ABC's Of A Happier Life
"HAPPINESS IS NOT SOMETHING READY MADE. IT COMES FROM YOUR OWN ACTIONS."
A Too Common Problem
There are many people who are stuck in a slump in their life and tell themselves that I'll be happy when.... Sometimes it's when I lose weight or when I have more money or some other future event. The problem is that wish doesn't always come true or even if it does, what does it really change? You are still the same person with worries and stress that can cause you pain. Happiness is not something that should be strived for some time in the future; it is something to be created right now, just as you are, wherever you are.
My Personal Challenge
I too have done this. I tell myself that one day I will be truly happy if....what? So instead I have decided to actively create my own happiness right now. Not knowing exactly how to start, I decided to start with the basics. What could be more basic than the alphabet? So I have challenged myself to create a list using each letter of the alphabet to describe something that would make my life happier. So here it goes.
Attitude. A positive attitude goes a long way toward making you happier everyday. Thinking good thoughts usually leads to clearer thinking that helps you to deal with situations that normally cause undue stress. A problem often feels less overwhelming when looked at from a positive state of mind.
Balance. I am trying to maintain equilibrium in my life by devoting myself to the right things in the right amounts.Everyone too much work and no play makes life stressful, but the same is true of too much play. Nothing is more stressful than being surrounded by piles of unfinished projects and neglected chores. Life seems to go more smoothly when every part of it is attended to without obsession. All things in moderation.
Clothes. I know this is an odd choice for this list but hear me out. As a stay at home mom, I have a tendency to wear my pajamas all day. This habit is not a good one for me. When I don't bother getting dressed, I end up feeling as lousy as I look. I have decided that I will take care of me and my appearance even if I do nothing more than wash laundry and dishes. It will be my way of reminding myself that I am still a woman and not just the maid even if the kids don't think so.
Dream. Holding on to your dreams gives you a starting point from which to plan your life. All goals start out as dreams and those goals are what you need to motivate you to action. It's like a domino effect. First you dream, then you set the goal, make a plan, and then you take action to make that dream a reality. Once you stop dreaming, you stop really living and just exist with no purpose.
Exercise. I know everyone's tired of hearing about the benefits of exercise but I'm not talking hard core marathon running or power lifting. I'm talking about walking to the mailbox, raking some leaves, or anything that just gets you moving for at least a few minutes at the time throughout the day. Dancing in the kitchen with a broom counts, whatever works.
Forgiveness. Forgiving others is sometimes difficult but I have found that forgiving myself is exceptionally hard. I can feel guilty and beat myself up over the slightest mistake. I do this to me but wouldn't consider the same mistake a big deal if done by someone else. Why is that? I am going to forgive myself as easily I do others.
Gratitude. Simply put, I am going to be more grateful for the many things I do have.
Hugs. I have found that just by hugging my children, I release a great deal of stress. That one small gesture reminds them that I love them and reminds me that life is good in so many ways.
Ice cream. Yeah that's right, ice cream. Forget the carbs, sugar, calories, etc. and just enjoy it. Maybe you like chocolate or donuts but whatever your guilty pleasure is, have it on occasion and enjoy every bite. If you are living a balanced life, a treat on occasion is good but feeling guilty takes away from the pleasure and what's the point in that.
Journal. I have a journal that I write in everyday. In it I write everything from my feelings to my grocery list and no subject is off limits. It allows me to completely purge my thoughts without criticism or unsolicited advice. As a matter of fact, this hub is a result of ramblings from my journal.
Knowledge. Learning something new just because it interesting. There is no reason not to acquire knowledge about something just because you don't have to. I love to learn new things and I will research any topic I find fascinating and won't be embarrassed being called a dork.
Laugh. I'm sure everyone thought for sure I'd say love but I have found love is effortless in most cases but laughter requires more effort on my part. Laughing makes you feel good . I'm for anything that feels good, that's free, and isn't bad for you. I will seek out things and people that make me laugh.
Music. I love music and I enjoy every genre. Whether your preference is jazz, rap, or whatever; it can influence your mood or just compliment it. Haven't you ever felt down, turned on the radio to find one of your favorite upbeat songs playing, and felt your mood instantly lift? How about when you hear a song that expresses exactly what you're feeling at the moment, it really makes an impact.
No. Sometimes you just have to say no. Being a yes man(or woman) can provide endless stress and undue pressure. Always saying yes creates over scheduling and too many obligations. It also burdens a person with tasks they don't want to do just to please others. So for your own sanity, Just Say No.
Open mind. Having an open mind allows you to try new things and consider different views. You never learn what you like or dislike if you never try anything new.
Passion. I believe it is essential to happiness to find a passion. Art, career, hobbies are all sources of passion and should really be a part of your life in order to be fulfilled. Although many would put purpose here, I think that passion leads to purpose so that's why I chose it.
Quiet. Sometimes you need to just be still and listen to nothing, think of nothing, and surround yourself with no sounds other than nature. Life is noisy with kids, pets, phone,television, it's no wonder we become overwhelmed. How can a person stay sane with so much distraction?
Read. I have loved to read ever since I learned how. Stories make it possible to escape real life for a little while and be anyone or go anywhere. Reading also keeps your mind sharp and adds to your knowledge. The more you read and the more diverse the literature, the more you expand your knowledge.
Sobriety. Living life without the alcohol induced haze looks so much brighter and feels so much better. I'm in the process of starting over , clean and sober. I want to experience life and interact with others as myself and not the obnoxious drunk I used to be. I am determined to surround myself with loving supporters and let go of those who want to maintain the drunken status quo.
Time. I am one of those people who has a hard time setting time limits for myself. Most people don't get things done because they run out of time. Not me, I tell myself I have plenty of time and then I accomplish nothing because I spend too much time on the wrong stuff. I need to set time limits for my tasks regularly so I am more productive.
Underwear. I will only say that from now on I am relinquishing all my granny panties. How can you not feel old wearing those things.
Variety. Although routines are necessary to get things done, they can make life quite monotonous. Even the smallest change can make a big difference. Trying a new recipe or having a cup of coffee outside instead of in the kitchen, anything to keep from getting in a rut.
Water. Why not drink a glass instead of that third soda, tea, coffee, etc.? Taking a hot bath or shower can ease tension. Spending an afternoon at the beach or lake is another other example of how water can make life more enjoyable
RelaX. Obviously, I chose something with an x in it instead of at the beginning. I could only think of x-ray and xylophone, neither of which makes me particularly happy :). Letting go of the small aggravations can do wonders. If my 6 year old spills glue on the floor, we'll clean it up and be grateful it wasn't anthrax. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Youth. I'm not talking about finding that elusive fountain to give me youth , although I wouldn't mind if I did. I'm talking about not obsessing over every line or imperfection but instead realizing that I wouldn't want to be 16 or 25 again because I have grown and learned so much. I also know that you're only as old as you feel and happiness feels so much younger than misery.
ZZZ's-Life is exhausting. Getting enough sleep really refuels the body and mind to make you more productive. I am more than willing to sleep in on weekends and take a nap without feeling guilty about what's not getting done.
So that's my alphabetized list . I know others would have different items than mine and that's great, whatever works. I could add to this list but I think this is a good place to begin. I wanted it pretty straight forward and easy to follow. I'm going to print it so I can look at it everyday as a daily guide for creating my own happiness.