Friday, August 04, 2006

fill the happiness bank

I don't want to get into the whole 'what is happiness' debate because, well, I don't know what it is! And I'm aware that it is possibly different for different people. However I know what it takes to make me happy and I know that happiness can sometimes be fleeting. Call it happiness, contentment, fulfilment, I'm talking about that positive state where things seem good for us and life is easy.

So why work HARD to get to a state of EASE?

I am of the opinion, that to achieve a regular positive state, we have to work at it. And there are positive steps that we can take to make us happier. We need to create an environment, routine and state of positivity for ourselves because, well, if we rely on the rest of the world to provide it, we'll be waiting a long time. You only have to turn on the TV at the moment to get very depressed indeed with what's going on in the Middle East.

So, what can we do to increase of chances of happiness? Well, as I said previously I only know what works for me but I'm willing to bet that some of them are universal. The other point to make is that you need to do these consistently, not just when you're feeling a bit down. Because in my experience, it's like we have a happiness bank inside of us and we can store some up for future use. The happier we are consistently, the easier we find it to weather the storms of life and to find a state of contentment even in the most challenging of circumstances.

It's like having a happiness routine that you get into. This may seem a bit weird and bizarrely can be harder to do when you are happy because you find it hard to engage with the times when you don't feel so good, the more distant they are.

Start by sitting in a quiet place and getting to a point of relaxation. Start to visualise or recall times when you were really happy, liked blissed out. I don't mean really excited, but that feeling of contentment, of being in the right place at the right time and that life is GOOD. Breathe.

Where are you? What are doing? Who are you with?

Then start to write a list of things that you know make you happy or have a positive effect on your mood. Don't stop until you have at least 10.

Notice what types of things they are.

Then write a list of people who make you happy. Find at least 5 if you can.

Now you have your lists, take time to think about how you can start to incorporate these 'happy triggers' into your life. Don't be shy. Following on from yesterday's call to decadence, how much happiness can you pack in?

For me, I get my happiness in the following ways;

1. Reading or listening to uplifting, motivational literature every day
2. Blogging several times a week
3. Weekly date nights with my husband
4. Only ever eating food I like and want (n o diets but no junk either!)
5. Getting enough sleep
6. Weekly yoga class
7. Walking outside in a pleasant place (park, countryside etc) every day
8. Keeping a tidy, attractive and comfortable home
9. Spending time with my husband, my sister and my close friends weekly in some case, daily in others
10. Taking time and effort over my appearance every day.

I challenge you to do this exercise as soon as you can and take immediate action to fill your happiness bank. I guarantee that if you take this challenge on, that within 30 days you will understand how to create your own state of happiness and
start to live there, rather than just going to visit from time to time!


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