Finding Joy on a Budget
Money is not necessary to be happy. Although the thought, “if only I had more money for xyz, I could be happy” may cross our minds, it is not entirely true. Some of the wealthiest people in the world, who appear to have everything are unsatisfied with their life. Mental health issues plague the rich and poor. Money might be able to provide relief and indeed exciting times, but it isn’t necessary to be happy.
Know Your Needs
Yes, it is helpful to have your basic needs met such as clothing, food, and shelter when trying to seek happiness. Majority if not all the time, money is indeed needed for these basic necessities. Beyond those basic needs, it is helpful to know what are your personal needs to be happy. It could be a clean house, time with family or friends, time alone, being outdoors, being in a place with sunshine, connected spiritually, or a variety of things. Understanding what makes us tick and what makes us happy might be harder than it seems. Sure we can recognize when we feel happy, but might not be able to put in words what makes us happy. An activity that might help is to think of some of your most joyful and blissful moments in life. Once the moments are identifies, try to remember what were your life circumstances that surrounded that moment, who were you with, where were you, what job did you have, etc? Write them all down and try to see if there is a common thread amongst the different moments and surround circumstances. This might be a way for you to identify a theme of what brings you joy.
In addition to trying to add joy to your life, it is equally important to remove barriers that are preventing you from experiencing joy. Barriers can be toxic individuals, stressful situations, mental health issues, work, grief, or a major life transition. Some barriers are easier to overcome than others, but by identifying the barrier you can start to work on moving it, or moving around it with time and effort. Be gentle and forgiving with yourself, for sometimes the burden you carry are heavy and will take a significant amount of time to work through.
Once you know what triggers your joy and what holds it back, try to create an environment conducive to inviting your joy. Sometimes, small things can make a big difference in the way we feel. For example, taking on the project of cleaning out the garage together with a spouse can become a marital activity rather than a source of argument. Taking time to put a little effort in our outfit or appearance, might give us an extra boost of confidence. Spending some time writing a gratitude journal instead of coveting others and social media could also be rejuvenating. Getting creative and encouraging your happiness does not mean you need to fly to far off destinations, wear designer clothes, or live in luxurious mansions. For further support in processing and learning how to find greater happiness, seeking the help of a professional mental health counselor could be beneficial.