Health & happiness

My #1 rule for happiness

As I grow older, I feel like I’m learning more and more about life, love and happiness. I don’t think I’ll ever have all the answers, but I love finding more peace with the way I live my life. I’ve learned that there is no ‘right’ way to live and happiness means something different for every person. In this blogpost I share my number one rule for happiness, which you may (or may not) agree with.

Maybe it’s just something of my generation, but I feel like we’re striving for health and happiness like never before. We can’t just ‘be’ anymore, we have unlimited choices, opportunities and possibilities and yet we feel more stressed and aimless than ever. Of course when I say ‘we’, I mean us in the developed world. I live in Holland where I live a free life without serious problems and with few restrictions. I should be overjoyed and live life to the fullest, right?

Of course, happiness is relative and nobody is happy all the time. No matter who they are, where they live, what they do or what they own. I firmly believe that. Although I definitely don’t have all the answers, I believe (from my own experience) that there’s one rule that you can follow which can make you a very happy person. It’s simple. Here goes:

I believe that happiness lies in positive stimulation

Lately I have started thinking about when I am at my happiest, without question and without a care in the world. This happens when I am positively stimulated. I don’t mean sexually stimulated by the way (although that can also make me very happy) but any kind of positive stimulation. Preferably something that stimulates the mind.

How to be happy

I feel like when I was younger it was much easier to be happy. My greatest joys in life were playing outside, writing, acting, singing, going to theme parks (still love this!), redecorating my room, taking photos, videos… Anything fun or creative that positively stimulated me made me happy. And in a sense that is still true. I am at my unhappiest when I am bored, lazy or when I am doing something unstimulating. When I spend a Saturday being lazy and zoning out in front of the TV, I can become really irritated and unhappy. If I then go outside for a run, or find some other way to stimulate myself, I immediately feel better.

My motto this year has been “it’s always better to do something, than to do nothing” which goes hand in hand with “it’s always better to go out than to stay at home” – no matter where it is I’m going. We as humans need to be stimulated. When we’re not, we get frustrated and unhappy.

“Do something instead of killing time. Because time is killing you” – Paulo Coelho

I love this quote and at the same time it makes me a little uncomfortable. I feel like Paulo is looking me in the eye and angrily waving his finger at me. And I should feel that way. Life is short and I should live it – we all should. Instead of focusing on what our mission is in life, or our passion, or finding our ultimate destiny, we should focus on positively stimulating ourselves which whatever we find interesting, or funny, or inspiring. What this is, is different for all of us. The good thing is: you have all the answers. All you need to do is look inside yourself and listen to yourself. You know what you like and what you don’t like. Only you do. No-one else. If you listen to what everybody else thinks you should be doing you will be in conflict with yourself which results in even more unhappiness. Find what stimulates you and do that as often as you can, whether it’s travelling, reading, singing, knitting, writing, running…  Then you will be a very happy person.

Emmelyn X

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