What Makes You Happy?

I find it no coincidence that the first day of spring and International Day of Happiness fall on the same day…spring and happiness are one in the same for me!

The notion of an international day of happiness threw me into reflection mode. Friends, if you want to get straight to the heart of what brings you happiness, grab a sheet of paper, or do what I do, keep a journal of things that make you happy. The thoughts that end up recorded there might surprise you. But something else that may occur as you take time to put your happy to paper, is the sheer feeling that begins to surround you…HAPPY!

On a day I need a pick-me-up, I open the pages, begin to remind myself and soon I’m right back in the zone. Another way to boost my happy is looking at photos, memories of joy.

When I look years back, I’m reminded of the millions of little things I did with my parents and brother, later my husband, then our babies and on to our growing boys with so many relatives and friends. It was a streak of lovely, happy chaos. But now, as the years have passed and my kids reach beyond needing me, I’ve carved out a new niche of happiness.

Thankfully, I’ve captured this more recent time in pictures too, because my memory isn’t what it used to be. Immediately, as I flip through these photos, the happiness floods back. I realize it has become something quite different. It’s quieter now…

It’s calmer…

But doesn’t lack adventure. Rather, happiness finds me bolting clear out of my comfort zone again and again!

 

Climbing new heights…

Gaining new perspectives…

 Reaching for new dreams.

Embracing the here and now…

Wherever I go…

Whatever I do…

Pretty soon it becomes easier and easier to find.

Because happiness isn’t a place.

It’s a joyful sense deep within, when I’m doing what I love.

And once a person figures out what that is, they can easily reach for it again and again!

In observance of International Day of Happiness, I invite you to take a quiet moment, take a deep breath and jot down what makes you happy. Then get busy doing that which makes you feel that way!

Friends, I’d love for you to leave a comment below sharing something that makes you happy…let’s light this happiness thing on fire; heck…I’ll even start!

Monday Makeover

Happy Monday, Friends! Yes, I said happy! Some of you may not share my enthusiasm for that sentiment. There is one attitude surrounding Monday that is anything but positive.

Not long ago, I would have called the Happy Monday notion an oxymoron. I used to look forward to Mondays about as much as getting a flu shot or paying bills…but why? Monday is that day after the weekend when people are forced to return to the daily grind, the day we are thrown back into the insanely-paced, over-scheduled reality. At the time, a Monday seemed anything but happy.

I’m glad to say a lot has changed for me since then. Gradually, I’ve made many small, mindful shifts that have helped make Monday one of my favorites. I understand we all live with our own set of circumstances, therefore, some of these ideas may seem ludicrous to you.

I left a position that silenced my happiness; I didn’t want to work myself deeper and deeper into a job that left me yearning for retirement…life is way too short already! If your career is robbing you of your joy, it may be time to rethink that path.

A very simple thing I do to set the tone for the week is make the bed. It doesn’t seem like much, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment right away, every day. And as I’ve heard somewhere, “The state of your bed is the state of your head.” Not only does it look better, it keeps me from wanting to crawl back in.

I began purposefully devoting time every Monday to embracing gratitude. It’s amazing what abundance we can experience if we consider what we have, rather than what we don’t or what we wish we did have.

A cup of coffee and some time of reflection and journaling remind me my appreciation has developed far beyond the material. I find myself most grateful for my faith, loved ones/friends, good health and resilience. It’s awesome what little we actually need to feel complete. And what a wonderful feeling to radiate on a Monday!

I find no matter how I ate over the weekend, Monday is a perfect opportunity to reset. It’s a great day to refocus my efforts on cleaning up my eating, to be aware of what’s on the schedule so I can set myself up for success throughout the week. A bit of planning affords problem solving and positive choices.

My Monday morning workout is a must, and if it’s outdoors in a locale I love…even better! I take this time to set positive intentions for my week. Now that this has become habit, I really notice a difference if it doesn’t happen…like my whole week is off. That’s why I’ve come to defend this time and work hard to Never Miss a Monday!

Of course your schedule and priorities look much different than mine. If it works for you, that’s awesome! But if you find yourself in the blahs whenever a Monday rolls around, it might be time to consider a Monday Makeover! After all, everyone deserves a Happy Monday!

 

Finding My Joy

Friends, those of you who’ve met me more recently would be surprised to know, it wasn’t long ago I was in a rather dark place. I was overweight, overscheduled, overwhelmed. I fell for the perfectionist trap in so many aspects of my life. When I often fell short, I dug myself deeper into a sense of failure. Despair.

I made it my mission to be in control of situations in an attempt to make everyone else happy. It was an exhausting existence. One which consumed me with worry…suffocating every chance for personal fulfillment. See, in living in this manner, I unknowingly left myself out of the equation time and again. If you had asked me what my hopes and dreams were, I couldn’t give you an answer because I was running the program, going through motions that never made sense but seemed expected. It was just what the women in my family had done for generations. In trying to measure up to certain standards, I found myself constantly falling short.

How did I get to this place? I had the love of family and friends…the support was always right there for the asking. But I was missing the integral puzzle piece to my wholeness…ME.

I’d become so caught up in the frantic pace of pleasing others, attempting to meet everyone else’s needs, I forgot myself. Ignored me. It has taken me 4 1/2 years to shift my focus from looking away to looking within. At first it felt terribly self-centered, but wasn’t that the point? Don’t we all need to meet our own needs first in order to be of any help to others? YES!

I admit, this was a terrifying concept at first, because putting myself at the top of my list of priorities negated everything I thought I knew. Yup, this was a scary place. But, little by little, I’ve chipped away at the senseless expectations in my head, jumped clear from my comfort zone, again and again, to create a profound sculpture of a healthier, happier me.

I’m no longer smothered by worry or expectation. I’m trying new things almost daily to point me toward my life purpose. I’m not only able to dream again, I’m living those dreams! And the result? Contentment. Exhilaration. Pure JOY! These are great feelings to take into the new year.

Friends, set aside some quiet time this week to focus on YOU…one more way to put your Best Foot Forward