How to be Happy Living Simply During Good Times and During Recessions

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
~ Maria Robinson

I have a suspicion that I think there is an inverse correlation with happiness and robust economies. I say this because I have traveled around a bit and I am always surprised at the joy that so many poor people seem to carry like bright candles in their hearts.

This is not to say that poverty is not a mean and nasty mistress. But I think it is important to bear in mind the fact that the gift of joy or happiness is not one that can be bought or is bestowed only upon those who are rich in physical gifts. So let me offer you my recipe for how to be happy living simply in good times and recessions.

Let’s call this the how of happiness or even the Tao of happiness. Learning how to be happy life is about reconnecting with all those gifts that are already around us.

1. Life’s not serious

There is that hackneyed cliche that nothing is certain except death and taxes. In fact I’d chop it in half and without being morbid suggest that birth is a death sentence. We all die. The billionaires of the world and the Saints of the world.

If that single thread holds us in common. If life is just a brief candle that is blown out by the Sandman, then surely we need to take ourselves less seriously.

I know this might sound counter intuitive. You might think, c’mon, life should be taken very seriously, it is after all so short and brief and personal. Yes, that’s right. Life is short and brief and personal and that is exactly why we should not take it seriously. Hear me out.

Life is a precious gift and precious gifts should be cared for and enjoyed. We must honor the gift of life in all creatures, both great and small. We must never carelessly all needlessly snuff out that glimmering spark of life in anyone. However, this does not mean we shouldn’t enjoy the gift of life and take it lightly.

Knowing that nothing we do here really is of great and long lasting importance – aside from how we treat one another – shouldn’t we have fun?

This is what I am suggesting. Find that inner passion, that spark that fuels you and burn it brightly. Light up your life, your journey and leave a blazing trail like a burning rocket. This is how to be happy with yourself.

2. Share yourself with others

If you are asking yourself “how can I be happy?” I think taking a look at others can offer some insight. Those who are materially poor often seem to be amongst the happiest if they have the necessities of life.

And I think a big reason for this is that sense of community. I know I have read that depression and loneliness are endemic in the West but not so much in the Third World. This is because we have lost our way.

We take life too seriously and we have severed the bonds of friendship and connection. Share yourself with others is one sure antidote to depression and loneliness. We are all part of the fabric of the whole and we are “whole” when we are intertwined with one another and feel that connection deeply and closely.

This is true if you want to be happy as a single person too. I am not suggesting that everyone needs to be partnered. But we do need to be connected.

Join groups of like minded people. Find a new hobby and reach out to others. I know it can seem hard and intimidating, but just take baby steps. Find a MeetUp group you’d like to join. Say hello to a stranger in a coffee shop or out on the bike path. The small things add up and soon you realize that people don’t bite. That most of us are good and kind and yearning for the same companionship as you are.

3. Blaze a trail like a bright burning comet

If you want to learn how to become happy or how to find happiness again, then let your life burn brightly like a blazing comet against the night sky.

I think this is especially important during recessions and depressions. Now is the time you can see life by the marrow. Now is the time to take the risks and become who you wanted to be when you were just a little girl.

I don’t care if you are 27 or 77, you can still manifest your destiny, or at the very least die trying. One of the best ways to be happy is to use up your gifts fully.

Did you want to become a nurse? Then start. Take a night class or two. Did you want to become a ballerina but you find yourself 77 and arthritic? It’s still not to late to enjoy dance and a healthy lifestyle.

It continues to amaze me what the human spirit is capable of accomplishing. You might not become the next Van Gogh, but you can still learn to fulfill that yearning inside of you to paint starry nights and find bliss in the doing of it.

Learning how to be happy in life or the recipe for a happy life if you will is to understand that happiness and contentment are all around us.

The happy life is a journey and not a destination. Travel the road of a happy life which is made up of small decisions every day that make you happy. Will that donut make you happy in the long run? If it will then enjoy it, but if you then wake up again tomorrow overweight, stressed and still eating poorly then perhaps the joy of not eating it will be more magnificent than the momentary pleasure of the tasty morsel.

Yes, this is about the small things and the big things. How to have a happy life is about being vigilant about the decisions we make every day.

Dig deep and find those seeds that need to bloom within you. Those seeds of thought about what you want to become. Life is to short and should be seized. Connect with yourself, with others, share, love and laugh. The secret to a happy life is loving people, putting possessions in their proper place and sharing. Sharing your wealth, your health and your gifts with the world. Shine a corner to light up some dark place and you will be happy my friend.

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