A fourth-year trustee offers advice on how to find happiness
In the words of the current Dalai Lama, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”
You do not have to be Buddhist to find inner peace or to appreciate the Dalai Lama. His message applies to everyone — monk robe or not. Happiness is a choice. It is also infectious. Whether you realize it or not, your happiness will spill onto those around you and stain them with love.
This week’s column will detail some simple ways to stay smiling.
Eat the cupcake. Take this literally or take this metaphorically. Don’t be gluttonous, but do indulge in life a little bit. Work hard and reward yourself with sweet things.
Surprise people. Surprises brighten the days of both the giver and the receiver. It is an oxymoron, but when you go out of your way to help someone, you are sometimes the one who benefits the most from the action.
Enjoy quotes and fun facts. There is one for every occasion. I am a big fan of fortune cookies, Yogi Tea, Snapple lids and Dove chocolates with the messages on the wrappers.
Say “thank you.” Everyone wants to be appreciated and those two words go a long way.
Chase the sun. Being outside does something for your mental health. The Vitamin D in sunlight is also a scientifically proven mood-booster.
Remember people’s birthdays. No one wants to get old and gray, but if we celebrate each year with each other it makes the aging process more pleasurable.
Keep a journal. You don’t have to write religiously every day, spill out your deepest, darkest secrets or start every day with “Dear Diary.” But do keep track of what is important to you. You will be glad you did.
Cheer up. Life is not always rainbows and puppies. We lose loved ones, have challenging days and sometimes doubt ourselves. Change what you can and lift yourself back up after a tough blow. Everyone has failures. Contrary to common belief, it is okay to mess up.
Have faith. Regardless of your religious beliefs, have confidence in this world. Believe in yourself and believe in others. People will lose your trust, but trust them until they give you a reason not to. After all, dishonest people only hurt themselves in the long run.
Wave. It takes two seconds tops. Look up from your cell phone screen and say hello to that person walking by even if it is someone you met once. It will make that walk to wherever you are going a little bit better!
Cherish your friendships. Think of them as gifts. The people close to you often know you better than you know yourself.
Live dangerously. Some of the best decisions I have ever made stem from risks I took — times when I strayed from the safety route and discovered fulfillment I would have never imagined.
Don’t be scared. We are all afraid of life, but the only way to live it to the fullest is to step out of our comfort zone. Share your adventurous spirit with others and bring them on your journey — whatever it may be.
Be curious. You do not have to stop asking questions after age seven. There is no age limit for discovering the world around you. Without exploration, Picasso would have stuck to drawing stick figures and there would be no art.
Give back. You will be unhappy and selfish if you don’t. This means giving back to the community you live in, giving back to your peers, giving back to your family and giving back to any cause that has given to you.
Be quirky. Show the world what makes you special. “No judgment.” Everyone is a little weird at times and when you share what makes you unique, you will feel more confident in your skin. You will also have people open up their creative sides and share their funny personalities with you. What is the end result? An exciting, diverse community.
Start with a bang. Your morning “pick me up” does not have to be Starbucks. Stretch. Open your blinds to peek outside. Have a go-to song that gets you excited about the day even if your alarm seems as evil as Voldemort.
End well. “Before you lay your head to sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep.” Someone wrote this one on the ladder to my loft bed. Thinking of things you are thankful for before bed will not only prevent you from having nightmares, but it will also leave you feeling satisfied as you gear up for a good night’s sleep.
Love. The “L” word keeps the world turning.
Jenna Dagenhart is a fourth-year trustee.