I believe that Happiness is a DIY project and needs constant practice. Not difficult. But as with anything that looks simple, we need reminders to help us make it a habit.
It all starts with self-love and self-care, you know. When we take good care of ourselves, we are happier and in a better position to make others happy.
Celebrating International Day Of Happiness today, I am sharing how I invest in my happiness. I take out what I put in!
There I go again! But let’s face it. If we don’t focus on our own happiness, who will? I certainly know how my ever-growing too-much-to-do list brings up priorities and unless I manually write “happiness” at the top, it ain’t happening! I work hard not to sabotage my own happiness. I DIY the ‘eck out of it!
Another of my favorite quotes “Fail to plan and you plan to fail” (I see my son smiling in my head). This applies to everything in life. So maybe I like to
procrastinate go by my gut instincts but I usually have the big picture in view. I know for sure I want to be happy and I do what I can, and what’s in my control to make it happen.
Happy goals I mean. While making my happiness plan, I use the same SMART principle I use for work. Yes, happiness takes work! SMART expands to specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timed. I can’t tweak and improve what I can’t measure.
Doing what makes me happy
Eh, what? This may sound a little lame. Can you actually, voluntarily do what makes you unhappy? Of course! Honestly, how many of us actually remember to do it? I am learning to say no to what doesn’t make me happy and focusing on the things that do. And I make it a point to tell anyone who’ll listen.
Listing of what makes me happy
This is for those low-energy days when I need a strong pick-me-up. I have a list of the things that I enjoy doing, things that make me feel satisfied. This ties in with the planning part so I eliminate the energy-suckers that really won’t matter in the long run. The final list? Positive stuff.
Making time to play
Consciously setting aside time to play is something I started doing recently. Life will always be hectic when we let it. Before we know it, the wave of busy-ness has washed us far from the happiness shore. I make it a point to have breakfast with my son watching the adorable Max and Ruby. I am ignoring the frowns over the preschooler TV + meals. We eat mindfully – mindful of our laughter and togetherness. We look forward to a happy day no matter what it brings.
Taking stock of my strengths
There used to be a time when I’d be self-deprecating when someone pointed out my talents. I’ve realized that’s a stupid thing to do – pretty much like shrinking at a compliment. I now regularly revisit my strengths and in the process, also my shortcomings. This helps me be my best self.
Using my plus points
No greater example than my writing here – had I not recognized my ability to make it a vocation – oh let’s not even go there. I know now that I can do a lot more than I thought I could and I am focusing on using my capabilities.
Being open to learning
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is to be curious. Not inquisitive. There is a difference. I am always looking for ways to be happy.
Practicing an attitude of gratitude
Decades ago, my Mom and I were going through a particularly low phase. It was at that time she encouraged me to maintain a gratitude journal where I listed the things that made me happy, the things I was grateful for. I am guilty of being unwilling initially, but the progress was rapid. I never lost that habit. I learned to focus on what I have – not what I don’t have. And if someone asks me “How are you”, I can sincerely answer “Happy”.
This week, I am grateful for:
Having lost two very dear friends in a span of two weeks, I am holding those close to me even closer. I am focusing on the happy stuff. I am telling them I love them and looking for ways to create happy memories. I am grateful for my friends and family.
I am grateful to enjoy my big mug of coffee every morning with my family. Every sip tastes delicious as I savor it with the voices of my husband and son in my ears. A truly sensorial experience and one I wouldn’t exchange for anything.
Time with my son
Grade 12 exams are on and there are large gaps between these exams. This means more time with my son. I always enjoy his company and somehow these days seem more precious. We enjoy sharing memories of his childhood, talking about my Mom – his Grandma, discussing a variety of topics and trying recipes together. I am in Mom heaven.
This week has been filled with work deadlines. I have been slower than I usually am, but nevertheless, getting there thanks to motivation from my son who can be a really pushy fellow when he wants to be. The day before yesterday, I was overwhelmed looking at my to-do list and in a fit of desperation, begged him to bully me the next day to make me stick to my schedule. He did. I am grateful for what I achieved as a result.
For what I have
It is summer where Iive and it is – HOT. I am grateful for the privilege of working from home. Where I can run for a quick shower (and get sterilized with the tap water), a snack when I need it, a cold treat from the fridge, shop online to avoid the outside heat, connect with my world via the internet and my phone. I am grateful for what I have.
Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award
I am grateful to Janine Ripper of Reflections from a Redhead for nominating me for this lovely award. Nothing tastes as delicious as peer recognition and appreciation! She asked some questions – and I promise to answer them in a couple of days!
I am grateful for the wonderful emails and messages I received when I felt low. I am honored that Janine and Mackenzie chose my post Did I smile today as their Friday Reflections Featured Writer last week.
My Happiness Checklist
Focus on my goals
Believe today will be good
Resist negative thoughts
Recognize my strengths
Know my priorities
Get enough sleep
Be my best self
Laugh / smile a lot
Vary my routines
Live in the moment
Celebrate the little things
Build positive relationships
Practice an attitude of gratitude
This week, I’ve blended two prompts to come up with my Happiness checklist and Gratitude list
- Write about 5 things you are grateful for this week.
- Reflect on a quote prompt: “The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” Vince Lombardi
Do join me!
P.S. Are you ready for the April A to Z Challenge theme Reveal blogfest on March 23, 2015?