5 Things You Can Do to Immediately Improve Your Happiness in Life

5 Things You Can Do to Immediately Improve Your Happiness in Life

1. Be in the present moment.

I have heard this a million times. I listened to the idea of “being present” on YouTube videos. I read about it in books and articles. Heck, I wrote about it myself in my blogs. And yes, I have practiced being present as well. I sat through 10 days of meditation at a Vipassana course: being nothing else but present. I practice it every day when I journal or practice gratitude. I notice the blue sky on my way to work.

I have also told myself a million times to be even more present “from now on” (like from tomorrow on). So what on Earth happened with me today as I was taking the bus to downtown. I recall getting on the bus. I am pretty sure that I was present when I paid my few pesos for the fair. Next thing I know that I was scrolling through my messages and started thinking about what I am going to respond to my friend.

I saw a message on an upcoming road race and immediately decided what I am going to eat the night before and what time I will need to wake up. Then somehow I realized that it was already October. I remembered an amazing retreat I went to a year ago. I started to miss the people I met there. Then I realized that my grandma was still alive then. I started missing her. Suddenly I was in the future again: in April it will be a year ago that she has died. But, omg, where am I going to be next April? I have no idea…

The bus stopped. I almost missed to get off. Then it hit me: I was not in the present moment. I didn’t experience anything from my bus ride. I was in the past and the present.

This is what happens. We promise ourselves to be present. Then life gets in our way. Something comes up. We remember something. We get happy or sad. We often regret past actions and wish we have done something differently. Then the future pops up. We plan, we wish and we hope. Things happen that we think we have to react to. There are problems we think we need to solve. We want to control our lives.

This was my experience. I missed the present moment because I was traveling to my past and to my future.

But what would happen if we lived in the present? Seriously, if we just stayed in the moment and experienced it. Maybe…just maybe we would actually be happy.

I know this from experience. When I stop and experience the present moment I suddenly feel okay. Even if I am experiencing something unpleasant I simply remind myself this too shall pass. And I feel okay. In the present moment, when I am truly in the present moment, I always feel happy.

In the present moment we don’t have to control anything, we do not have to react, we only have to BE. Just BE. In the present moment we can experience the only truth we have: our present moment. We can connect with life. We can actually feel content, balanced, connected and yes, happy.

So I stopped. I started watching my breathing. I looked around the crowded market. I started noticing the people. I glanced at an appealing papaya. I smelled the mix of flavors in the air. I felt the sun on my skin and noticed that I have a nice tan.

Suddenly I was back in real life. The present moment is the only thing I have. I don’t have to control it, but I want to experience it.

Walking through the market noticing the colors, smells, shapes and my own personal sensations, I was present again. Suddenly I felt balanced. I was happy. I was at peace. And all of that happened quickly in the present moment.

Everything is easier and happier when we are present. Sure, life won’t stop. Things will happen. And yes, to some things we will have to react to. Yet, it is still possible to be in the moment and experience life as it. Here are some tips how to JUST BE in the PRESENT.

2. Use all your senses.

What do you hear? How does it sound like? What do you taste? How does it taste like? What do you smell? How does it smell like? What do you see? How does it smell like? What do you touch? How does it feel like?

Pay attention to the temperature, the colors, your environment. Use your senses mindfully whatever you do. Take a deep breath in as you walk through the park. Experience the body warmth of the other person as you hug them. Truly experience your meals from the first smell until the last bite.

3. Pay attention to what is happening NOW and do not judge it.

Notice what are you thinking about. Chances are at least a part of your brain is in the past or in the future. Or perhaps it is in both. Make is stop. Notice what’s going on now. You may only stay in the present for a minute, or a second, or a quarter of a second. It is okay. It is a muscle you can train. Whenever you notice that you are in the past or in the present just bring you attention back to the present.

Do not judge yourself and do not judge your experience. It is okay that you were thinking about the past or the future. It is normal, do not need to judge yourself. Stay away from judging or labeling anything that you observe or experience. Everything is okay as it is. It shall all pass, whether it’s good or bad, so you may as well accept it and experience it without judgment as it is.

4. Connect with nature.

Nature is our best way to connect with the Universe. Nature is always present. The trees and the flowers are just “are”. They don’t react. Animals don’t dwell on the past or make huge plans for the future. They live in the present. They are truly connected and when you are in nature or around animals you will feel connected too.

Go outside. Take a walk in the park or a hike in the forest. Take a deep breath and truly feel the air passing through your body. Look at the great blue sky and enjoy the sun touching your skin. Hug a tree. Hug an animal.

Smile. Just smile. 

Kat Gál