Smile. Breathe. Hakuna Matata. 

Alright, we get it. We have all probably heard enough from people telling us to calm down, stay positive, and to keep moving. But, that’s okay. Because to be honest, we forget half the positive advice we hear anyway when we are drowning in our own pool of self-doubt.

Over the past few years, I’ve come to realize there are different kinds of happiness. There is that state of pleasure and excitement that we experience when something great happens. There is that silent, inner happiness that arises in a smile when we least expect it after we have overcome any emotional challenge. And then, there is that stable happiness- the state of mind in which we learn to balance the moments of euphoria with the more subtle instances of inner contentment.

In the process of experiencing it all, I’ve often thought about the concept of happiness both on my own and through conversation with those around me. A while back, my friend Paris and I actually made a list of things/moments that made us happy. And so, I stumbled upon this list that I had written in high school and compared my thoughts from then until now.

And while I still agree with the majority of my list, there is one main difference I have realized. It is not always about what makes us happy. Sometimes it is more important to focus on how we can be happy. This prompted me to create my second, basic list in hopes of stumbling upon it in a few years and once again examining the result of time and experience.

So, here is my Mini-Guide to happiness:

1.)  Know that happiness is not a permanent feeling. It is an evolving state of mind that requires balance.

2.)  Be honest with yourself. Know what values you stand for and respect them.

3.)  Give yourself something, anything to look forward to each day. I have been doing this since I was a kid. No matter how trivial or significant it may be.

4.)  Give yourself at least 5 minutes to adjust to waking up in the morning rather than jolting out of bed and rushing to get ready.

5.)  Music, Music & more Music. One song can completely shift the mood and ambience. Likewise, I’d like to think that there is a song to fit almost any mood.

6.)   Be curious enough. Allow yourself the freedom to grow and to explore. Branch out, but don’t forget your roots.

7.)  Be open to meeting new people, but embrace true friendship and family. Don’t confuse them with bandwagon friends.

8.)  Get to really know someone beyond just his/her presentation.

9.)  Ask someone how he/she is doing and actually care about the reply. Kindness is underrated.

10.) Know there is a time to talk and a time to listen. A time to pursue and a time to let it be. It’s all about timing.

11.) Never close your heart. Welcome love and give love so that you can embody love.

12.) Define yourself. Figure out your own definition of happiness and how to obtain it.

– Elnaz <3