Why You Should Practice Happiness

As the new spring 2017 semester gains momentum, practicing happiness should be at the top of our daily agendas. This isn’t an idea commonly heard because most people carry their own unique definition of happiness. Some people equate finding happiness to gaining wealth, falling in love or reaching success in their career. For others, however, it is a combination of all these major milestones in life and many other things. The question becomes, how do we reach happiness along the way?

Dan Gilbert, the author of “The Surprising Science of Happiness,” and Harvard psychologist says that happiness is synthesized. He reinstates this idea by saying that we as humans, are not as good at predicting our happiness through these milestones in life as we may have thought. So, what’s the point? Why are we waiting for these moments to pass in order to define our happiness?

Something I’m learning in college is that my goals are going to take time. It took a lot of patience to come to terms with the fact that it’s going to take a LOT of time for me to reach my goal to become a doctor one day. I realized that the reason I’ve maintained this goal in the first place was because I value making a difference in someone’s life. I valued being the positive force in someone’s day, even if they were a stranger. I valued getting my foot peed on while taking a puppy out of his cage at the shelter because of how excited he was to finally get out in the field. I valued yelling B-12 at the top of my lungs at the senior home on Saturdays because of how happy they were to win the 50 cent prize at the end of the Bingo round. I found happiness and rewards in the smallest details of my day, and realized that I don’t need to reach my long-term goals to be happy every day.

Creating and practicing happiness in our daily lives helps to reassure us that we are ultimately progressing towards happiness in its entirety. It helps us understand that we are in control, and the choices we make not only affect us, but everyone around us as well. Take these next couple of weeks, the start of a new year to bring about positive energy and happiness. Cultivate happy thoughts and do things that better yourself and society. College can be hard, it can and should be stressful but it should also be rewarding. Find time to practice compassion and reward yourself and others for doing so. I enjoy creating my own happiness everyday because sometimes it makes more sense to not look at the bigger picture.