Finding happiness daily can be a challenge, but this activity will help “We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”
Remember that episode of The Simpsons where Marge blew a mind gasket and froze up on the bridge, windows up, refusing to come out of the car? She was so overwhelmed by responsibility and the lack of time to herself that she just lost it. It’s scary to stand on the edge of such an emotional cliff.
Carving out some aloneness – the space to breathe and meditate – is imperative. We need time to cultivate ideas, feel through concepts and simply be as a human being instead of constantly engaging with the world.
In today’s frantic age, I think it should be one of our greatest commitments. Peaceful people who know themselves and don’t feel besieged usually act kindly and with compassion, and don’t do a lot of the awful things that we are capable of as humans. So let’s stop feeling guilty for taking some moments for ourselves.
Everything we experience, emotionally or physically, is the result of chemical reactions in our bodies. These reactions are responsible for negative feelings and experiences, but they are also the reason for our joy and positivity. Love, happiness, compassion: these are all the result of a bunch of hormones that, when in balance, come to the rescue in times of need.
Endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin are what we call the “happy hormones”. They help us have a higher tolerance to pain and physical stress, they regulate mood and help prevent depression, making us happy and sociable. They guide us in the direction of love and are the reason we strive towards our goals and feel satisfied when we reach them.
While things such as promotions, marriage, buying a house and the birth of your children are incredible, they are also rare events that we can’t experience all the time. If we postpone our joy to the weekend, or a holiday, or that promotion, we are literally robbing ourselves of an enormous amount of happiness that’s there waiting for us, every single day.
Happiness shouldn’t be some far-off goal. It should be a daily reality. And it can be, when we remember that it’s the little things in life that bring us the most joy. The following exercise is going to ensure that you feel happiness and joy every day.
Grab a pen and paper, sit down and get ready to get stuck in. Write down 10 small things that make you happy.
This should be a list of happiness-inducing activities that occupy a special little place in your soul and that are part of what makes you who you are. My list includes:
- drinking a hot cup of tea in the morning and eating toast with an obscene amount of salted butter
- sleeping in when it rains
- reading cookbooks and cooking with beautiful produce
- fumbling about in our ramshackle garden at home
- watching the sunrise
- taking long walks with my husband on a quiet weekend, when we talk about our lives
- devouring non-fiction books
What’s on your list?
Now look closely at your list and think about how many of the activities you actually do on a regular basis. Each day? Each week? Each month?
You might be surprised to discover that although these simple-yet-awesome things bring you so much happiness, you’re hardly doing them at all.
These items are your “joy rides”. These are simple keys to unlocking more joy and happiness in your life. It sounds easy, right? But it can be a challenge.
Put the list up on your fridge, beside your bed or above your desk at work as a reminder to keep your joy rides up. If you are looking at your list and realising that you’re already engaging with some of these joy rides, then this is fabulous. Be even more ambitious with prioritising your joy.
You are responsible for your own happiness and joy. Yes, you. No one else.
By: Jacqui Lewis
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