Like many others I’ve been off for the extended bank holiday. I decided to catch up on my personal reading. (I left the business books at home this time.) In one of the chick-lit books, a line made me smile and think: “…that’s when I realized what my shortcut to happiness was.” The main character of the book was talking about a newfound love of crafting; for her that’s what made her happy, using her hands and creating something.
This got me thinking
1) What makes me happy and
2) How do I “short cut” to it each and every day?
Do you truly know what makes you happy and how do you fit more of it into the day?
Psychologist Sonja Lynbomirsky believes 40% of our happiness comes from our actions, attitude and response to life’s inevitable roller coaster. You know me; the word action. That’s music to my ears.
The great Dalai Lama once said, "Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions."
Let’s take some action together.
Happiness Short Cut - easy as 123!
Step 1 - Let’s find out what makes us happy.
To find out what makes you happy, pay attention to what makes you smile, what you are doing when time just flies by. Ask others when they have seen you at your happiness. Take some time to reflect.
This betterhelp.com article talks about some of the common things that make use happy; Hobbies, family, pets, volunteering, community. The list can go on. What is it for you and why does that make you happy?
For me I realised I have a long list of things that make me smile. I love my job, my family, and friends. I have a few hobbies I adore such as sewing and cross stitch. BUT if I had to put my finger on just one thing…I love being ‘active’ outdoors.
Walking, running, SUP boarding, cycling (And, yes in all weathers. Remember I’m from the North of England. It always rains there.) I’m especially happy when I’m with others (hubby or friends), but I can be also very content on my own. I love those moments of reflection in my own company.
Being in France last week, we cycled every day. Yes, it’s often sunny and warm there, but when I’m on the bike flying down the river paths, I laugh out loud, I smile, I am often trying to beat my previous time...I am just lost in the moment.
My hubby has a video of me cycling through the Loire, hair floating free and you should see the beaming smile on my face. I kid you not, you could have seen that smile from space. I want to feel like that everyday.
Step 2 – Figure out how you can do that thing each and every day, then plan it in.
Focusing on what makes you happy every day and revelling in it makes us happier. Even if it’s just 15mins a day how can you plan in doing some of your happiness activity?
Recently a friend of mine got a dog, another has decided to block out 15mins reading before breakfast. We all say time is a killer but it’s just an excuse. SORRY, BUT ITS TRUE, DON’T USE TIME AS AN EXCUSE. If you really try and want to you can get up 15mins earlier in a day or stop looking at social media for 15mins “to do something less boring.” (Yes, that’s a reference to a 1980’s kids’ program)
For me as I’ve said being outdoors and being physical in some way makes me happy. So how do I fit this into my busy business workday?
I decided when I came back to UK, I would take my bike to work at every opportunity I could and when that wasn’t possible, I would book in a 30min walk or run outdoors. So far so good. I’ve managed to work it out that I have cycled to all my appointments and business meetings.
#NRG Tip – How can you combine a couple of activities together to incorporate a focus on your happiness. Changing something you have to do into something that makes you happy.
Step 3 - Pass it forward.
Help someone else find their happiness and prioritise it each and every day. This might be another family member, a child, a neighbour, a stranger. Helping someone else to find their happiness or be happier for a few moments in a day gives an extra warm and fuzzy feeling. Remember when someone gave you a compliment; how amazing did you feel in that moment.
That’s it, easy as 123.
Whether you are doing something that makes you happy, helping someone else to find their happiness, focusing your intention on activity that can make you happy will in it self-make you happier. And when you are happier you build and strengthen your life resilience. Life is a pleasure, it’s easier, its more satisfying. Studies of shown you will be healthier and increase your chances of living longer. (Who doesn’t want that!!)