Today is the UN’s International Day Of Happiness, a day devised by the General Assembly to promote well-being amongst people, and acknowledge that happiness is a fundamental human goal. Why? Well, it stands to reason when you think about it, that a happy society is a profitable society. Many business owners are only too aware that a happy workforce is more efficient, and more likely to work harder than one which is downtrodden and miserable.
But on a personal level, I am using today to take stock and realise what I have, and how happy that makes me. When you ask someone what makes them happy (or what would make them happy), it’s all to easy to list material objects – having a nice house, car, clothes; having enough money to go shopping whenever you fancy, partying until dawn, dining in posh restauarants and drinking expensive champagne. But when you actually get down to the nitty gritty, is this what makes you happy?
It’s not for me.
Of course, those things are all lovely, but whilst sitting quietly for ten minutes this morning, I took the opportunity to have a little think about what it is that makes me smile. The little things that, when everything else is falling down around my ears, puts a little sparkle in my eye and turns the corners of my mouth upwards, and makes everything seem better.
1. My Family
This is an obvious one, I guess. To my shame, I am a bit too quick to criticise and see the negatives – I love my family to the moon and back, and I know I need to take a second to think before reacting (something I am going to try my very hardest to d0). They are my absolute world, and just the thought of them makes my heart happy.
There is something about sunshine that just makes me happier. Not needing to be wrapped up in coats and scarves instantly makes me feel better and puts a spring in my step. The flowers poking through the soil, adding a splash of colour, where previously there was only shades of grey. Everyone feels happier in Spring, right?
3. The Great Outdoors
This is even better when combined with 1 and 2. A walk in the fresh air and sunshine, with Mr and the boys pretty much makes for a great day, in my book. There’s something about having nothing to do but explore a wide open space, and spend some quality time just having fun and laughing that is all too easy to overlook, but really does make for a happy time.
I have recently started taking an interest in “Mindfulness”, and following the advice given by Andy Puddicombe. And it’s true when he says that taking a small amount of time each day to focus on your inner feelings, good and bad, can improve your mental state. It’s very easy to live life in a permanent state of stress – rushing from one thing to the next without pausing to think, and reacting to situations without letting them flow naturally. Take time to put down your laptop/ipad/phone and just enjoy the real world for a moment. There is somuchto be positive about. If we can all just relax a little more, allow life to happen without necessarily having to force events or feelings, we can all be a bit happier.
A Buddhist quote sums this up with “Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.” Or in the words of Bob Marley… Don’t Worry, Be Happy.
Finally, it’s easy to say, but we really are responsible for our own happiness. No-one can make us be happy – we can only make ourselves happy, and we alone are in charge of how to achieve happiness. We can, however, try to make other happy with our kindness, thoughtfulness and by sharing our happiness. Try it – smile at a stranger… chances are they will smile back.
I’d love to know… What makes you happy?