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7 simple steps that will increase your happiness

everyone’s been there. it’s like that scene from a sad movie. it’s raining, your staring out the window. lost and confused. maybe we made a mistake, or maybe more than just one… maybe we just got caught on a path different from the one we intended. it could be a friend, a relationship, an experience. heck, maybe it’s just a bad day or week or year and there’s no reason for it at all. the problem with social media is that it’s easy to fall into thinking that nobody has any problems and life is perfect for just about everyone, but really it’s no secret that we all face challenges and at times the world can feel overwhelming and heavy. i’ve had my share of what i like to call “breakdown days”, especially in the last few years,  but i also have learned some very valuable lessons on how to find my way back to happiness. i definitely don’t have it all figured out and like everyone, i still go through days and weeks that are harder then i wish they were, but i have learned to cherish happy, and i thought i would share a few simple things i try to focus on every day to do so.

1. focus on the things you can control and create healthy habits

my sister is always telling me not to worry about the things that are out of my control, and she is right.

for me, that was my health. i have a tendency to let my health take the tole when dealing with stress and anxiety, and after having to spend an entire afternoon in the hospital on IV and losing 20lbs in 2 weeks i knew i had to make a change no matter what i was going through. one random day after eating nothing but wheat-thin crackers and trail mix i started to research healthy eating and actually for the first time in my life started taking an active interest in cooking (simple cooking, haha). i stocked my fridge and my cupboards with healthy foods and threw out the wheat-thins. i bought watercup with a straw that helped me drink more water (it really works and i drink 3x as much water as i used to!) and made daily exercise goals on my calendar. this has probably had the largest effect on my happiness. don’t get me wrong, it’s not that i have gone on some crazy health kick fad-diet, i still love drinking beers on the beach and pizza is pretty much my favorite thing on the planet, but being active, drinking more water and having more knowledge on what foods are good and bad has given me something to focus on that i know has a positive effect on my body. i am in control of my health, i have more energy and i just feel better in general. plus i am spending wayyyy less money on eating out when i have a few simple and delicious healthy meals i know i can make at home:)

2. develop a morning routine.

i am not a morning person. i am the girl who will hit the snooze button 14 times until i am actually late to whatever i am doing just to try and get a few extra minutes of sleep. i love staying up wayyy too late and then can never seem to get out of bed in the morning (shocking), but in the last 8 months i have really been trying to get myself into a routine. i know i hate waking up too early so 8:30am seemed reasonable for my daily alarm, and when i get up i immediately put on my running shorts and sports bra so i am already dressed to either go for a run or work out in some form. i found that if i don’t immediately do this, that this part of my day never happens. and on the days i don’t feel like running i’ll just go for 10 minutes and i always feel better after i do. i’ll then come back to the house and make a good breakfast, take care of my emails and i’m ready to take on the day.  it’s amazing how big of a difference doing this one simple thing can make!

3. find happy every single day, it’s there, you just have to look for it

on bad days i have to remember this. my business coach told me once to “find happy every single day” and i’ve really taken it to heart. even on the worst days we can find happiness, all we have to do is look for it. it can be something as simple as seeing your favorite flower or taking time to watch the sunset. maybe it is hearing your favorite song on the radio, or a wave from a stranger. whatever it is, take a moment to acknowledge it and let yourself smile. it’s so easy to focus on all that is going wrong, give yourself a chance to focus on the good, even the simplest things that make you smile every day.

4. surround yourself with good energy and get rid of the drama.

happiness is contagious and so is drama. surround yourself with people who are grateful for every day and love to laugh and adventure. we all know good people when we see them, cherish and grow those friendships and free yourself from the negativity.

5. set small achievable goals to focus on and work towards

back in december i decided to write down a few goals on a sticky note and post them up on my fridge where i would see them every day. i wrote:

learn how to do a fishtail braid
drink 8 glasses of water per day,
run for 20 minutes 5 days a week,
learn to cook 4 meals

as small as these things are, it’s so awesome to look back and see that i have stuck to all of them. i looked up fishtail braiding on youtube that same day and tried it, and it’s now my favorite way to wear my hair. i drink 8 glasses of water a day easy, i have been running for 8 months and finally don’t hate it as much as i used to, and i learned how to cook 4 meals plus some! wheww. go team! these things give me a sense of accomplishment and something to work towards, i think it’s probably time to make a few new goals now too:)

6. get outside and even better, get outside of your comfort zone.

something as simple as getting outside and going for a walk can turn around your day, and if your feeling stuck or overwhelmed, sometimes we just need a new perspective. go on a hike, the views at the top always give you a sense of accomplishment and we are quickly reminded how incredible and beautiful the world really is. (plus it’s great for instagram…haha, whatever motivates you, right?!?! ;)) even better if you can, book a one-way ticket. go visit an old friend or a place you’ve always dreamed of going. force yourself to live life a little bit even if it takes a little extra work to figure out how to make it fly. you might be surprised at how awesome you feel afterwards and how a change of perspective can turn things around.

7. write it down and know tomorrow is a new day

my dads advice is always one i follow and as weird as it may sound, it really does work. write down the things that are bothering you on paper. once you see it in front of you you’ll either get a better idea on how to tackle them, or you’ll realize it’s not as bad as you thought. things are overwhelming and often exaggerated when they live inside your head. it’s okay to have down days, just try and get a good sleep and know that things are always better in the morning. tomorrow is a new day!

hope that helps anyone out there who is struggling, and if anyone has any other tips share them in the comments section, i’d love to hear them! feel free to share and/or click the “like” button below if you think this might help someone!

thanks so much for being here and i hope you all have a beautiful day!
xo, meg.

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  1. Salli Brown says:

    good things to live by, a great attitude. Well done Meg Courtney, Photographer

  2. Mercedes Kathleen Takacs says:

    Thanks for sharing that your amazing!!❤️ You truly are!

  3. Shaylin Conroy says:

    this is awesome! your posts inspire me, and a lot of these things I have already done myself, and i totally agree that they are SO true! great job xx

  4. Stephanie Wise says:

    She’s smart too folks – moral of the story here, learn how to fishtail braid. (Jk this is actually very profound and stuff) proud of your wisdom sister!

  5. Kayla Mae Knight says:

    So great! Just what I needed today! Love all of your blogs 🙂

  6. Katherine Anez says:

    Thanks Meg Courtney, Photographer This is honestly exactly what I needed to see and read.. couldn’t have had better timing

  7. Ashley Willan says:

    Very well written Meg! It’s amazing what some good food, exercise and sleep can do for the soul 🙂 good for you for all the running.. I Can’t do it!! Love ya!

  8. Mindy Lynn Smith says:

    I so needed to read this right now. My photography has hit a bit of a slump. I seem to get into a rut too easily and its hard to dig myself out sometimes. And life just makes it harder it seems sometimes. Thanks for the inspiration. I’ve followed your work for a while now and it inspires me!!!! So beautiful, just like you! <3 XOXO



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