How I Took Back My Happiness

How I Took Back My Happiness And How You Can Too.jpeg

By Lauren Giles

On the surface, I was a seemingly joyful 27-year old with more to be thankful for than I could have ever imagined. When I finally admitted to myself that I was unhappy, I couldn’t just stand by and spend the best years of my life on the proverbial hamster wheel in a routine that was draining me.

Both of my parents owned small businesses and lovingly dreamed of a life for me where I never had to chase someone to settle their bill so I could get my paycheck. Raised on the idea that hard work leads to achievement, which leads to success, which in turn leads to happiness, I was collecting life experiences like bullet points to place on my resume.   

I had abandoned any hobbies that stole attention from my latest pursuit, and after being educated for six years to think like a scientist, I had lost my imagination. My idea of self-indulgence was skipping the gym to catch up on my shows. On top of it all, my ‘good’ job made me miserable. I felt guilty living a secure life yet still finding a way to feel empty.

You may be able to relate. Maybe your gig is getting up, hitting the gym (if you didn’t hit snooze too many times), coming home to get kids ready and off to their respective locations while eating breakfast on the way to work and then coming home to lounge on the couch because that’s what you do every weekday. Or maybe you’re feeling the same way because you’ve filled your social calendar beyond capacity and you’re always in the same type of scene, needing a breath of fresh air. I promise there’s a way to feel better, and it’s rooted in listening to your intuition and seeking balance.

For me, it started as a joke with my friend Ryan – Lauren Tries Everything – a YouTube channel where I could dust off the GoPro we had bought for our wedding, try new things, and share them online with people who were feeling the same way I was. (You can imagine the ‘everythings’ that were suggested to me, which were as inappropriate as they were hilarious).

I dubbed my new motto “why not?” and kicked off my channel in January with a Beer Mile. I visited a friend I hadn’t seen in years in a new-to-me city, only 2 hours drive from my house. I began vlogging, and writing again (and I am so grateful to share my message with you today and going forward as a contributor for Thirty On Tap!) I tried new foods, reached out to other friends I hadn’t talked to in forever and dyed my hair blonde. I started giving more compliments, and said yes! to opportunities that old Lauren may have turned down. I got out of the comfort zone provided by the ‘hamster wheel’ and started having fun again.

Of course, everyone has something different that makes them feel alive. For me, it’s the idea of helping people and communicating and I achieved that by turning on my camera. For you, it could mean finding what you used to love when you were younger but lost time for as other responsibilities rushed in.

When’s the last time you read your old favorite book? How about a new one you haven’t found the time to open? Maybe you took a yoga class a while back that you loved and you want to give it another shot. If you’re into trying new things, this could mean traveling to a new place or trying new foods. Go to dinner by yourself and just enjoy the company of your own thoughts. Say “no” to adding another thing to your plate if you give too much of yourself and need more alone time. Get the tattoo you’ve always wanted – if x, y or z prohibit it, get it somewhere only you can see! Explore your community. Take a walk through the woods or the park and pay attention to the nature around you. Compliment someone and drink up the warm fuzzies that you get in return. Visit family. Volunteer at your favorite organization. Taking your happiness back is mostly a question of ‘why?’

We all have to do things we don’t like, but too often we just do them and don’t question why we don’t like them and try to fix the problem.

It’s been 6 months since I asked myself ‘why?’, and my mood has completely turned around. My relationships are as good as ever. I’m seeing things in a new light and dusting off the creative portion of my brain. I’m starting my dream job next month!

Maybe my newfound positivity was attracting the happiness that I’d desired, or perhaps it was that my negativity was no longer anchoring me down. Too many people don’t do the things that they love because they don’t think they have the time or the extra money, but the best part is that these little changes aren’t overly time consuming or expensive.

My mission now is to help other people find positivity and take back their happiness too. I think we can all agree that we can benefit from a happier world. It’s about celebrating the diverse person that you are and chasing those moments where you find yourself smiling because you’re genuinely happy.  Because you deserve it, and, because “Why Not?”

Lauren is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.

{featured image via pexels}

3 thoughts on “How I Took Back My Happiness

  1. lightupthesunblog says:

    This is such a genuine post. I think it’s beautiful and relatable for a lot of people.


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