If you recall Einstein was responsible for the theory of relativity. He said, “Time is relative.” It also turns out that some other findings by Isaac Newton lead to that discovery. Now, I know little about theses theories, little about astronomy, and much less about physics. I do know one thing, however. The more I searched for and longed for happiness myself, the more I learned about where to find it. You see, happiness is also relative. It is relative to the observer who is measuring it. It is relative to what sort of ruler you are using to gauge where it is you want to go.
For me, the happiness ruler was finding an equilibrium. It was finding a balance between work and play. It was figuring out how to be content as a constant searcher. It was learning how to know and trust myself, and make up my own definition for happy.
Now I recently, after ten years of searching, found a profession that I love and I am good at. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist who still gets to incorporate an enjoyment for writing and research into the profession. I continue to gain insight and education by some of the best in the field. Once that part of the ruler was settled, much more seemed to be measurable.
What I’ve learned in the Search for Happiness:
1. Self- Help books or articles that proclaim to know “How to Find Happiness” are shining moments like the motivational video that I posted last night. They give you a boost to start your engine. Once the engine starts, it is up to you to find that path. No book, article, or moment can get you there.
2. Learning how to live in the now has increased my happiness significantly. This is not because I am not a planner. I plan. In fact I have my planner scheduled out to May of 2014. Learning how to live in the now required that I do one thing at a time. If I am eating, I eat. If I am writing, I write. If I am watching a movie, I watch that movie. I noticed that decreasing the busy-ness that I had created in my life, decreased anxiety and increased enjoying life’s moments.
3. Bad Habits replaced with good ones. I was in my old hometown this October when a girlfriend of mine mentioned that she had stopped giving her kids milk because of all the hormones. This got me thinking a lot. Although it is difficult to ever be perfect, I made some very important changes in regards to eating more organic, taking more vitamins, and exercising. Exercising releases dopamine and (at least for me) eating organic and getting the proper vitamins has helped significantly.
4. Taking up a hobby that resembles nothing close to work. For me, I began DIY. I had a passion for crafts and art growing up, so I wanted to bring that back into my adult life. Now I enjoy my job and writing, but it was important for me to pick a hobby that allowed my mind to get as far away from thinking as possible.
5. I always used to say never instead of never saying always. It has been important in my search for happiness to learn about balance in all areas. I stopped (most of the time) using words that imply all or nothing such as never and always. Sometimes I slip up and sometimes I don’t. I allow myself grace to not eat organic sometimes or to miss days at the gym. Staying consistent leads to happiness more than extreme life changes of short duration.
Finding happiness now is relative, because you will journey through figuring out how to be happy over and over again. And now will be relative to where you are in your life and what you are doing. Cheers to finding your happiness now and constantly enjoying the ride.
The Cynical Therapist came to be when two therapists became friends. SoulMates or Kindered Spirit Animals... Call us what you will.... We are two bad*** chics Licensed to teach you how to grow into your full potential and add some humor along the way.
Laurie Wilson and Elle Anzalone are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in the Huntington Beach, CA area.