We have been constructed to worry about our education and our future since our birth.
For the first 18 years of our lives, we constantly worry about grades, GPA, ACT/SAT/MCAT, college, and anything else related to the future. Schools drill in students’ minds how to differentiate an equation, the steps in cellular respiration, and game theory in microeconomics. After high school, we become worried about jobs, how to pay the bills, meeting a special someone, and other activities we need to do survive. However, from all the years we spend on education, we sometimes forget to remember one thing: are we happy?
Life moves quickly, and there is nothing we can do to change that. However, how we think and approach life can be change. The most important thing in life, in my opinion, is to slow down and achieve happiness. We need to learn how to slow down and remember what we have in life instead of always trying to chase what we do not have. The list below shows different approaches that we can integrate in our lives to be happier.
1. Slow down.
In this time and age, it is easy to fall into the mindset of instant gratification. Ask yourself three questions in this simple test of gratification:
- How quickly do you check your phone when you hear it ding?
- How often do you go on social media, see something that encourages you to make a goal, do not follow through with that goal and leave yourself disappointed?
- How often do you feel discouraged after having to wait a long time to achieve something?
If you feel that you constantly seek something and want it immediately, you have fallen in the spiral of instant gratification. Sometimes, you need to slow down and remember that what you work for will come in time and not overnight. This mindset does not only apply to work, social media and school. Some people might become disappointed that it takes them a while to meet a significant other, or that their boss does not notice their work within the first year of their job, or even get disappointed and livid when they do not win a video game. Life may be fast, but the events within it are rather slow and long. Slow down, take a breath, and believe that when the time is right, your gratification will arrive.
2. Think about what you have.
We live in the age of instant gratification through apps like Instagram, Facebook and SnapChat, causing us to feel unsatisfied with your life. You might think to yourself: How does that person have so many friends, do well in his/her job, have a successful relationship, and stay healthy while still having free time and money? Because of this mindset, I wanted to remind you to think about what you have. Try your best not to compare yourself to others, since they might have more or less resources that yourself. By focusing on yourself, you devote more time in self-improvement rather than self-loathing. Value your job, friends, family, significant other, or even that you ate today. Live your life, not someone else’s.
3. Look up.
If you have to guess how much time you spend on your phone, watching Netflix, or doing online shopping per day, what would you say? After answering that question, when was the last time that you had a face-to-face conversation with your parents, or even spent time with your friends without being bothered by your SnapChat notifications or emails from work?
We live in a society that is technology-driven. However, there is an easy entrance to a spiral where a person lives in a digital, made-believe world and not the physical world. I am guilty of doing this: going to an old classmate’s Instagram, then comparing what he has to what I have, and then I end up spiraling and feeling bad about myself. Despite this, I look up (physically). The next time you find yourself losing time living in the digital world and not so much in the world you’re actually living in, look up. When having a conversation with someone, look up and stare at their eyes and engage in something useful. When you’re traveling, look up and see the beautiful skyscrapers or mountains that light up your eyes. When spending time with your family, look up and remind yourself that we all have a limited time in this world. Don’t regret a last memory being a weak conversation because you did not look up.
I highly value my education, don’t get me wrong. However, there’s more to life that just studying, working, and performing activities due to the status quo. Remind yourself of what is important; it figure out what is important to you, I want you to slow down, think about what you have, and look up.