From the article "How To Get Really Happy" by Julia Allison:
"We’re all too quick to “postpone the intense self-examination and decision-making necessary to create a life of enjoyment.” What do we do instead? Distract ourselves with the idea that more money (or losing weight, or getting married) will make us happy.
So what’s the fastest way to really—really—figure out what makes you a happy camper?
Start a list. (Groan) I know, I know. Another list, just what you need. But seriously. You make excruciatingly detailed lists for the grocery store, the IRS, and your wedding. The least you could do is write down a few things that led directly to joy on your part. None of this “the end justifies the means” stuff (you’re not allowed to write anything that “might one day” make you happy. It has to create contentment right then and there.)
And stop with the big things. “My apartment” is too … vague. “My boyfriend” is too general. What about your apartment makes you happy? The way the light streams through the windows at 7:30 a.m.? The fact that you can’t hear your neighbors—ever? Your tiny little balcony, on which you fell asleep last Saturday night, on a blanket, because no chairs fit out there? That’s the sort of thing you should write down.
If you get stuck, think of this very cheesy reminder—Maria in The Sound of Music, singing about “her favorite things.” It seems a bit juvenile, but I promise, as you write down the silly little pieces of life that truly make you happy, I bet you’ll realize you’re happier than you think. And as you do, you’ll begin to notice that happiness is a choice—and it’s a positive feedback loop. As you choose to see the little things that bring you joy, you’ll start to see more of them, which will in turn, make you happier.
I remember reading somewhere that “happiness requires cultivation.” Take the time to cultivate your happiness. After all, what could be more important than that?"
I guess the secret to happiness is doing the next right thing, and an attitude of gratitude for what you already have.
In the spirit of self examination, here are a few things that bring me joy:
- Seeing Charlie wake up (her rosy cheeks, her smile, her bright eyes, her chirpy voice)
- Lying in bed with my three dogs, one behind my back, one with her muzzle fitted onto my side, one by my feet.
- Cooking something I think is turning out great.
- Having a free afternoon with nothing to do but read or waste time on the Internet.
- Watching Charlie form new words (the perfect "circle" of her lips when she says "no-no-nose" and points her chubby forefinger to smoosh her nose.)
- Christmas morning!
What is one of your joyful moments? Why don't you share one thing here and see if you can spread it. I may get some ideas from you.