What makes you happy?

What makes you happy?  Are you satisfied with what you have, or do you feel you’ll be happy once  …. happens?

I was always chasing the illusive something else:  if only I could get a pay raise, if only I could find another job, if only I could lose 10lb, if only I could meet the man of my dreams.  You know how it is, things might be okay but you’re not happy because there’s something else you want or need and you think this particular thing holds the key to your happiness.

What if you were to take a look around you at all the things you have right now.  What do you have to be thankful for?  A roof over your head, clothes in your wardrobe, food in your kitchen, a family you love, friends you love, a partner you love, a job, the opportunity to study, holidays and weekend breaks…  If you really think about it, I bet you can come up with at least a few things you’re thankful for.  Write down these things and see if this makes you feel happy, you may even come up with a few more things once you start writing.

Sometimes all we need is a little change in perspective, a little bit of mindful thought to make us appreciate what we have in life.  Sure, there will always be things that could be improved upon or something you wish was different, but once you start to see your life from a point of ‘have’ as opposed to ‘have not’ things will start to change.  Make a list of the things you would like too, I like a list, it’s a starting point for plans and adventures.

Be mindful and appreciate the things and people that are in your life.  What people matter to you?  What do they do for you that makes your life fuller, easier and just generally better?  Take a moment to sincerely thank these people – spread a little bit of happiness to their lives by showing your gratitude.  This in turn may cause them to share a kind word with someone else and before you know it you’ve started a tidal wave of happiness.  How great would that be?

What about those things that you really would like to change?  How about spending a few moments each evening before you go to sleep to make a list of the things you are currently grateful for and the people you are grateful to.  Do this for a few days and then review your list of things you would like to have.  If you still want to have these things in your life, rank them in order of priority then spend a bit of time figuring out how you can take a small step each day to achieving each thing one at a time.

For example, maybe you want a new job.  You can start by updating your CV, think of everyone you know – does anyone do a job you would love to do and if so can you contact that person and ask more about the job, do you need to take some training – maybe there is a free online course that would help?  Even taking these small steps should increase your happiness, seeing a bit of progress and learning something new is invigorating.

Nurturing relationships also increases our happiness so keep showing your appreciation to the people you love, meet your friends for coffee or just spend a few minutes chatting on the school run.  Little moments of joy add up, and remember to do your best to make other people happy – it’s amazing how much of a ‘feel good’ rush you will get from spreading the love rather than just waiting to receive it.

Want to learn a bit more about happiness and turn it into a proper project?  Check out the book ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin.  I haven’t done my own year long project but I find the book really uplifting and enjoy dipping in and out of it from time to time.

So what makes me happy?  Writing, spending time with friends and family, travelling, learning new things, photography, make-it-up-as-I-go cooking, walking, relaxing with a coffee and a good book.  There’s lots more that makes me happy, these were just the first few things that sprang to mind.

I’m not great at all of these things but perfection isn’t the point, the point is these things make me feel happy and content .

Please take a moment to share the things that make you happy in the comments below – you may inspire someone to try something new which in turn could increase their happiness.


2 thoughts on “What makes you happy?

  1. Love this! There is a movie called Project Happiness (2011) also that helped mold my perspective when I finally watched it last year. I am basically so much happier now than any other time in my life. I love traveling, connecting intellectually and emotionally with people, coffee and coffeetime, taking walks, feeling strong so writing, looking and doing art, riding my bicycle. The last three I don’t do as often as I’d like. Love the piece, Morag. Thought provoking.

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