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What’s something that we’re far too good at doing? Complaining.
And another thing? Being our own worst mental enemy.
It’s not exactly a Monday mantra, but I’d say we could all use some extra happiness handed to us every now and again, especially when we get caught up in all of those woes that make being a 20-something a bit overwhelming at times. I’ve concocted a list of 11 happy tips for 20-somethings, although they’re totally applicable and relevant to basically anyone with a heart and mind. AKA y-o-u. Let’s get happy!
1. Making comparisons sucks.
When was the last time you compared yourself to someone else and ended up feeling better? If we’re being real here (which we always are), we can admit that the only time we compare and *think* we feel better is when we’re putting others down in our minds. Otherwise, we end up feeling worse off. And when we realize we’re being a jerk putting someone else down, we also feel worse (as we should!). Comparisons are just all-around toxic. The old school mantra rings true beyond the classroom – keep your eyes on your own paper. Focus on y-o-u and nix the constant comparisons.
2. Focus on friendships.
*not follower counts. Seriously, there is SO much to be said for fostering *real* friendships and for prioritizing them as one of the most important things in your life. It’s easy for us to sit back and whine about how nobody calls us or texts us. It’s easy for us to express how much we want to be wanted, loved and desired in people’s lives. But it’s not always the easiest to take a few hours and devote your entire attention to another human being, distraction free. When you put in what you hope to receive, you’ll feel happier overall, AND you’ll likely see more meaningful relationships in your life!
3. Allow yourself to make mistakes…
…and then don’t make the same one twice. Learn from the past, people! But also – and this one is key – learn to forgive yourself. I know my Type A tendencies are absolutely not the most forgiving when it comes to my own mistakes, but it always leaves me feeling downright awful when I tighten my own leash. We’ve gotta take what we can learn from the mishaps and move forward with grace and gumption.
4. Healthier = happier.
Raise your hand if you actively focus on living healthier every day. . It can be a challenge to fit working out into an already jampacked lifestyle, I know. But trust me on this…when you feel good about your body and health and are taking care of your entire self, you feel SO much happier in everyday life. I started working out everyday in the summer at the gym with J at 6 am before work. It was *rough* at first to say the least (he definitely had to literally lift me outta bed), but I gotta tell ya…I had remarkably fewer bouts of anxiety. Our relationship got better. My productivity increased. I thought I would just wear out and become exhausted all the time, but I was able to focus on what *really* mattered in everyday life. Paying attention to what you put IN to your body is just as important, and I really think these go hand in hand! (Leave a comment below letting me know if you’d wanna see more fitness/healthy eating posts and tips on incorporating it all into your already crazy busy life!)
5. Acknowledge your passion(s).
And then chase them and embrace them and own them. The quickest way to be unhappy in life is to allow yourself to succomb to the pressures of others’ expectations. Yes, there is something to be said for making sure your degree is reasonable in the times, yadda yadda yadda. But there’s ALSO something to be said for having the determination and guts to figure out a way to make your dream come true. Acknowledging what really makes your heart sing will leave you feeling better, because you’ll be giving yourself permission to unashamedly follow your own arrow.
6. One bad day does not mean you have a bad life.
Maybe it’s the theater diva in me, but I’m so so so bad at putting things in perspective in my own life sometimes. The second I find myself in a downright sucky day, I go straight to thinking my whole life is reckoned for disaster and failure. Have you ever done the same? Can we just stop for a sec and talk about how RIDICULOUS that train of thought is?!? We’re all bound to have a few crap days in the mix, but if it all amounts to an overall amazing life, that’s what counts!
7. Don’t just get out – JUMP out – of your comfort zone.
But I’ll let this post do all the talking on comfort zones.
8. Embrace your own style.
We all can have vastly different tastes in clothes and personal style, so why not celebrate that everyday? What looks good or feels good on one person might do the opposite on the next, so figure out what makes you happy when you wear it and just rock that. Same goes for style in communication, negotiation, work ethic…once you know yourself, you’re way more adept to figuring out how to make that gel with other people in the picture.
9. Let go of little things.
You now the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” It’s kinda really really really really true. Way too often we let our happiness be determined by other people. That’s. Not. Good. The slightest thing may tick us off or rub us the wrong way, and just like that, our entire mood has gone kaput. Once we can recognize what’s worthy of affecting us and what’s not, we’ve gained a whole new level of control on our own happy. Spoiler alert: there are not many little things worth negatively affecting us at ALL!
10. Know when to let loose and turn off.
I saw an awesome article the other day talking about how entrepreneurs literally schedule “me time” on their workday calendars. They figured hey, I’m going to be working past a typical 9-to-5 frame anyways, so why not get a mani pedi in the middle of the day? I needed to read that, because I’m the girl who would work for 10 hours straight without stopping to even eat – totally not good, not healthy, and definitely not leading to overall happiness in life. Once we make ourselves shut the laptop, put down the technology and power off for a bit, we can recharge and enjoy a few of our favorite things to get those happiness levels soaring. You owe it to yourself to make your own happiness and inner peace a priority, so know when to let loose a bit and turn off the go go go!
11. Embrace the glorious mess of it all.
At the end of the day, you’re a 20-something with so much potential ahead of you. You’re going to grow, learn, and go in so many different directions in life; all cliches aside, the possibilities really are endless. Yes, you probably have too many things on your plate sometimes (guilty). Yes, you might be a total hot mess sometimes (guilty). You’ll make mistakes and fail forward and learn something through every step. Life can be a total mess sometimes. But it’s a glorious mess at that.
What keeps you happy everyday? How do you encourage others to get (and stay!) happy?
I’m definitely no guidance counselor and definitely don’t have my ducks all in a row either, but I hope some of these tips ring true to you and end up being helpful. They’re just some of the things I’ve learned thus far in life from the people who mean the most to me, and I figured it was too important to not share. If they mean something to you, too, share with a 20-something in your own life who could use a bit more happiness!
And for personalized inspiration every Sunday evening (+ a pinnable quote, pretty image, post recap, and funny video), get on this list. Now go out there and have the happiest hump day of them all.