Happy international day of happiness everyone! Today is officially the international day of happiness and so I felt it was a good day to talk about the concept of happiness. A state of happiness is something that most of us strive for everyday, but equally being perfectly zen and serene can feel hard to achieve when life is so manic and busy. We can then get so wrapped up on the stresses and feel guilty about not being happy that we spend lots of time, money and energy on achieving a happy mindset to the point that we forget happiness is often a simple choice. Feeling happy is much more about making a conscious effort to be grateful, focus on the good and reframe your day to see everyday events in a positive light, than it is about a magical series of events that create a mystical sense of happiness. If we rely on these ‘perfect,’ special occasions to feel good then we’re only going to feel good a few times a year, which is a shame really – we should all be looking to find a way to feel good everyday, no matter what craziness is going on around us.

I read this quote the other day and thought it was fantastic – it really sums up everything I want to say: ‘Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.’ Of course there are times in your life when this isn’t the case and it’s not just a simple choice, I totally appreciate and respect that, but for most of us, most of the time it is a choice and we need to find a way to embrace that choice. There’s always a way to flip a situation and find a silver lining, we always gain something from a negative experience, we just need to be understanding enough of ourselves and open enough to find that and focus on it.

The other issue is the waiting for happiness concept. How many times do we all say ‘when this happens I’ll be happy’, this relates to work, relationships, appearance etc and I do it just as much as everyone else, but it never works because the next hurdle always comes up or you meet that goal and then want the next thing. We need to focus on the everyday and find a way to be ok with whatever is happening in that. Not to be overly cheesy but we have to see life as a journey not a destination, because otherwise we’ll be waiting a hundred years for happiness and I promise it won’t come that way!

I think an image of perfection can also get in the way of us really feeling happy. We’re so bombarded with social media, celebrity culture and a constant knowledge of what everyone we know is doing that we can quickly feel unhappy about ourselves or our lives as we think someone else has it better. I’ve written before about my feelings on the negatives and dangers of social media, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but it’s worth noting that the constant tool of comparison that we have access to is pretty tough! It’s much harder to feel positive about your situation if you’re wishing for a second that you were someone else or somewhere else, which we all do sometimes because we all see what our friends and total strangers are up to without knowing how they really feel about it.

I’ve been working a lot on finding a constant sense of balance and happiness in my life recently, I’m certainly an emotional person, so my feelings tend to go round and round like a roller coaster! My career is incredible, I truly love it, but it definitely heightens the sense of ups and downs as there are so many unbelievable moments followed instantly by people trolling or sending really negative messages that brings me right down. I’ve often found excuses (or trays of raw brownies!) to deal with these issues in the past, but at the moment I’m trying to embrace everything for what it is and move on from it rather than hanging on to the stresses. I’ve been reading a lot recently about happiness and have definitely learnt lots that I’d love to share with you:

1. Always reframe every negative situation. Look at it again, analyse it and find the good. Focus on the good, be grateful for it and in time this will help you ignore the bad. This way of thinking takes practice, but I can’t tell you how much it’s helped me.

2. Be kind and understanding of yourself. We’re always so nice to our friends and family, but often very critical of ourselves. Work on losing the judgement and being more compassionate towards yourself because you deserve kindness just as much as everyone else.

3. Do things you love. Find some time every week to do things that fulfil you. Whether that’s a dog walk, a yoga class, a course on something you love, reading a book, having a bath, doing a hobby or watching a series – just do it! We have to feel good in ourselves to be happy.

4. Never compare yourself to anyone else, you never know what they’re really feeling and comparison is always the thief of joy. In this sense, make sure you always rationalise social media, don’t let it bring out your insecurities and jealousies.

5. Do kind things for others. A kind gesture towards someone else is so powerful and always feels good. There’s nothing better than knowing you made someone else happy.

6. Remember that a state of happiness is not attached to a state of perfection, perfection does not exist and happiness can be found in almost every situation if we let go of preconceived ideas of what something should be.

If you want some reading on this then go get The Gratitude Diaries and The Happiness Advantage, both are amazing and have helped me change my perspective on life! Have a lovely day everyone and hope you find some happy moments :)