Double Down On Happiness

Emily Woodhouse Comment and Opinion

At the beginning of the year, I wrote out some plans for 2019. Not full on resolutions, but just an outline for where I was hoping to go in the next 365 days. One of the directions was happiness. I specifically used the phrase “double down on what makes you happy” and you guys really liked that.

What is Doubling Down on Happiness?

It’s fairly self explanatory, but let me be clear about what I mean. By doubling down on what makes you happy, I mean:

  • Work out things that you enjoy or make you happy
  • Do more of them

Specifically, double the amount of time you spend on them already. There are two ways you can come at this. Either you notice something you enjoy and commit to do more of it. Or, you look at how you split your time and see what proportion of it you spend on things you enjoy. Then shift the balance.

Remember: don’t forget to ask WHY the thing makes you happy in the first place.

They say that happiness is a journey not a destination. Yep, enormous cliche. But it makes a point that happiness is a gradual shift not a sudden change. Don’t expect to reach a certain age or position or wealth and suddenly be happy. It takes small changes in what we do every day – and how we approach life – to be happier.

A Mountain Rescue Analogy

In Mountain Rescue, we have a search technique called “purposeful wandering”. This means that instead of walking in a straight line, from where you are to where you’re going, you wander. But you’re not just wandering about aimlessly. You’ve got a rough idea of direction, but a bit of flexibility to investigate things you pass nearby.

This seems like a good analogy for what I’ve been doing with my life these past 3 years: I’ve been purposefully wandering. I set out in a direction but it’s not a rigid path. I’ve let myself wander a bit, investigate things, try what looks interesting and see where that leads. Basically giving myself permission to try things out and see if I like them.

I would really encourage you to have a go at this. Particularly if you’ve just had a big life change (like finished university, quit a job, come back from an adventure of a lifetime…). After all these things, and more, you can feel like you’re supposed to be on a straight road to where you want to be. That’s how I felt too.

I talk about my path to where I am now in: The Hazards of Regular Adventure

But in reality, I’m learning that it’s okay to try things out. You can always change your mind or decide that actually you don’t like the thing you tried. But at least you tried.

If you’re feeling completely lost, then have a read of Thoughts On Being Alright. It’s a post I wrote when I was definitely not feeling alright. Complete with another outdoor/navigation related analogy 🙂

What are you doing to double down on what makes you happy? Drop me a comment and help give us all ideas!