You don’t have to search far to find people grumbling about aches and pains, complaining about the weather (too cold, too windy, too much snow, not enough snow), or ranting about bills and expenses.
In our fast past world, where one day melds into another we sometimes let the little things get the best of us.
I’ve even noticed it in myself. It’s easy to become cynical when writing weekly columns, picking apart the latest headline or questioning the most recent news item. But this week I’m determined to look at the glass half full, put a smile on my face and move on with a little more optimism and a tad less pessimism.
Everyone’s definition of happiness differs depending on how we qualify contentment and fulfillment. For some happiness comes from helping others, working toward goals, achieving success, earning a pretty penny, or being amongst the best of friends and family.
The Happiness Project, a memoir written by Gretchen Wilson explores the ideas of happiness and the importance of it to our health and to our hearts.
She resolved to make herself happier within a year, not by moving to foreign countries (like Elizabeth Gilbert who escapes to Italy, India and Indonesia in her memoir Eat, Pray, Love), but by tweaking daily actions and attitudes.
During her one-year project she first identifies what makes her, her. She determines what brings her the most happiness and greatest satisfaction and commits to enhancing those factors by investing time into those activities whether it’s to “lighten up”, or to “be polite be fair”.
The memoir was such a success that happiness-project.com was launched to help people around the world create their own “project” to bring more happiness into their lives.
Sure, for some the thought of working at happiness may be less than enjoyable but even a tweak in attitude could bring benefits.
A quote that I heard years ago resonated with me and often remerges during the days where I catch myself complaining about this or that: “If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
The mantra goes along way in accepting there are some things we must do, and others we can chose to do.
Dedicating our time and energy to chores and commitments that don’t bring happiness but rather a sense of obligation don’t do much to help our happiness (attending a third cousin’s wedding shower). Of course as adults there’s always a list of “to dos”, but there must to be a balance between what we need to do and what we want to do.
We check off our chore lists, balance our books, and mark our calendars. For many of us, our days are routinely the same.
Long past are the days of exploration, excitement and adventure …unless of course we schedule it into next year’s holiday calendar.
An article in the February edition of Cosmopolitan made note of reverting to what brought us joy and happiness when we were children- when the weight of the world wasn’t upon our shoulders. The article suggests turning the clock back and taking time for small activities and little acts of indulgence:
- Say “I love you” more often
- Take a nap (listen to your body)
- Imagine what you want to be when you ‘grow up’ (dreams inspired you when you were young, no reason they can’t inspire you now)
- Eat the last cupcake (it’s okay to be a little selfish)
Maybe if we act a little happier, we’ll be a little happier.
Like a card I recently received read, “Every day might not be good, but there is good in every day.”