a brownie sundae again. Everything in moderation!

family on a walk

Step Seven: Listen To Music That Makes You Feel Good

Music and art in general can help us feel happy. Click here for a list of songs that are sure to boost your mood. Maybe even have a little dance party by yourself.

teen girls smiling and listening to music

Step Eight: Find Hobbies

"Hobby" is a word I never really liked. It sounds like a word that should be used only to describe activities Girls Scouts do to receive iron-on badges, but alas it's the only real word used to describe activities that we do just for the sake of doing them.

Find something unrelated to work that you can do to use your creativity and talents on a regular basis. It could be gardening, painting, writing poetry, or playing a musical instrument. It could even be writing your own blog! Whatever it is it should be something that you can really look forward to doing when you come home from a long day of classes or work and something that gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment even though you are just doing it for kicks.

And no- watching T.V. and scrolling through social media don’t count as hobbies. Here is a list of hobbies to check out if you need some inspiration.

girl painting pottery

Step Nine: Eliminate Stressors In Your Life

Are you a constant procrastinator? Is your house always a mess? Do you need to take a step back from working as much as you because you just can’t handle it?

There are certain things in life that stress us out that we can’t control, but there are other stressors in life that we do have control over and we could eliminate if we wanted to. Identify what those stressors are that you can control and do something about it. Stop procrastinating, clean up the house, and ask to cut back your hours if you need to.

young people lying on the grass

Step Ten: Learn To Love Yourself

There is no one on this planet just like you. You are unique and have special traits that the world needs you to use to bring joy and to help others.

Stop comparing yourself to others and learn to appreciate what makes you, you!

Spend time doing things that make you feel joy and spend time every week doing some intentional self-care activities.

heart hands over the sunset

In your pursuit of happiness, remember that everyone has bad days, or bad weeks, and even bad years. However, life is much more enjoyable when you look on the bright side. Just take every day one day at a time, adopt a Hakuna Matata mindset, and love others. Sooner or later, you’ll probably start to feel a little happier. If not remember this was a facetious ten-step guide. Happiness looks and feels different for every person.