Last month, I talked about the stress that is placed on teens that are striving for academic achievement while simultaneously excelling in extracurricular activities. They want to get into a good college, follow their dreams, build a future and ultimately become “successful” adults. While these things may be important, growing up is not all about getting somewhere or becoming someone. We need to take time to find joy in the present moment, otherwise the journey to adulthood becomes overwhelming and loses its purpose.
In the daily routine of school, activities and homework, it can seem like there is an absence of free time to do something just because it’s fun or relaxing. But a closer look reveals there are many moments in each day that can be whatever you want them to be. Whether it’s sitting on a bus listening to a favorite album, going for a quick walk in the sunshine or just spending a few minutes with a friend, family member or pet, finding what makes you happy is vital.
When you have the chance to relax, you should absolutely take advantage of it. I recently had to travel a distance away for an interview and realized that Branch Brook Park was nearby. I made sure I was able to stop and spend time walking around, admiring the stunning cherry blossoms. Connecting with nature is an excellent way to release worries and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Just this simple break away was enough to clear my head of everything else going on and refuel my motivation.
Happiness does not have to be something that is expensive or time consuming, it can be found in the little things. Taking time to recognize the bright moments that enter your day and being grateful for them will increase your joy.
Hannah Adamson is a junior in high school. She practices meditation and takes ThetaHealing courses with Reshma Shah in Westfield, New Jersey. June 2018