My bestie is coming for a visit today. We live about 30 miles from each other and are both sick, so we only get to physically meet every 3 weeks or so, which makes our get-togethers that much more precious. On our last meet up, she remarked that she saw a big shift in my mental health from recent months and asked what had happened. I told her I’d decided I’d been miserable, stressed and negative long enough and had decided to be grateful and happy instead. Simples!
But in order to be happy you have to know what makes you happy. It’s a harder question to answer than most people realize and will be different for everyone. It’s easy to say “if I had more money I’d be happy”, but there are lot of miserable rich people. “If I were married I’d be happy” but there are a lot of very unhappy married people. “If I were well I’d be happy” but there are a lot of unfulfilled healthy people. You get my drift.
So I actually sat down with pen and paper and wrote down what made me happy. Truly happy. I thought about the situations in which I felt totally at peace, fulfilled, passionate, joyful and absorbed, and analysed what it was about those situations which really resonated with my soul.
This is what I learned makes me happy:
- Being creative
- Being in nature
- Getting enough quality rest
- Sharing knowledge (ie through my blog and teaching photography)
- Having people in my life I trust and value
- Eating well
- Accepting and loving myself (a work in progress every day, especially as my life has been filled with people who have been critical)
- Living with integrity (I have this word on my bedroom wall so that I see it every single day)
It’s not a big list is it? And there’s nothing complicated about any of it. If I have just one day which contains all these things I feel truly, truly blessed. My health could be really shit on that day, but I can still be happy, joyful and fulfilled. In fact, I am on day 5 of a continuous thumping migraine and was awake half the night with back and arm pain so am tired, but I’m still excited to see my bestie and looking forward with joy to my day 😊.
So instead of focusing on all the things which were wrong, which was why I have felt so miserable in recent months, I am focusing on all the things which bring me joy. And the law of physics states that what you focus on you will manifest.
In ordinary day-to-day life happiness is a choice. My circumstances haven’t changed this month from what they were last month. I don’t have a new home. I don’t have any more money. I’m still caring for my parents. I still don’t have help in the house due to the pandemic. I’m still sick. I’m still single. But I am genuinely so much happier.
Happiness is something you need to work on because it’s so easy to fall into familiar patterns of negativity. I’m not a person who can do meditation, in fact it actually stresses me out, so I use my daily 30 minute dog walk/scooter ride to think. Regroup. Open my heart. Focus on joy. Let go of the bad shit and welcome in the good shit. Change my thought patterns. I’ll also sometimes play inspiring YouTube clips on my laptop while I’m getting dressed each morning, or listen to inspiring podcasts on my iPod while driving the car. They help me bring my focus back to what makes me joyful.
This is the only life we have. Each day is unique and precious. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want to be happy, but when you ask people what truly makes them happy they find it difficult to answer. And unless you know what fulfils you and brings you joy, how can you focus on achieving it?