By: Vanessa Nyawabila, SDSU Chapter Member
As college students, we put a lot of effort into the work we do such as our school work, our jobs, and our relationships with friends and family. But at times, we neglect to put effort into our own happiness. Taking control of your happiness, even in the simplest ways, is essential for creating a balance in life and prevents us from becoming overwhelmed. So, I’ve listed five simple strategies to improve your happiness which will aid you in living your life intentionally.
Simple Strategies to Improve your Happiness
1) Identify Between Short-Term Happiness and Long-Term Happiness
It is important to distinguish between short-term and long-term happiness. It is possible to feel happy now in the short term, while also pursuing your long term goals of happiness, and have the two goals be entirely different. I believe long-term happiness categorizes more as fulfillment in life. For example, it could be creating your own business, being in a certain executive position, getting your research published, getting into a graduate school, etc. What all these things have in common is they take time and effort and are not based on immediate feelings. It is imperative to separate the two so you do not set up unreasonable expectations towards your short-term happiness so you can still feel fulfilled. Speaking of fulfillment….
2) Decide What Fulfills You
You can only be happy if you identify the things in your life which make you happy. So, it is time to really start buckling down and assess your personal goals and values. What has worked for me is to create vision boards which allow me to outline my goals in life since I can see them visually. There is something about writing things out that puts things into perspective, and makes you more accountable. I personally use a Passion Planner to outline my goals for the week, month, and year, and it has been the greatest addition to my schedule.
The best part about writing things down is you get to check things off when you complete them, and you are able to look back and see all the progress you have made.
3) Appreciate the Small Moments
As stated previously, it is important to distinguish between short-term and long-term goals. However, not all happiness needs to originate from something large. We often forget to cherish the small moments. Small get togethers with friends, the first sip of coffee, a good night's rest (wow, rare), are all little sources of happiness we often do not appreciate, or do not dwell on when passed.
But to improve our overall happiness, we should pay more attention to the little things that make us smile and that will allow our happiness to linger longer.
4) Be Aware of Your Mind
I have caught myself numerous times thinking negatively, or worrying about things that haven't happened. Doing so, ruined my current mood and was not beneficial. It is important to be mindful, look at your thoughts and feelings from afar and don’t let yourself seep into thoughts that cloud you. It takes a lot of practice, but being able to pull yourself away from your feelings and observe your thoughts will ultimately improve your overall happiness.
5) Get Involved in an Activity that Lets You Clear Your Mind
No matter your outlook on life, rough days will happen. When those days do occur, it is important to have something that allows you to get through those tough times. In other words: a coping mechanism.
In an effort to contest your feelings when you are down, explore activities that allow you to get out of your “funk.” Reading, taking a nap, watching netflix, or exercising can all be ways to clear your mind and change your mood. The important thing is to be proactive when you are feeling down, and know ways to quickly get out of that mood so you do not engulf yourself into a bad mindset. Find your “thing” and let it help you become an overall happier person.
The best advice I have learned over the past years is this: Never let your failures or rejections dictate your future successes. It is essential to always keep striving for your goals and your desires. As science ladies, never stop yourself from doing what you want to do because you feel you are unqualified and just go for it! Everyone deserves happiness, so let’s get to it!