"Because I'm Happy!"
With Pharrell Williams’s viral song “Happy” being played essentially on every radio station as of late, I encourage you to reflect on the verse in the song that asks you “to clap along if you know what happiness means to you.” So, what does happiness mean to you?
Happiness is an internal process defined by the individual’s experiences and the emotions that are elicited. For instance, your significant other may experience feelings of happiness each time marshmallows are placed in his or her hot chocolate. While this may be a tasty treat to you, you may not necessarily associate feelings of happiness to this. Perhaps your significant other connects happiness to marshmallows on top of hot chocolate because every time he or she visited his or her grandmother, she made hot chocolate with marshmallows. This experience and memory created the emotional connection to happiness. So, the very experience that makes you happy may not be defined the same by others.
Since happiness is an individual experience, it is important to identify the things that make you happy, and to start incorporating more of these moments into your life. While we cannot define happiness with unified agreement, we must each ask ourselves, what can I do to create opportunities for happiness? When you ask yourself this question, then you can explore and define the moments that create happiness and joy.
Here are 10 things you can do now to construct moments where happiness may be experienced in your life:
- Write down 10 things that make you happy, and practice one of these every day for the next ten days. For instance, if going for a walk makes you feel happy, plan to go for a walk. Or if a friend’s voice makes you smile, reach out to them! This is your list…anything goes.
- Practice deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness. Oh, but why do we always get this advice? Because it works. Most of us are not fully present in the present. What deep breathing does is it reconnects you to your body in the now. Try some deep breathing three times a day and notice how you feel. Do body check-ins with yourself. That is, ask yourself how your hands feel, how your neck feels, your feet, your toes, etc. Connect with your body throughout the day so you can truly be in touch with yourself.
- Take an intentional break during the day to treat yourself. We are all busy people, working away to appease our queen bee. Allow yourself to take a short break to do something that makes you smile. This can be something as simple as listening to music or taking a tea break. You may already do this, but focus on applying the intention of doing it to treat yourself.
- Write in your journal. But don’t just write anything. This time, I ask you to write down three good things that happened in your day. Every day. Do this forever, or for as long as you can. When we focus on the good, we see the good. When we ask ourselves to find the good, we remember the good.
- Go outside. Yes, go outside. Cold, hot, wet, freezing, whatever the temperature, take a 10-minute break that is outdoors. If you can go for longer, great! We are not meant to be indoors. We need fresh air, we need sunlight, we need the outdoors.
- Get a task done. Is there something that you have been meaning to do? Do this one thing today. And remember, I said ONE. We tend to overwhelm ourselves with the many things we have to do. But doing just one thing can feel immensely relieving.
- Talk to someone you love, and tell this person you love them. Yes, this is on the list. Human connection is a part of experiencing joy. And we forget to tell the ones who we love that we love them. You make someone smile, and you get to smile too.
- Say yes to yourself. Plan to do something that you have been meaning to do. Remember the famous quote, “If not now, when?” Today, that’s when.
- Create a vision board. A vision board is a collection of images and words that represent what you envision for yourself. Take a few magazines and look for the things that you would like to have in your life. Or visit pinterest.com and create a board for your vision.
- Sit in silence. Take fifteen minutes of your day to sit in silence and do nothing. No cell phone, laptops, etc. No noise. No people. Just you. Get comfortable with you. And as you sit there, imagine yourself in a place that makes you feel good. Close your eyes and take yourself to this place for the next uninterrupted fifteen minutes.