Practicing gratitude protects us from our own pettiness and smallness and keeps us centered in the joy and abundance of our own life.” Deborah Adele
Ok. So my intention wasn’t to “blog” quarterly, but, hey, if it happens to be months between each posting, so be it. I’m trying to cut out stress not add to it, right?! Stuff happens. I’m sure you can relate (rather than judge). No time, blah blah blah. But today I feel like writing. Subject : happiness. Yeah!!! Happy thoughts!!!! I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately, about trying to find it when it doesn’t seem possible, and really making life changes to create it.
Think about it for a moment: What makes you happy? Go beyond the “of course it does” answers – husband, wife, kids, siblings, parents, job, food, etc. and really challenge the question. Identify your personal strengths and list what is meaningful in your life. Start small, and continue to grow throughout the process. I always say “one day at a time” and I truly believe it’s the best way.
My son, for example, makes me smile simply because that is what he always does – smile. It IS contagious. Funny enough, his teacher asked me the other day “does he always smile?”. I said (proudly no doubt), “Yes!”. Just like his grandpa.
So. Here is me, getting my “happiness factor” back. My girlfriend ironically brought me out of a “feeling like I-wanted -to-poke-my-eyes-out-sort-of-depression” by telling me that I continue to impact others in a positive way – just as I had always done. And, I thought, blah blah. But then I realized – she was right!! Yes, I do. And that is what is creating happiness. But its not just me impacting others – it’s others influencing me! Not incredibly ‘turn of the century’ stuff here, but fun to think about.
Clearly, if you know me, you would know family makes me incredibly happy. I thank my lucky stars everyday for being given such a wonderful family. It’s a given. But when I peal down to the next layer, there lies a new list – the daily things you can do more of, or less of, or simply gain control of. Here it goes…
I recently started a small group conditioning class. Making people improve on themselves makes me happy. This weekend, one of my clients successfully finished something she didn’t think possible a mere year ago – the Malibu triathlon. She was stoked!! Being proud of people makes me happy. I have been meeting a lot of new people with school just recently starting. These great personalities make me happy. I have an amazing network of friends I can reach out to at any time of day or night. That helps me relax, which, of course = happiness. My son built a toy crane machine out of stuff lying around the house. His creativity always makes me happy. And my daughter? Just the other day she came downstairs in some crazy layered gymnast meets dancer meets Richard Simmons outfit – prepared for her “first day of gymnastics”. She is funny. Not a care in the world, just excited, and, well, happy.
Now I feel like I could write and write and write – damn I AM lucky! Keep a “what makes me happy list” and take a look when you need that reminder, that “pick me up”. The cool thing is it came from you – you influenced yourself.
I was just reading in one of my magazines and it said exercise may well be the most effective instant happiness booster of all activities. Alrighty then, I’m going to go on a run and i might not be back for a while! Hardly the case but i am convinced physical activity gives you the ability to be happier. Or at least feel happier?! I know some of you may argue with this, but why? That probably wouldn’t make you happy. I’m not saying when you want to feel happy you should break into 25 pushups. But, hey, it can’t hurt right? I can think of the days I didn’t get any endorphins in, and… well… Let’s just say, not as happy as I probably would’ve been. It helps.
Maybe the whole exercise thing isn’t for you. Then find something else that creates this flow of endorphins. You know what it is.
The article also talks about observing and accepting life, not just identifying with it. We can all say we need to appreciate life a little more, but do we? Think of what pissed us off recently, made us sad, etc. and grab a big world picture of it. Appreciate what we are given and where we are – TODAY.
There is a great quote from a British author – Holbrook Jackson. “happiness is a form of courage”. I am finding this true beyond belief right now. Sometimes it’s not easy to be happy, but like everything else in life, with proper focus and practice, anything is possible.
I leave you with a song I haven’t listened to in quite some time until the recent London games. “Always look on the bright side of life. ”
There is always that silver lining – get out and find it!