I’ve had this blog post in draft mode for a while but since I’ve just discovered that today (March 20th) is International Day of Happiness it was just the right nudge I needed to push publish. As I looked further into the history of this day, which is only in its fifth year, I was amazed to discover its global roots and I have to say that there are tons of cool resources to check out. So, I turned the draft into a published post and wouldn’t you know…it brought me great happiness!
I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions. I guess it’s my need to commit to something I know is going to work. So when I heard about this idea of #oneword I knew it was something I could commit to. It’s hard to tell where the idea originated but this post might be one of the first inviting people to decide on a single word that would be your mantra or guide for the year ahead.
For the last two and a half months this 9 letter word, happiness, has continually been guiding my thoughts and actions.
Here’s how I’ve woven happiness into the fabric of my days:
It’s the little things
Each morning when I send my two boys off into the world I try to say the same small, but meaningful words, “Be kind. Have a great day!”. I used to list off a litany of reminders to them, “Don’t forget to…”; “Be sure you…”; “Did you remember to…”
I know now that choosing happiness for myself involves talking positively and wishing happiness to others, especially my loved ones, and with fewer words.
When my boys were young I was pretty obsessed with photographing their every move.
A few years ago a virus infected my computer and external hard drive and many of my ‘precious’ photos were lost. I say ‘precious’ because honestly, I took so many of the same dang experience that the preciousness was lost in the sheer quantity of photos that I’d have to spend time looking through and curating. In the past, I would’ve been disappointed with the blurriness and strange shadows in this photo but now I love this shot because it was only one of a few I took at the Mardi Gras parade at Universal Studios during our trip to Florida. I love our genuinely HAPPY smiles!
Now I know that the moment is what is precious, not the proof of the moment. Of course, I still take photos but tons less so I can be happy in the moment instead of trying to capture the perfect shot.
Less really is more
A few years back I stumbled upon this awesome book from Joshua Becker, The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own. I soon found his story compelling since at the time I was in the middle of ‘spring cleaning’, you know the traditional routine where we go through our piles of STUFF and purge our accumulated items in anticipation for the spring season. This routine usually involves bins…lots of bins, baskets, shelves, closets, basically anything that gives us the illusion that we’ve organized our life. After the organizing and reorganizing I’ve always been one to donate and garage sale our items when we’ve outgrown or they’ve outlived their purpose but what happened next would be where I would go wrong…I would purchase and purchase and purchase thinking happiness came in the form of new outfits, chairs, or tchotchkes.
Mindset and Mindfulness
Changing my mindset from finding happiness to creating my own happiness has been the biggest part of all this. Science and research help convince me that change is necessary but my heart is where I feel the effects of the change. What’s sculpted this happiness mindset for me as been information such as, This Is Scientific Proof That Happiness Is A Choice.
But also certain people and their work have spoken to both my head and my heart. Bloggers like Rachel Macy Stafford, whose book Only Love Today: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love, sits on my nightstand for daily inspiration (books are the one collection I have chosen not to be minimalist about!). Also, Brené Brown has been a real inspiration. From her excellent books to her educator’s course, Daring Schools, I am constantly learning something about happiness from her work.
And then there’s the Mindfulness Movement. Having practiced yoga for several years has given me the foundation for meditation, focusing inward, and returning to ‘the breath’. A while back I stumbled upon Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story, and now routinely use his app, which is also great for someone who may be new to the whole mindfulness mindset.
I am so happy to have shared my #oneword2018 with you on this International Day of Happiness! How might you weave happiness into the fabric of your daily life? I’d love to hear how you create happiness!
Oh and…be kind and have a great day!