Everyone wants to be happy.
Some think money will make them happy. Others think it will be having a wonderful, magical relationship. And yet others don’t really know what it will look like, but they want it, whatever it is.
Happiness (like money) doesn’t grow on trees. It doesn’t come neatly packaged in the grocery store either. In fact, as I’m sure you’ve heard many times before, you can’t buy happiness.
So how does someone deliberately set out to find happiness?
They look within themselves.
Happiness is an attitude. I have invented the word “Happitude” for this. It is the attitude of being happy.
So how do you find or create this Happitude?
Firstly you just decide that you are happy. Regardless of what is going on in your life, you look around – digging deep and really searching if it’s a bad time for you in general – till you find something, hopefully lots of things, that you can be happy about.
It can be big things or it can be just little things.
I have a friend who suffers chronic pain. If he is looking strained or moving slowly and I can tell he is obviously hurting more than usual just now, he will just answer any query on the subject saying he’s “a bit sore but my hair feels great!” He’s not letting it get to him, and is jokingly focusing on what is good instead of what is bad.
Another friend with all her family hundreds and in one case thousands of miles away is happy and excited that she gets to chat with them on Skype, and over the moon with her once in several years in person visit with her most distant son. She’s not focusing on what she doesn’t have (her family close by) but on what she does have and she is genuinely appreciative and excited about that.
There is always something to be happy about. It is a case of the glass half full or the glass half empty. Are you focusing on what you want that is there or at what you want that is not there?
That is all very well, you could quite rightly be saying, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. When life is tough it’s hard to look on the bright side.
Yes, it is, so here is a way to help yourself to keep your Happitude in high gear.
What? Write out everything that happens to me every day? How will that make me happier, especially when things are not going well?
My answer to that is: do NOT write out everything that is happening to you.
Instead keep a Happiness Journal and in it, each day, write out only the things that made you happy today.
- Did someone smile at you? That was nice – write it down!
- Did you make it through rush hour traffic faster than usual and arrive home 15 minutes early? That must have made you happy – write it down.
- Did you step on the scales and find your weight was down 2 lbs? Wow! That has to go in your journal.
- Did you go shopping for dinner the ingredients on sale?
- Did something you saw in the grocery store remind you of a meal you haven’t had for a while, but really love, so you got the ingredients?
- Did your hair look better than usual?
What can you jot down that made you happy?
That’s the daily routine with your Happiness Journal and it helps you in two ways.
One is the obvious way, in that when you focus on the positives, you feel positive and happier.
So just be remembering these things, no matter how small (but of course, don’t neglect the big happinesses either) as you write about them, cheers you up and makes you happier.
The second way it helps is that when you are feeling low, you can read your previous entries in your Happiness Journal and come away from that realizing that things are not so bad – good things happen all the time.
I suggest you also write out your Happiness Ideas List in your Happiness Journal.
This just means creating a list of things that make you happy. Big things, little things, easy to do things, things that take a bit more time or preparation.
Everything you can think of. If it makes you happy, write it down.
Going for a drive, shopping, going out for your favorite meal, having a hot bath with lots of bubbles, listening to your favorite music. Whatever makes you happy, add it to your list.
Then when you are feeling fed-up how your life is going at this particular moment, you can check your list and find something in it that appeals to you right now, and do it. It’s you pick-me up checklist.
So decide that you are happy.
That no matter what the world throws at you, that you will continue to be happy.
Write it out every day, what made you happy.
Create your list of Happitude pick-me ups (your list of happy ideas).
And just keep writing and reading your way to a terrific Happitude and a much happier life than you could ever have without it.
Fiona MacKay Young
Also writing as Susan Morgan