Happy Hacks for Life’s Humps
Since today marks the first day of being crutch-free after seven long weeks of hobbling around on them to heal from my second hip surgery, I thought I'd reflect on some happiness routines and mindsets I have used in order to get through my small little struggle. Having two surgeries in your first two years of college is never super ideal, but somehow these setbacks and struggles in life can teach us really valuable lessons about ourselves and can truly help us to see a greater purpose for our lives. For me, ‘red shirting’ my junior year of college volleyball may mean encouraging myself to go to business school and get my MBA while replacing that red-shirt year of indoor volleyball for sand volleyball. So even the things that seem so terrible at the moment can sometimes surprise you with their potential positive outcomes. So whether you’re battling an injury, recovering from an illness or surgery, struggling with that math class you have to pass for your major, or even suffering from anxiety and or depression like many other students, there are always little hacks that help bring our focus back onto happiness. Psychologists call this sort of thing synthetic happiness - a happiness that we make when we don't get what we wanted. Synthetic happiness is every bit as real and enduring as that natural happiness that bubbles up when you get what you wanted. So go forth and create happiness in seeing the small beauties in your struggles. I am hoping that these little tricks will help you synthesize happiness a bit more effectively. I am by no means a psychologist or a professional who actually knows her stuff—I’m just like any other student-athlete who has gone through her own ups and downs and, on the way, continues to learn more about herself and how to find happiness amidst her own struggles. So I'm compiling this little list with the hope that maybe it will help at least one of you conquer your struggles while illuminating some happiness into each day.
Et voila! Here goes nothing!
1. Have a morning routine:
This one is huge for me. The morning is my favorite time! I like to get up early and tackle life with a happy mindset. On my happiest of days, it's going to my local favorite coffee shop, sipping on my iced almond milk latte, doing some devotional, journaling a bit, listening to whatever tunes get me going for the day, fueling up on some sort of egg scramble, planning my day, doing whatever work I need to finish and maybe even scrolling through Pinterest if I need some style inspo that day. Honestly, waking up early and getting things done in the morning give you a happiness boost that will carry you for the rest of the day. So let your morning be productive: get that cup of coffee in and spark your day off with a happy start!
2. Get involved:
Getting involved in some sort of hobby, social group, sports team or other general thing that inspires you is a great way to kick some happiness into your day. Maybe it's tackling your calling to have your own Etsy jewelry shop, going to that kickboxing class you always wanted to try out, or finally going to that youth group your friends have been telling you about. Immerse yourself into small and fun hobbies that put a smile on your face!
3. Find time to help others:
Speaking of putting a smile on your face, one of the most rewarding things is being able to help and love on others who are in need. Knowing you can be helpful and inspiring to someone else will always fill your heart with happiness. For me, whenever I help out at the children's service at church I always leave feeling refreshed and filled with joy! Giving others love and happiness can surely regenerate yours too!
4. Give yourself a happy dance for your small victories:
There are always small victories in each struggle or rehab protocol, and life is always in need of more happy danceso write down those small victories you want to conquer, and when you do, play that one Beyonce song that makes you lose control and DANCE!
5. Journal it out:
Journaling is tough. I'm an English minor and often have to writeg journals for classes, but even I am rarely motivated to make it a daily thing. Especially when it comes to your own emotions--facing them, describing them and writing all of that down takes work. But I'm telling you, that work pays off. Writing it out is like releasing the struggle from your heart onto a piece of paper. When that pain is let go from your heart, there is more room for happiness. So even if you make it a weekly thing, you’ll find it to be such a wonderfully happy hack!
6. Talk it out:
Going to friends and family and being honest about your pain is so important! Your pain is real, and you need to let it out to finally move past it with happiness. So seek comfort in others and find a good listener!
7. Make weekly goals and exceed at least one:
Setting goals is a great way to move forward in happiness. These goals don't even have to be related to your struggle; sometimes it’s better if they're not. For me, instead of having "be walking again by 7 weeks," as a goal, having something like "reach out to an old friend once a week," can be more beneficial in terms of seeking happiness. Attainable and fun goals can absolutely boost your happy for that day. For injuries, you will heal when you are supposed to heal, so all you can do is work hard at rehab and enjoy your rest. So why not give yourself other goals to conquer that will revive your happiness in other aspects of life?. When you reach each new goal you set for yourself, you will shine with happiness!
8. Reward yourself:
When you conquer those goals, always, always, always reward yourself. I am a huge fan of incentives. Show me a milk chocolate bar and I will run 100 miles for it (well actually maybe not). But seriously! Reward yourself when you accomplish something great! Maybe plan a movie night with your friends, treat yourself to a bath, or that super yummy cheesecake from your favorite restaurant. Feel proud and inspired when you accomplish something - and while doing so fill your belly with chocolate (dark).
and now some happy Pinterest inspo...
Well I hope this helps someone as it has surely helped me! Lastly though, before I take off my clinical counselor hat - always find reasons to smile, reasons to laugh and reasons to have joy and happiness in each day. There is always a reason for joy no matter how rainy and gross the day seems. (my current joy is the fact that the new Game of Thrones season is coming ahhhhh)!
Love you all!
Sierra - The Happiness Hunt