Self Improvement

On Finding Happiness

posted on September 12, 2014 | by Amanda Holstein

On Finding Happiness

(Me and my sis frolicking through the French countryside. Pure happiness.)

Throughout your twenties, you inevitably experience a ton of growth. Not only is your brain physically forming into it’s full potential, but you’re experiencing true independence and a wealth of new experiences for the first time. What I’ve realized thus far is that the only thing that truly matters is happiness. Finding happiness is a whole other story.

I would consider myself an optimistic person, but of course there are times when I get stressed out, overwhelmed, and can only think about the negative. Once I realized I could actually learn to control these feelings and shift my perspective, I began to make it my goal to find happiness – be it in my daily life as well as my end goal. After recently reading The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau, and learning how actually creating a goal can be just as fulfilling as achieving it, I thought about what my goal in life was. The book is all about searching for the quest that will bring purpose to your life. For some, that quest is as extravagant as visiting every country in the world. But for me, it’s simply finding happiness.

So, how does one achieve happiness? I don’t know for sure, but here’s my plan of action:

Identify What Makes You Happy

The ability to identify what truly makes you happy is more difficult than it seems. Many people believe certain things should make them happy, and forget to ask themselves if that thing actually does make them happy. Make sure to stop yourself from time to time and ask if what you’re doing is truly making you happy. Whether it’s your job, your relationship, or your friends, don’t just accept things as they are. Check in with yourself on all aspects of your life. Perhaps your job isn’t your dream job (which is totally normal at our age), but is it making you happy? Remember, happiness doesn’t mean perfection. Your relationship doesn’t have to be perfect to make you happy. But it’s important to stop and ask yourself if these parts of your life are bringing you joy.

Trust Your Gut

We hear it all the time, but what does trusting your gut really mean? To me, it means sifting through all of those thoughts, fears, and anxieties to find what you truly feel deep down inside. For example, I used to think I was extremely indecisive. I realized the reason I couldn’t make decisions easily was because I had too many thoughts and opinions influencing my decision. Whether it was other people’s opinions, or my own thoughts about what I should do, they were getting in the way of me listening to what I really wanted. Once I found a way to silence that noise, I’ve found it to be so much easier to listen to what my instincts are telling me and to trust them without any doubts.

Build Your Confidence

There is a certain power in feeling confident that I never realized until recently. It allows you to trust your gut, believe in yourself, and inevitably be your own form of support. This not only helps with being more decisive, but it leads to truly loving yourself (as cheesy as it sounds). If you think about it, you are the only thing you have. If you’re lucky, you of course have family who will always be there. But you are always there for you, so you should be your own supporter and build yourself up as much as possible. It feels so good and ultimately leads to happiness.

Zoom Out

When you’re feeling negative or super stressed about something, I always tell people to zoom out. What does that mean? It’s another way of saying, get some perspective. Look at the big picture and remember that this stress is just a small bump in the scheme of things. These difficulties aren’t permanent – they’re just a phase that will soon pass. Whether it’s as simple as a stranger being rude to you or as traumatic as losing your job, zooming out and remembering that the negative feelings these moments created will not last forever is key to maintaining happiness.

I encourage you to check out the book that inspired me to write this post – The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. Find out more about the author here and follow him on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.


// this post is sponsored by Random House