My blog title - the "Happy Triathlete"- is really important to me. You see, I've learned a lot about happiness and how to be happy especially over the past year. Happiness to me is a mindset and a way of travelling through life. Happiness is a choice - it comes from the way we choose to react to situations, the way we choose to treat other people (and ourselves), and the way we choose to see the world. I want to share a few of the things that I've learned and how they relate to regular life, but also to life as a triathlete.
1) Don't sweat the small stuff: If we let little things get to us, we aren't going to be happy. I used to let every little thing annoy me, but I've learned to not sweat the small stuff, especially the stuff that is out of my control. The less I worry about little things, the more I can focus on the awesome, amazing things in life.
2) Look for the good in every situation: Life can be hard and we can face setbacks, disappointment, and tough times. If we take each situation as a learning opportunity and look for the good, the silver lining as they say, we can move forward with more experience and more gratitude for the good times. Dwell on the positive, learn from the situation, and move on to the next experience! In triathlon, if you have a "bad" race, take the positives from it and learn from the things that didn't go exactly as you wanted them to, then apply them to your next race!
3) Give yourself a break! This applies in several ways to your happiness. One - if something isn't making you happy, take a break from it and evaluate whether you really need it in your life. Two - if you are stressed, tired, cranky, or burnt out, give yourself some rest and rejuvenate your soul. Three - Be kind to yourself, be gentle with yourself, and remember that you are human and not superman.
4) Celebrate the achievements of other people: Be truly excited for the success of your friends and family. Share in their excitement and happiness. Encourage them to reach for their dreams!
5) Smile as much as possible: Smiling can automatically brighten your mood. If you put on a smile, you will be hard pressed to continue to feel down or disappointed about a situation. Find a reason to smile and find reasons to make others smile. In triathlon, smile during your race, smile at the spectators and the volunteers to forget the pain!
6) Wake up each day with a grateful heart! Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Wake up each day grateful to be alive and to have the opportunity to experience another new day. The more you express your gratitude, the more things you will find to be grateful for.
7) Tie yourself to a goal, not to people or objects (to paraphrase Albert Einstein): Having a goal to work toward gives us a sense of purpose and challenges us. Do the things that you love, chase after your dreams and the things that make you really feel like you are alive!
8) Remember that life is about having fun: If you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong. Seek out the fun and try not to take life too seriously.