Saturday, August 6, 2011

Elvis knew a thing or two

I believe the key to happiness is: 
someone to love,
something to do,
and something to look forward to.
--Elvis Presley

I love that quote and it keeps ringing true.  Whenever I'm unhappy, it always seems like one of the three areas is lacking.  It's about balance.

(more ranting behind the cut)
Someone to love is important, but it also contradicts my whole theory that it's possible and important to be happy as a single person.  So for me, someone to love it doesn't necessarily mean showing love for a significant other (as much as that rules).  It can also mean showing yourself some love, or showing love for your friends or family.  I read a quote recently that said: "That means the best way to increase your happiness is to stop worrying about being happy and instead divert your energy to nurturing the social bonds you have with other people." I also read once that friendships should always be defined by how much you give and not how much you receive. I think someone else said love is a verb, which I think makes sense... Anyway, this all sounds really self-helpy, but I agree that great happiness can come out of putting energy towards maintaining relationships. When you're really low, your friends and family have your back.  Even if you're doing okay but you're just a little bummed that your one friend never calls you anymore, it is worth it to take the initiative and do something about it and call her or drop her an email. (Damn, my own advice makes me want to email some bitches right now!)

Something to do is kind of a no-brainer. The key is to keep yourself busy. My grandma always said you need a reason to put on pants and leave the house every day. She's 95, she knows a lot!  If I have nothing better to do, the least I can do is get out of the house and take a walk. Another aspect of 'something to do' is having the courage and motivation to just DO something instead of constantly putting it off.  I try to remember, action precedes motivation.  I also try to remember: the things that make you nervous are things you should be doing.  I think a bad breakup and turning 30 helped me get over a lot of fears and take more risks, which helped me a lot in terms of happiness.

Finally, something to look forward to is the one that always gets me. Once in a while I find myself just plugging along at work, worrying about deadlines and my to-do list, and eventually I realize I'm unhappy and have nothing fun to look forward to. Studies have shown that often it's the anticipation of something fun, like a vacation, that brings us the most happiness. So when I'm down or stressed, I found it always helps to make plans with friends (like #1 above), or put something in motion I already had tentative plans for (see #2)... like make dinner reservations with my man for tonight, or email my girlfriends to grab a drink later this week, or book plane tickets for an upcoming trip.  I noticed that I'm particularly happy when I have both small things (later this week) and big things (sometime in the next few months) to look forward to.

Lots of ranty posts lately... sorry!   :)

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