I once wrote that the key to happiness is positive stimulation. Yesterday I wrote about finding things to do that make you forget about time and worrying what other people are doing. I believe happiness is in finding your highs in life. Those things that make you feel happy to be alive. Here are 10 things that make me feel alive.
1. Public speaking
Yes, it’s terrifying and I’m still nervous every time, but it also feels so damn good. Do you think I look at the clock while I’m giving a presentation or teaching a lecture? No way. I’m completely immersed in the moment and I feel completely alive.
2. Theme parks
A little random maybe, but there’s nothing like riding a roller coaster. I’ve loved it ever since I was little. The high is unbelievable. I love the anticipation right before take-off and the thrill of the ride itself. There’s nothing quite like it and it makes me feel 100% alive.
Of course this really depends on where you’re going and with whom, but I find traveling to new places very exciting and also a little scary. These are all good emotions though, because I’ definitely not bored, or uninspired. It’s fine to be a little scared, at least you’re living! Traveling is definitely one of my highs.
4. Discovering a new song…
…and listening to it over and over again. I love discovering a song and falling head over heels in love with it right away. This also means that I quickly ruin the moment for myself by playing the song over and over again until I’m sick of listening to it. It can’t be helped – when I find something that makes me high I need my fix!
5. Learning something new
I wrote about this in yesterday’s post as well. Learning a new skill can be scary and challenging, but also really rewarding. It helps to stick to something you’re sort of interested in or good at – but it doesn’t need to be. You can decide you want to learn how to sing (even though you’re a terrible singer) or how to paint, draw, or play the guitar. Or you want to become a better photographer or Photoshopper. Whatever it is, learning something new can really make me forget about everything else.
6. The sun, a good book & a cup of coffee
This is my magic formula for instant happiness. As soon as the sun comes out in early spring I open the doors to my (tiny) balcony, drag a chair outside and choose a book I’ve been wanting to read forever. I make myself a large, black cup of coffee and soak up the sun while reading my book and sipping my coffee – not wanting the moment to ever end. That to me is pure happiness.
If food doesn’t get me high, there’s something really wrong with me and luckily I don’t recall this ever happening. I’m not a huge emotional eater – when I’m feeling down I prefer to not eat at all – but in general, food makes me extremely happy. One of the joys of life is eating (if you ask me) and one of my favorite things about traveling is trying new dishes. I might love the anticipation of food a little more than the food itself, but nevertheless: food makes me feel alive!
8. Being in love
I had to put this in – because love is the essence of life (next to food) and there’s nothing quite like being in love. By the way: this also applies to being in love with your job, or your new home or your new wardrobe. Love means thrill, excitement and an overall enjoyment of the moment you’re in. When you’re in love with someone or something you’re really living.
No, I’m not talking about going to the gym, because this is definitively not one of my highs. If someone told me tomorrow that I’d only have 6 months left to live, the first thing I would do is quit the gym. When I say exercise makes me feel alive, I’m talking about all the fun stuff, like swimming, hula-hooping or trampoline jumping (I LOVE trampoline jumping). The stuff that makes me feel like a child again – when everything was fun and not meant to give you a six-pack. I really need to get back to that place where exercise was just for fun.
I don’t think anyone can live a dreamless life and be happy. You need to have a dream, a goal, or something you’re working towards. It may just be an illusion, but at least you’re waking up with a genuine belief in that illusion. I don’t know where or who I’d be without my dreams. They may change all the time but I’ll never give up on being a dreamer. I’m a sensible, serious person and I work hard – but first and foremost I am a dreamer and I always follow my intuition. It has never failed me.
Have you ever thought about what makes you feel happy to be alive? What your natural highs are? I’d love to hear them!