I Asked 17 People What Happiness Means to Them…

A while ago, I was on Instagram and I was inspired by a post that said “Happiness is…” – I turned to my Mum and asked her what her answer would be, and found that it was completely different to my own. Whilst I answered with an abstract definition, my Mum answered with a real-life concrete example. It made me wonder what everyone else would make of this question.

So, on my quest to figure out different people’s thinking processes, I asked people I know to answer the question too, with the first thought that popped into their head!

At first, I thought about the Myers Briggs personality type – would intuitives be more likely to reply with an abstract answer, and sensors with an example grounded in real life? However, I found there wasn’t a pattern at all, and both overlapped one another.

I found it so interesting listening to everybody’s answers and I think it’s also a great way of learning more about others and the way that they think. So, here is a list of all the answers I received!

I hope it brings a little more happiness to your day!


Happiness is when you are accepting and at peace with yourself and the world around you.

Happiness is walking in nature.

Happiness is being content with what you have in this world and being the best version of yourself.

Happiness is pets.

Happiness is peace.

Happiness is good.

Happiness is to forget about the world and just concentrate on dancing, creating art with the flow of your body to music.

Happiness is travel.

Happiness is freedom and laughter, being lost in a moment where all you feel and all you are is in the present moment.

Happiness is hope.

Happiness is spending time with friends and family and being grateful for what you have.

Happiness is a choice.

Happiness is feeling loved, feeling like you have enough and are enough.

Happiness is when you find beauty in the simple things of life, when you put love of nature before your own desires.

Happiness is seeing your children happy.

Happiness is contentment, a treasure buried inside of you, waiting to be found within.

Happiness is hugs.

Happiness is happiness.


I hope you found it interesting reading everyone’s answers!

I’d love to make this into a series with more fill-in-the-gap questions, so let me know if you’d be interested in reading this kind of post again, or feel free to suggest future questions!

And don’t forget to leave your own definition of happiness in the comments below – I’d love to hear it!


Are you on a Journey to Happiness?

A few weeks ago I discovered a new You Tuber – Rowena Tsai. I instantly felt connected to what she was sharing and I could relate a lot, particularly at this moment in my life. So here is a piece inspired by her discussions, but also by my own journey with happiness, where I am trying to maintain the happiest version of myself. I hope this might help in creating and maintaining your own happiest version of yourself too.

I think it’s interesting how we’re all on our own journey of happiness. We all exist on our separate scales – some people are right at the bottom, some people are right at the top, and then there’s a range of people dotted about the middle. Every now and again it’s beneficial to take a mini time out and contemplate where you are on this scale. Why are you at this mark on the scale? Why are you not higher or lower on this scale? What are you doing that consciously makes you a happier person? Sometimes life is so busy we don’t stop to contemplate what we are actually doing with our lives.

I think contemplating happiness and being aware of your own happiness is the first step in actually creating a journey to increase it, but even at this stage it is hardly enough to motivate you to change anything. When I was feeling low, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to change, it was that I didn’t know how to change, and even when I did, I was fearful of it. When your mind says to you ‘you can’t change’ or ‘there’s nothing you can do’ it is putting up a barrier because it’s afraid of what’s out there. The mind’s habits have become so comforting that it doesn’t want to lose them. Sometimes I feel myself wanting to drift back to lower mood for no reason and I think it’s because that’s what my mind has been used to for so long – the mind does not eradicate negativity overnight.

It’s weird because, when I look back on how I used to be (before I decided to make positive changes to my life),  I didn’t feel like I was that depressed at the time. The saying of “losing interest in things you used to enjoy” I believed didn’t apply to me, since I was still doing all my hobbies and I was still going about my everyday life. What I didn’t realise was that the happiness that used to come from these activities was like a numbed version of happiness – an exterior happiness that I believed was there but inside was empty. I was just existing in a cycle I was doing only because I thought it was what I wanted – and partially it was what I wanted, but the problem wasn’t with the activities, it was with my mindset.

It’s only now, in the present, that I can feel and understand the difference in my mood. Now, when I do those same hobbies it’s like a completely different experience. I take part in them not because they are part of my routine, but because I genuinely want to take part in them – I feel excited by the prospect of them. If you are partaking in a hobby and your body isn’t genuinely thrilled to be doing it, then ask yourself why are you even doing it? Does it make you feel good? Are you doing it for yourself not other people? This can be used in all areas of life too – why do you do any of the habits that you do? If you don’t have a sufficient answer, then maybe that’s a habit to adapt or eliminate from your life.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what happiness is. If you’ve felt the same way for a long time you know no different. But from my experience, I can tell I’m happier because the world and the future excites me. I can tell I’m happier simply because I’m motivated to get up and do things and explore the world, rather than sit in a monotonous pattern. And wow, is it so freeing. It is so freeing to just sit and think about my life, smile and not have anything bad to say about it. It’s a state of peace and acceptance. Accepting the bad for what it is and allowing it to change myself as a person, because that is the reason why it is there.

I feel like the last few years has been a journey of turning my mindset upside down. I used to wonder how people could be so positive – it seemed unrealistic and impractical – but now I realise that those people are positive because that’s the only way they can live happy lives. They’ve been let in on the secret that the only way to move past difficult patches in your life is to train your mind out of the negativity in order to overcome it. And it’s not a secret at all – it just takes a while for some of us to really understand it. Certain events in life happen and you can let them tear you down, but why choose to be unhappy when you can make changes to improve your life?

I think the journey of happiness is hardly a straight forward path. There are ups and downs and I guarantee you I will fall back down at some point in my life. But I’m no longer scared of it. I trust that the world will run its course and I trust that I will be able to get myself out of it just like I’ve done before.

Where are you on your journey of happiness?

And what did you change to get there?

4BC935E5-310F-4D5A-841B-5BD4869F4221

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

3 year blogging anniversary!

So today I was really excited to find out that I’ve been blogging for 3 whole years now! If you’d asked me on the 8th May 2016 whether I would still be blogging in 2019, I probably would have thought: woahh that’s so far ahead and would take a lot of dedication. Somehow, I’ve made it!

Honestly, starting up a blog was the best decision I ever made. It has become such a huge part of my life that I can’t imagine not doing it. How else would I share all the thoughts roaming around inside my head?

It was only recently that I posted about reaching 500 followers. Considering my blog has always been a chilled out place for me, with no intention of creating a huge audience, 500 followers in 3 years I’d say is pretty mad. But not as insane as these stats:

 

img_9133

How I’ve managed to accumulate over 11,000 views and 5,000 visitors is completely beyond me??

Something that always gives me a purpose in life is knowing that I can make a difference to people’s lives, whether that is making them happy or giving them advice or simply providing an interesting conversation. Looking at my blog stats reminds me that I do this all the time simply by blogging my thoughts; I’m putting my words out there for you guys to read and it makes a slight difference to your day, even if it’s small. And that really makes me so happy and proud.

How False is your Facebook Profile?

If I was told to imagine myself on a page, I would not imagine my Facebook profile. I would not imagine specifically chosen photos and an endless list of ‘friends’. I wouldn’t imagine birthday messages from fake people or tagged posts of empty happiness. I wouldn’t imagine any of that because, in reality, it doesn’t sum up me.

I find it so weird when I look at my Facebook profile. I want to say it is me but it isn’t, not really. I’ve chosen photos I genuinely love to feature on my page, and yet it still doesn’t feel real. That’s because everything on Facebook is shared due to a chosen decision. The user decides to share it and that’s why it pops up on our newsfeed. It makes sense that we want to share the happy moments. We want to remember the good times so we can look back on it and smile. But, ironically, we look at others and frown.

Social media is something I have a love-hate relationship with. There are days when I have to switch it off. There are days when I can feel the lives of other’s creeping into my head and those are the days I have to stop myself from endlessly scrolling. You’d think my profile is a more confident version of me – I think for a lot of people it is. But a lot of the time I feel like it is a weak version of me. It is the type of me who isn’t completely myself. It is the type of me who is aware of all these people and feels scared to confront them all at the same time. Equally, I feel like I don’t owe it to them. Most of my friends on Facebook I’m not that close with, so why should they see the real me? How would I even go about presenting the real me on Facebook without posting all the time? And if I did post all the time, wouldn’t that just be an act of justification, as if I have to prove to others that this is how I am? It’s all just an elaborate game and there’s no way to win.

Social media would be a lot different if we shared our lows. It would actually be a real portrayal of life. However, imagine scrolling through your newsfeed to look at a bunch of crying faces or depressed statuses. Wouldn’t that make us just as sad, if not more sad, than seeing other’s happy when we ourselves are depressed? It seems there’s no way to avoid negativity when it comes to social media. We are either saddened by other people’s tragedies, or we are saddened by the fact that we can’t be as happy as others.

I’m really glad I started blogging because, although WordPress is a community similar to social media, it is a place where I share the real me – both the highs and lows. It is a place where I don’t feel afraid to say that I’m feeling down. It is a place where if I see another blogger’s post and it saddens me, I don’t scroll but I actively involve myself in trying to help. It’s the kind of interaction that you just don’t get on Facebook – at least, not with those you’re not close to. On WordPress, it’s as if everyone is a friend – a real friend – whether you know them or not. And that’s what I love about it. It’s the kind of social media we never had.

If you’re reading this post and you think your Facebook profile does sum up you, look again. Look harder. Because an online profile can never live up to your life as a person, as much as you try. It can never replicate the pure joy of laughing until you cry; endless conversations into early hours of the morning; silent car journeys that are more meaningful than talk. It can never replicate the most important parts of being human. It can never replicate the unique personality that is you.

365 Days of Happiness [*Gifted* Book Review]

365 Days of Happiness is a book that aims to bring happiness into each day of your life. When I first saw the cover, my brain instinctively thought it was a cookery book because it has a giant cupcake on the front and I’m a little obsessed with food. However, it is just symbolising the notion that gaining happiness can be simple; a piece of cake. Reading this book is one way of learning how to make it simple.img_7694

A lot of the time when you’re in a state of sadness you feel like there’s no way out of it. Happiness seems like gold in a bottle that’s been thrown over a cliff and smashed at the bottom of it. However, a lot of the time this is just our minds overthinking the process or trying to fight it. Instead, a moment of embracing it is a way of finding a solution.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started this book. I have a ‘One Line a Day’ book where I write a few lines each day (so I can see what I was doing on the same day the year before); however, I hadn’t actually read anything that used this concept. At first, it was all about getting into the habit of reading it right before I got up every morning. I think this is a good way to use it because it sets you up for the day with positive thinking.

There are times in this book when I feel like the writing is a little cliche. I can be a bit of a cynic sometimes and I’m getting a lot better at being positive, but sometimes I feel like it’s almost too positive, bordering on cringey. Perhaps that says more about me than the book itself, but maybe my views will change as I continue to read it.

Despite this, some of the content is actually useful. It reminded me of things that I often forget – that I am free and have power over what I do and what I feel; that there is a connection and a sameness to all our days although we are different people. One particular day I liked was the focus on creating a personal happiness list. It suggested writing a list of the things that make you feel like you could hug the world and then turning to these things in moments of need. It’s one of those things that seems obvious but we often forget. When I feel upset I automatically retreat or cry or listen to sad music, but instead I should think of all the things I enjoy and push myself out of it. Music is something that has always helped me through things and yet sometimes I forget that it’s there when I’m not feeling myself. I need to create more time in my day for jamming out to my favourite tunes because it always boosts my mood.

I’m looking forward to seeing what else this book has to offer over the course of the next year. Although it isn’t normally my kind of read, I think it’s good to read something different every now and again. New insight into the world and new insight into your mind.

Is any music actually happy?

A while ago I was having a conversation about music (which isn’t all that surprising) when I suddenly thought about the difference between happy and sad music. Happy music we naturally associate with upbeat pop-like songs that put us in a good mood and make us feel like we can power through the day. Sad songs are thought of as having slow and acoustic melodies with deep and meaningful lyrics. However, it suddenly occurred to me that couldn’t this all just be false? Couldn’t all music be melancholic since that’s what causes people to write and sing in the first place?

I strongly believe that a lot of people write, sing or go into this kind of industry because they’ve dealt with a lot of powerful emotions and experiences. It’s actually the case with a lot of writers and singers – that they’ve dealt with either mental health issues or a tough past or some sort of struggle where they’ve had to be like, hey, I need somewhere to channel this energy in a way that isn’t me just taking it out on everyone. And I think it’s admirable because it’s hard to share these sorts of things through something as vulnerable as music.

I admit that sometimes I dismiss certain types/genres of music because it seemingly has no meaning to it. I listen to it on a base level, to just have fun, but I don’t really connect to it (and hence stick to my main taste in music). However, just because a song’s lyrics aren’t advanced, doesn’t mean the song itself doesn’t come from a hard place. It can be the happiest song in existence but perhaps it was channeled through a destructive mind. And this is so much like us as humans. Some humans act happy, like happy songs, when they’re actually struggling, and some humans embrace that struggling and acknowledge themselves, similar to sad songs. And when you think of it like that, all songs are worth something. They all have some origin to them that none of us could even try to understand. Just because a song is happy doesn’t mean it is happy.

So when we get joy out of ‘happy’ songs, is it even real? Is it just us embracing that music exists because we all feel and hurt too much? Maybe. But is there even anything wrong with this? If all music is sad, then does it make us bad people? Or are we just better at accepting ourselves?

Gaining Freedom + Embracing Change

Today I was having a conversation with a friend and it made me think about freedom. When we’re part of the education system, whether at primary school, secondary, taking A levels or doing a degree, we’re somewhat tied down to a place and a subject and a particular thing that really doesn’t give us a lot of space for change. It’s not a bad thing. Sometimes it’s necessary to focus on a goal. Sometimes it’s nice to feel grounded. But lately, I’ve been feeling so excited for summer and I think that’s mostly because I’m excited for change and new opportunities.

Change is something that I used to find really daunting. I still do find it daunting but I think I’m starting to realise how much I actually like it. I find it hard to change myself and my mindset when I’m stuck in the same place because I associate it with bad memories or have already set myself out in a certain way and I feel like I can’t delve much away from that. However with change, I can start again. With change comes excitement and when I’m stuck in the same place the excitement dies away and I miss it. I think it’s nice to seek it again once in a while.

Education is something that I’ve realised limits this freedom; this urge to move around and seek new things and see the world – literally, and the one inside your head. University is the first time this freedom really grew as I finally got to see a new city and meet new people and it’s such a great experience. But again, like I’ve said, the excitement dies down. That’s why I’m really glad I’ll be in a new accommodation next year with different people and doing different modules because I love the idea of starting afresh as if I’m in first year again.

It’s only when I finish uni entirely though, that I will feel completely free for the first time. With no ties to education, I’m thrown into the world of finding jobs which is scary, but I have the freedom to move wherever I like. It’s actually crazy to think about because in five years time all my friends might be in completely different areas and completely different countries but I’ll still be able to keep in contact and travel to meet them and I think it’ll be a really exciting part of my life. I have no idea where I’d like to be but I’m so ready to try out different places and find somewhere I’d like to stay. Or if I like moving around then maybe I could do that too.

Having this conversation made me think about how I don’t have to ground myself in one place for the rest of my life. I think things wear off on me. Maybe it’s a bad thing but maybe it happens to all of us but some of us just live through it whilst others decide to seek new things. I think life is too short to just settle though. I hope that if I’m unhappy living somewhere I will move somewhere where I can be happy again. Although surroundings can’t change your mind I think they do really affect it. It makes me understand why some people constantly travel or never stay in the same place for very long. They’re just making the most of that exciting feeling you get when you visit somewhere new and want to capture everything like it’s your first and your last moment at the same time. I think that’s something you can’t really beat. I think that’s why I love travelling so much and feel in such a good mood when doing so. It’s inspiring and makes me want to make the most of everything I see and do.

Hopefully I can look back on this in the future and it’ll spur me to make a change if I’m not feeling right, or maybe I’ll look back knowing I’ve already been to all the places I want to and have found a place I am content with. Either way, the goal is to be happy. And if I’m not happy, then changes should always be made.