Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In Hot Pursuit of Happiness!

For the last few days I've been thinking a lot about happiness. 
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:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.  
Happy or unhappy I think we could all benefit from Shawn's 21 Day Challenge.  Feel free to join in by sharing 3 of the things you are grateful for each day with me.

Lots of love friends.


  1. You know I love this! I make sure to count some of my blessings every day, but this post points out to me that I rarely do it on my blog. I should change that. It's important to be vocally grateful if you want to help others acknowledge gratitude as well.

    Good luck! I can't wait to read.

  2. AWW S!!! So glad I made the happy list! I'm always much happier on days we meet for lunch too :) What a great idea to start this! I'll be happy to see you posting :) This is a great post!

  3. "if your mind is negative even having all of life's greatest treasures won't make you happy." So. So. True. And this used to be me. Life was harder but even when good things happened I couldn't see it because I was so caught up in the negativity. It sucks the joy out of everything. Good on you for actively trying to combat this because sometimes that's what you need to do and life is so much better when the glass is half full.

  4. I'm so proud of you!! What an awesome project. I once heard that our thoughts become words, our words become actions, our actions become habits, and our habits form our character. I really belive that.
    It means that you can totally train yourself to have a positive mindest and become a happy person! Good luck, I'm rooting for you!!