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Searching for “Happiness”

I’ve watched nearly every YouTube video, listened to dozens of podcasts, and read a ton of self-help books in an attempt to find the answer to the question, “How do I find happiness?”  

A few things I’ve realized from all this research is that happiness will never have one single source. Happiness is multidimensional and should come from finding beauty in the various things around you. Practicing meditation has allowed me to understand this concept and practice the act of gratitude. Being grateful for what you have helps overcome feelings of not having enough or never feeling satisfied. Being grateful for the things we often take for granted, such as being able to breathe, the ability to see, or having all 10 toes. I try to concentrate on these throughout my meditation practices. By concentrating on what may seem like little things, I’ve found time and space to express gratitude to my body for all that it can do, which has helped me find happiness within.  

Finding my values is another way in which I have been able to foster more happiness and fulfillment in my life. I have a type-A personality, meaning my definition of self-worth has traditionally come from how many things I can check off a to-do list in a day. I realized that although this is a productive way to live, it’s not very healthy and I wasn’t very happy. I have recently shifted this goal-based mindset into a value-based mindset. By having a value-based mindset, I have shifted from living life trying to get everything done, to living each moment in alignment with my values. I can choose to concentrate on two or three tasks that allow me to live up to my specific values rather than striving to complete ten things to be productive. By doing tasks that are consistent with my values, I feel less worried about my to-do list and discovered that I’ve made more progress toward my important goals this way. 

Lastly, I have found that the practice of mindfulness has allowed me to find more fulfillment in my journey here on Earth. Mindfulness means to live in the present moment. As humans with consciousness, we often get lost in the train of our thoughts, detached from reality, and operating on autopilot. By practicing mindfulness, you are practicing paying attention to the real world. Defusing my thoughts and allowing them to pass by has enriched my experience of what I am doing in the present moment. It has helped my memory, and overall has allowed me to have richer relationships and experiences.  

Life is not about achieving a state of perfection. I believe that it is about embracing the journey of self-discovery, enjoying the ebbs and flows of life, and learning how to practice self-care with kindness and compassion. If you want to be on a path of happiness, I highly recommend starting small. First take a deep breath, sit quietly, and enjoy the present moment. Start with just one, then another, and another. Think about the values you want to embody from here on out. Commit to enjoying the journey and yourself!  

Ashlee Zaragoza, Outreach Coordinator

Ashlee Zaragoza is an Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Leadership from UNO in December of 2022. Ashlee has previous experience in leadership, management, hospitality and training development. Ashlee’s life experiences and passion for suicide prevention and mental health advocacy brought her to The Kim Foundation as a volunteer in May 2023. Ashlee’s passion for people has driven her into this role where she will be a supportive resource and compassionate voice for those affected by suicide and mental health. She currently focuses on outreach through presentations, events, and community initiatives.