How can I be happy

“How can I be happy?” What a question. What is the formula for happiness? Is there a formula? This question grazes by the minds of every person at one point or another. Within the United States Declaration of Independence, a nation in its formative years that went against the grain to separate and distinguish itself proclaimed “we hold these truths to be self-evident . . . that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The words which brought about this country’s very existence states clearly that everyone has a right to be happy. But are you happy? Have you endeavored to overcome turmoil and crossed the finish line in a challenge and actually said “I am happy”? Or instead, has the mass media with its constant reminders of everything going wrong brought you down? Has your friend’s drama left you feeling like there is no hope in relationships? Has the daunting outlook from your Doctor, left a frown on your face? And do you see yourself thinking more about what is wrong, than what is right? And at the end of the day, you are in a constant search of looking for a better school, a better job, a better car, or a better house that will hopefully at that point in time make you happy?

If your outlook on happiness goes along the lines of, “I’ll be happy when…” or “Once I get into this school or get this job, I’ll be happy”, lo and behold you will never reach happiness. The idea of happiness will be dangling before you like a carrot hanging from a stick over your head and attached to your back. But unfortunately, the dangling “happiness” will forever be out of reach. Rather, happiness does not and should not depend on some future occurrence or accomplishment. Happiness is what you decide it to be in the now, not the future. The optimal way to find happiness amongst all the dread and despair that we are reminded of is to trudge through this mud, and find the positive aspects of your life.

You may have just lost your car, your job, and your significant other, but hey, you can still have a drink with your friend. You may have no money, but there is a beautiful park nearby to take a stroll. Participate in positive activities and train your brain to become more positive. Easy ways to train your brain are:

(1) think of three things you are grateful for today and each day,
(2) journal a positive experience you had today and each day,
(3) exercise and mediate, and
(4) perform a random act of kindness.

Happiness is not for tomorrow, it is a feeling and experience that is meant for today.

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Angela McIlveen
CEO/Partner Attorney
Angela McIlveen is a founding Partner Attorney at the McIlveen Family Law Firm. As a partner at the McIlveen Law Firm, she handles cases in family law including child custody and support, divorce, alimony, adoption, separation, domestic violence and equitable distribution. She is often called upon to teach CLE classes to other attorney and to speak at events.

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