Hannah walking on Stinson beach at sunsetThe question of all questions that is said can not be answered, “what is the meaning of life?” Besides 42 (real geeks will get this). Well, to me, it’s kinda obvious and isn’t that complicated. Are you ready?

What is the meaning of life?

Star Wars and video games. There you have it. Ok, for real. The meaning of life is to live a happy, fulfilling, life in this one shot you got.  The problem, though, is you can’t just tell people to be happy and they simply switch a dial to happiness. Happiness is a state of mind you have to earn and we are going to explore 10 things you can do to improve your happiness. And since we are dealing with the meaning of life, this can be considered your life guide… I’m kinda joking, but seriously, do these things and your life will improve.

Goal: How to be happy. Once achieved, everything else will fall into place.

  1. Don’t be a douchebag!

Ok, that’s not number one, or part of the list… But dammit, its true! Check the self-entitlement and narcism at the door for now…

Smile – We are going to start this list with simplicity, going back to the basics. Smiling is contagious and you will quickly change perception about you. You appear more confident and you become a more likable person. Most importantly, notice how a genuine smile will quickly effect your outlook on everything else. This one is fast acting.

Sleep – Nothing ruins me more than lack of sleep. I am the biggest wimp when it comes it, but thats good thing. I always try to ensure I get adequate sleep. Inadequate sleep is such a huge stress on the body. With out sleep, your wheels will quickly just fall off the wagon. It leads to cortisol issues, you don’t recover, and you will NOT lose weight. Robb Wolf put it best, “Inadequate sleep cock-blocks fat loss.” Get 8-9 hours sleep, this is an absolute must for happiness.
paddle board on tenaya lake in yosemite

Play – Mark Sisson said, “play is the real human currency”. This is easy, you gotta have fun and you have to make time for it. Having fun lends its self to a happier life quicker than anything else. Play is a critical part of our health and psyche and we just don’t do enough of it. Read Mark’s blog on play. I wish anxiety upon you if you sit around on the weekends, get out to a state park or how about paddle boarding?

Whatever – Be able to say, “whatever.” Basically, don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t worry about it. Whatever.. and move on. This is very simple but powerful.

Sun – Get some sun. Not to the point of burning, but get some exposure. Vitamin D is needed by our body. When we have a healthy amount of photo exposure, we are happier. When we have less (those times when it is dark and dreary for days), it can bring us down. A healthy amount of sun daily is good for our soul.

Nature – There are actually studies that show being exposed to natural landscapes, natural environments, and just being in nature increases our happiness. Go on a hike in the woods, a trail run, go to a state park, and I promise you – you will feel energized. Want help suggesting a place around you? Email me. And you are really in luck if you’re in Texas. Check out this article from Psychology Today.

Community – Relationships may just be the biggest part of this. I think there is a good argument that maybe the real meaning of life is love and relationship. But that ultimately leads to happiness, so it is a tactic. Make more time with your  friends. Plan weekly outings. Get involved with a church or group. Be around people and contribute. Appreciate the ones around you. Listen more. You will be amazed that everyone has something to say if you just make yourself available to listen.
building a house for habitat for humanity

Kindness – Err on the side of kindness – gotta stop the cynicism, realize we are equal in life, and it is all about relationships. Don’t think everyone is against you and give folks the benefit of the doubt. Do some philanthropy or volunteer.  A good place to start is your local Habitat for Humanity,

Exercise – This is intimidating for some folks because they think they have to go balls or nothing. No, you don’t have to get right to a gym and start on your 300 pound back squat. Doesn’t have to be crazy! Just be active. Start going on walks. I STRONGLY recommend getting a Fitbit. See how the Fitbit changed my life.

Eat well – Eat clean. Grass fed meats. No gluten. Avoid anything that comes in a box, you know, most things in the middle aisles of the store. Cut the refined sugars. Here, I have a whole blog on this one.

This, of course, is not a definitive list.  I think there are a few biggies that we may need to dedicated a separate blog, so stay tuned for these:

  • Be productive: The gratitude of self fulfillment and satisfaction of accomplishment.
  • Reducing stress: Nothing will wreak more havoc on your body and age you more than being a big stress ball.

In closing, you have to do this yourself. No one will bring you happiness, though someone may contribute to temporary happiness. If you are struggling, happiness won’t magically come to you. You are not automatically entitled to a happy life, you have to take the responsibility and action. You are the captain of your own ship.  One last thing, you will age much better too.

Until next time, peace out ya’ll.

Check out The Science of Happiness playlist on YouTube.

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