What makes you happy? What gives you positive vibes. What should you know to be happy? Alicia Souza shares her thoughts on the pursuit of happiness.
What is happiness? It’s something most of us aim for and has a definite bearing on how we conduct our lives.
Happiness means different things to different people. Money, fame, success, good health - the possibilities for the pursuit of happiness are endless. But happiness is also a state of mind, isn’t it? Doing what you love, being surrounded by happy people, following the dictates of your heart and being in the present also makes you happy.
Renowned entrepreneur and illustrator Alicia Souza is all about following your dreams, being yourself and giving. Her illustrations bring a smile to thousands of followers on social media.
Here, she talks about 10 things a smart woman should know about happiness… and living life queen size!
My name is Alicia Souza and I have to finally admit, I am happy. I’m in my 30s and hence I’m old enough to talk about happiness and for you to be assured that I’m not talking about ‘childhood-worry-and-responsibility-free’ happiness, but rather ‘full-time-job(s)’ and ‘mortgage-fuelled-and-tax-paying-life’ happiness. Here are my two paisa on the smiley matter.
1) Do something every single day that makes you happy. Make your everyday little joys a priority. Until a significant amount of time passes by, you won’t realise how that little thing you do makes all the difference in your day. Mine is cooking dinner, blaring country music or jazz, while Henry-oats and Charlie (my guinea pig and dog) watch with zoned-in vision for any titbits that I may have dropped ‘by mistake’.
2) Forgive. Life’s too short for grudges, jealousy and heartache. Let it go.
3) Eat happy. The happiest people I know don’t count calories with every bite. But be realistic about your health. Happiness won’t come from chocolate alone, nor would it come from cabbage soup.
4) Find balance. The best thing I did for me, because I work from home primarily, was schedule an ‘off’ daily. When work ends, it ends. All work and no play makes Jill quite grumpy.
5) It’s not you, it’s me. No matter how social a butterfly you are, good quality ‘me’ time is so important to know who you are - for you and not for society. For organising your thoughts about your life, realising where you are, and where you want to go.
6) Happiness is not a destination. The biggest misconception about happiness is thinking that you will be happy when something is done or when you reach a certain goal. Happiness isn’t for the future, it’s the journey, the process, “the now”!
7) Have conversations. Most people’s fondest memories with their friends are just the simple long chats that seemed to never have a beginning or end. Have conversations, deep ones.
8) Sleep! How did something so important get given so little priority!? Eight hours a day, not four hours today and catch up on the weekends. Your body doesn’t run on weekly math, but on daily requirements. Stop being silly, you sleepy goose.
9) Cull habits that make you frown. I know breaking habits is easier said than done but you know that crappy feeling after you’ve spent an hour scrolling through other people’s curated lives online... well stop doing that. Forever. My awful habit was trying to do two things at once, all the time. Trying to learn a language while cooking isn’t doing either activity justice.
10) Be present. The one thing I did since university days was being super present when I was doing something I love. I adore hot showers and trying to not think of my next ‘thing to do’ and just feel the warm water and the sound of the ‘fake rain’, just made all my worries shed away. ‘Mindfulness’ it’s called nowadays. Being aware of the niceness is what it really means and I can’t recommend it enough.
And don’t forget to hug the dog, cuddle the cat, give a peck to your lover, snail mail your pals, talk to the plants, call your folks, and tickle the baby. And all will be well with the world.
All illustrations by Alicia Souza