Believing that happiness depends on external factors, outside your control, is a common trap. “I’ll be happy when...” The list could go on and on! Hinging happiness on something in the future or outside your direct control is a recipe for disappointment and can leave you feeling unsupported and unappreciated. One technique to manage these feelings is to work out your happiness equation.
Conduct an experiment using a calendar and curiosity
One way to re-discover the simple things that make you smile or feel special is to record one thing each day for a month or even a year, which made you happy that day. When you reduce the scope of this exercise to
day-to-day events, it helps avoid the trap mentioned before. If you’ve lost sight of what you enjoy and it feels like all work and no play, get out a calendar and with a good dose of curiosity start searching for ‘one thing’.
What makes you happy may be much simpler than you think
One young woman shared her findings after doing this exercise for 12 months. Most days her happy moment was something simple...taking the dog for a walk...the colour of a sunset...having a friend over...picking
wildflowers. Then there were extra special things like the thrill (and the chill) of standing on top of Mt Wellington with gale force winds blowing! At the end of the year she reviewed her entries, made a list of her top 11 experiences for the year and discovered there were two themes. 1. Nine out of eleven ‘happy times’ took place outdoors 2. None of her ‘happy times’ required spending large sums of money! It was pretty clear from looking at her list that her happiest times had been when she was spending time outdoors with friends. For her: Outdoors + Friends = Happy. Each person’s list is filled with clues to activities that can provide essential self-care or lift a low mood, both invaluable for families.
Write your own happiness equation
Some common Happy equations are Family + Play, Friends + Games, Partner + Quality Time, Outdoors + Physical activity. If you don’t already know yours, today is the perfect time to start working it out!
- Nature is nurturing
- Happy times seldom require spending large sums of money
- Write down your happiness equation and apply it to life
“There is no such thing as the pursuit of happiness, but there is the discovery of joy.” - Joyce Grenfell
About the authors: Bare Hands is run by allied health professionals committed to helping women embrace positive change by providing access to practical education. To find out more give us a call, email us or visit www.barehands.com.au