“So here’s what I’ve realized – if I wish to be happy, I need to put in some effort. I’ve been sort of experimenting recently.”
As per how my life has been till now, I found that happiness occurred naturally. Which means that I didn’t need to try to be happy. Instead, it simply happened.
However, as I’m growing up and sort of watching my life transform, I’ve realized that happiness isn’t eternal. It comes and goes and doesn’t last too long, like an excited bunny.
In short, I need find tiny “bursts” of joys to cheer myself up and make happiness stay. Call it refilling, maybe (it sounds odd, though).
Anyway, I thought I’d rather share a bunch of activities I’ve been doing. Remember that these aren’t extraordinary.
Still, what I wish to convey by writing this post is that if you look around and find what really kindles your heart, you can gather enough excuses to smile. You’d realize how merrier life can really be.
I’m sharing this only because I want you to search for bits of joys, no matter what you’re going through. For now, stealing happiness from moments instead of waiting for it appears to be a great option, too.
Here’s a quick list of things I’ve been doing to be a bit happier (than usual)
1. Browsing comics
I got this habit after I randomly came across a few fantastic artists. Their art gradually pulled me towards comics. Any form of art can soothe your soul, and yet, comics are something that most of us can relate ourselves to.
Some comics may inspire me, others would help me take life less seriously. Here are some artists I genuinely feel you should follow:
- Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than
- 4amShower by Guy Kopsombut
- Shen Comix by Shenaniagansen
- Sarah Scribbles by Sarah Anderson
- Dilbert by Scott Adams
Here’s a list of some more comic artists you may want to get to know, just in case you’re hungry for more.
2. Playing electronic music
Actually, any kind of music that can make me tap my feet give me goosebumps.
I play music whenever I feel like it – in the shower, before sleeping, while writing. Earlier it used to distract me, but nowadays it’s much like a pleasant companion. I’d share a playlist soon maybe.
As for now, I’ve been listening to Pray for Me, Fire and Careful on repeat.
3. Being over-kind
This simply means that instead of walking around with a straight face, I use “thank you” often, compliment people, and say things that spread goodness.
At the same time, it also about staying empty of any bad feelings like hatred or jealousy. The world feels like a family.
4. Living with my people
I met my school friends, watched horror movies with my cousin at midnight, and talked about the old days with my mother.
These are ordinary things – but not really.
We sort of start taking for granted what’s given to us. Now, I may suck at keeping a constant, healthy connection with them – but I need to remind myself that they’re the ones who matter the most.
5. Using Pinterest
It’s the one app that I almost got addicted to.
Pinterest has great informative and entertaining content that’s hard to resist. I open Pinterest, enter a topic I like, and keep browsing images related to it for a long time.
I suggest that you try it for inspiration and browsing different stuff in your arena. Or perhaps, for exploring your hobbies and interests.
6. Eliminating chaos
I shut down the television. I kept my laptop closed for a week, during vacation. Then, I’m trying to use my phone less.
Occasionally, I get frustrated by the way technology affects us. I try getting rid of it for a while until I feel better again. It pays off to get rid of screens and cords for some time.
Good riddance, even though temporary.
7. Exploring surroundings
I climbed hills, took different roads to places, and rode slowly on during bike rides. I tried to watch everything with new eyes.
It’s like you see the same things but through a different perspective. As if you were a tourist in your own land.
By doing so, I become aware of the tiniest details of my surrounding and explore more.
8. Kindling the nostalgia
I watched old episodes of Swat Cats, Captain Planet, and Road Runner. For a moment it felt like I’d gone back to being a child again.
I went to places associated with my childhood memories, in my hometown. I opened years old notebooks and listened to songs I used to love as a kid.
That felt like pressing a rewind button and seeing the flashbacks. I could sense the nostalgia in my blood. Memories flow in our veins, it seems.
9. Observing tiny stuff
I pay attention.
Instead of merely seeing, I observe.
The cities, people’s concerns, and daily events. My head is full of questions. I crave for answers.
Collecting bits from surroundings helps me learn. I soak the details about the world around me like a sponge. Is that useful? I’m not sure, but it helps me understand the world better in some way.
10. Humor and jokes
“Everyone should have a friend like you. Life gets easier,” a friend of mine commented as he laughed at some joke I had said.
Honestly, that’s one of the most priceless things I’ve heard recently. I had silently been craving to listen to that. I wouldn’t mind making a fool of myself to make my people laugh.
It allows me to be myself. I feel liberated when I see people laugh. Humor is like a flawless medicine that heals both the giver and the receiver.
11. Writing more
I’m happier when I’m writing.
There’s a thing about opening up my thoughts, even if only to myself. I gain a clarity about life. At certain times I express myself through it.
If I can gather courage, I’d share something really personal. Or I share what I know would help someone out there.
My reasons to write are many.
12. Clicking pictures
I was recently browsing through some of my old photos and I couldn’t help getting astounded. A lot has changed over years.
I’ve been taking candid photos and videos over the years. I don’t do for the sake of Instagram or any other reason. I wish to treasure meaningful memories and that’s all.
It’s one of the best things I’ve done. I may not always click lots of pictures, but I try to. It feels good to look back at the gone times to recollect the old memories.
It’s both enlightening and maddening.
For me, thinking encompasses daydreaming, introspecting and even pondering mindlessly – but doing this keeps me on track. Other times it’s purely useless and causes anxiety.
But it’s responsible for my saving my sanity when I feel lost.
In the past few months, I read books about philosophy, design, and business, watched a couple of those popular TED Talks, and read blogs related to my industry.
I become curious about certain topics and dived into them. Else, I read stuff without any purpose and keep with me what’s essential.
Learning pays off in the long-term, I’ve realized. I never doubted it.
15. Abandoning comfort zone
I traveled alone in new cities, tried being social, and every possible thing which felt like a limitation or hindrance to my growth. Maybe I’ll cover this whole topic in an upcoming post. You can subscribe to the email newsletter in the meanwhile to get new updates.
— Vishal Ostwal (@vishalostwal9) May 16, 2018
16. Doing nothing
I was in my hometown where the air was pleasant. Staring at the clear sky, I saw 6 shooting starts. “Forget the world – this is life!” I thought.
Pauses are effective.
I’ve found it’s easier to pretend to be busy and convince yourself that you’re working hard – but it takes a toll. When I take breaks, I come back stronger and better.
Is that all?
For now, it is.
It’s rare that I share stuff like this but I felt like doing it today. In case you’re looking for some more ways to be happier, then you can download my eBook, Little for free (no newsletter and stuff).
Finally, I sincerely wish that you look out for more opportunities that light up your life. My life isn’t ideal either, but as I said, I’m experimenting.
That’s what we’re all doing, right? All the best.