Oh…. Happiness. This topic has been popping up in various areas of my life over the past few months, so I decided that it’s time to write about it.
The topic was first brought up in my book club, where one of my fellow reading enthusiasts suggested that we read “The Happiness Project.” I was not familiar with the book, but was excited to gain a new perspective on the subject! Once I found out the concept of the project…. I realized that I’ve been doing this for years!
Over the past two years, I’ve been part of a group that gathers bi-weekly. Our structure was slightly different than “The Happiness Project” in that we tackled each of our areas on a weekly to bi-weekly basis. Our topics of study include spirituality, work/career, love/relationships, friendships/family, health/energy, home, prosperity/security, recreation/fun, community/world, beliefs, and self care. The idea is to identify aspects in each of these areas that are working for you, and those that no longer serve you – then allowing yourself to release the old to allow for new. I have used it as a structure to mold myself into a more vibrant version of myself (and an excuse to clean out my closets – literally!!!). And it works for the most part – but sometimes, life just gets in the way!!!
So back to happiness. The book brings up a number of good points – does money buy happiness? What defines happiness? How does one measure happiness? Wikipedia defines happiness as “a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” It attributes factors such as biological, psychological, religious, and philosophical as contributors to ones level of happiness. I was drawn into the book quickly and able to identify with the author after reading these passages, “I had everything I could possibly want – yet I was failing to appreciate it.” and, “How could I let go of everyday annoyances to keep a larger, more transcendent perspective?” and, “I wasn’t as happy as I could be, and my life wasn’t going to change unless I made it change.”
Now, this may surprise some of you – but I have to admit to you that I am a reformed pessimist. ‘Being happy’ has not always been a priority of mine. I cannot pinpoint exactly where or when this changed. I do know that making several huge life changes over the past *nearly* three years has helped me change my perspective (especially when coupled with the group that I mentioned in paragraph three). Does this mean that I am inherently happy all of the time? No! To all of my fellow Northwesterners – we know that being happy is a definite choice (especially from about now, until April).
Over the past few weeks, this deliberate choice has rang true for me more than ever. I have realized that on the days that I don’t make the conscious effort to be happy, that it mostly doesn’t happen. So, in order to keep my mood up I have begun to start my day with a new affirmation – Today is a phenomenal day and I choose to live in love. I have realized that while some may be naturally attuned to happiness, some of us may just have to place a bit more effort towards the matter. What I have learned over the past few weeks is that I am focused and dedicated to the continuous improvement of myself, and I need to take the time to be grateful for the amazing opportunities, relationships, and overall fabulousness of my life!!!!
One last note – I am a person that needs continuous reminders. I can have a hard time focusing (especially when I forget my morning coffee!), and get distracted VERY easily. So, I’ve begun using tattoos to remind myself of how I want to feel and the type of person that I want to be in this world. I sat for my first tattoo at the age of 18. Oddly enough, I chose the symbol for smile. I was still a glass-half-empty girl at this point in time.
I got my next tattoo at the age of 27 – which is even more of a reminder due to its visability. Most people don’t notice it when talking to me, unless I’m gesturing with my hands. But I see it and that’s all that matters.
I’m about to go get my third tattoo….. I’ve talked big for the past few days, but alas – I have chickened out yet again. I will add a photo of it once I finally get over my phobia and it’s healed :-) Make your day a phenomenal one!!!!