What it means to be happy.
What makes me happy.
If it's possible to sustain happiness long term.
Am I happy?
I've spent time journaling and I've answered these questions honestly, along with about a dozen others.
Here's what I've determined. There are lots of things in life that make me happy: a good cup of coffee, trying something new or doing something I haven't done since I was a child, meeting Mariah for lunch, snuggling with Darren and Beeps, listening to music, the sunshine, getting a call from my brother, corn dogs!
I smile and I laugh everyday.
Despite having things that make me happy, I am not a happy person.
Unlike the things that make me happy, my overall happiness has absolutely nothing to do with external influences. I am not unhappy because of a situation, a struggle, a person, a thing. I am unhappy because I have a negative mind and if your mind is negative even having all of life's greatest treasures won't make you happy.
I already knew that about myself though. The part about the negative mind that is. I've worked on being more positive in the past. Like most other things that are good for us (exercise is the first thing that comes to mind) it's a habit though and somehow it's a habit I've never been able to make stick.
This may bore the shit out of you guys but in pursuit of happiness I am going to give Shawn Achor's 21 Day Challenge a go right here on the blog. Watch Shawn talk about positive thinking here,
Now here's the drill. Everyday starting tomorrow and running for the next 21 days (side note: this will get me back in the habit of blogging regularly too!) I will do the following:
- Share Three Gratitudes: Pause to take note of three new things each day that you are grateful for. Doing so will help your brain start to retrain its pattern of scanning the world, looking not just for the negative inputs but for the positive ones.
- Journal: Similar to the gratitude practice, but in this case, detail — in writing — one positive experience each day. This will help you find meaning in the activities of the day, rather than just noticing the task itself.
- Exercise: Exercising for 10 minutes a day not only brings physical benefits, but it also teaches your brain to believe your behavior matters, which then carries (positively) into other activities throughout the day.
- Meditate: Take just two minutes per day to simply breathe and focus on your breath going in and out. Doing so will train your mind to focus, reduce stress, and help you be more present in this moment.
- Random Acts of Kindness: This can be something simple, and Shawn suggests writing one positive email to praise or thank someone each day. Not only does it benefit the recipient, but it also increases your feeling of social support.
Lots of love friends.