Things I’ve learned about happiness

Lately I have been feeling happy.

At the start of the year I was decidedly unhappy, what with stresses of house moving/failing to sell, sister moving overseas, etc. I’ve really enjoyed realising that I am happy again and it has inspired me to think about how I managed it. I hope that by sharing what I’ve learned I can inspire more happiness in the people around me.

Step one for me was listening to a podcast about happiness by Gala Darling, article and download here. Her messages are simple, common sense things but I’ve noticed that common sense doesn’t necessarily occur to me unless someone points it out. It might be the same for you?

So, taking stock of I really want from life and making steps towards making it happen. I’m hugely jealous of Amphigori right now who has finished her job at Trade Me as of yesterday and is going to do painting and sewing and making steampunk accessories until the next job comes along. Sounds like bliss to me. Of course my dream, you all know, is to make a living from writing and I have managed so many giant steps in that process by thinking small and just doing a bit at a time. What you want you can get, eventually, by working towards it. Well, unless you want to fly to the moon on the back of a sparrow. That might be a bit difficult.

Being in the moment has also helped me, there are heaps of cool articles on The positivity blog, the one that really helped me I linked to some time back was the one about questions to ask yourself. “Why am I feeling angry right now?” also, letting myself feel that emotion, just giving into the anger for a half minute or so often seems to bring the real reason to mind, which means I can solve it and get over it.

Gala Darling also taught me the benefit of being grateful. I don’t just do Things I Love Thursday because I am a pink fluffy bunny who wants to sprinkle the world with glitter (although I am and I do) it’s kind of like therapy. I was skeptical when Gala talked about the benefits of practicing being grateful, but once I’d given it a go I really noticed a difference. I guess it’s to do with making yourself think about things that you genuinely like, love or enjoy. You can’t help but feel a bit better about the world afterwards. I can recommend starting a Things I Love Thursday list enough, it doesn’t have to be online or anything, just start keeping a list for yourself in a notebook or on post its.

Asking for help and being honest about what you want to other people. This is two different things but I think they go hand in hand. In kiwi culture it’s not really done to ask for what you want. I’m not too sure why this is impolite, but I know that when I talked frankly to my new boss about how working at Trade Me isn’t my life’s goal and that I wanted more time to write my heart was beating in a panic rhythm and I was frightened that she would yell at me or tell me I was being stupid, or conceited or something.

I have found that if people like you then they generally want to help you. (Again, this seems obvious but I’m not sure that knowing this and actively using it are the same thing.) As kiwis we are not supposed to ask for what we want and there’s a huge pressure stopping us ask others for help. Which is stupid. If you want help and there is someone who can help you who wants to help then why the hell wouldn’t you ask them?

The converse is also awesome for making yourself happy. Helping people achieve is karmically good for you. And yes, I just made up a word. Karmically.

Other things that I have found give me happiness: dancing, learning new things, indulging whims by having baths, watching silly movies or reading ‘comfort food’ books. Eating well, a salad a day really does keep me healthy! Achieving goals, spending time with people I like who are not negative, making other people happy even in small ways.

Please feel free to add things that have helped you get happy in the comments. As with anything I write on here, this is all based on my own experience, so you might have a totally different view on how to achieve happiness.

PoF: It’s freaking cold and I am an icicle
CO: Inspiration

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6 thoughts on “Things I’ve learned about happiness

  1. What makes me happy? Seeing people I love figure things out: their own path on their own terms.
    So you make me happy, right now.

  2. I so agree with the telling people what you want & I do feel happier to get it out there than to sit & simmer. Personally I’m a lot happier now since J knows exactly what I want. I’ve accepted that I’m not going to get exactly what I want with him as in a relationship it’s a compromise between what two people want – in our case me wanting to move overseas to live & work is altered to at least 1 overseas trip each year which still spoils me. Of course it’s awesome when you’re both completely in sync & can do what you both want but happy mediums are nice too.
    Work it is a little harder. My boss knows I’m not happy & I keep pushing into my role what I want & reminding him that I want to get my promotion. It is scary & I don’t know if I would be quite so brave if I had to do this face to face instead of forcing the issue over the phone. I still haven’t pushed the $$ issue harder by telling him that something needs to change or else I’m will start looking for my promotion elsewhere even though a couple of my workmates are encouraging me to cos it’s just too hard plus I don’t really think it’s fair to try & blackmail my boss when I do believe he is trying to do the best for me anyway.

  3. Hi honey. I’m so pleased that making gratitude lists works for you in terms of keeping you feeling buoyant. It sounds like such a little thing but it really is quite amazing, huh?
    I think really the best thing is to just keep pushing in the direction of things that make us happy. We always have options, even if it appears we don’t — & keeping that in mind can be a wonderful reminder that we are free & in control, regardless of how it all might look at that moment in time.
    I wish you lots of luck in your goal of earning your living by writing. There are never enough writers… there is room for you… there are people all over the world who can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
    Big kisses,
    Gala.

  4. What makes me happy?
    Many of the things you have mentioned here ๐Ÿ™‚
    Accepting myself.
    Not apologising for things that I don’t need to (existing! Living my life my way! Singing loudly in the car!)
    Apologising for things that I do need to!
    Enjoying little beautiful things every day.
    Realising that I am actually the person who makes my life whatever it is…so if I’m not enjoying it – yep, that’d be me holding myself back!
    My awesome friends. Always!
    Tut-notes from the universe in my inbox each day.
    Reading this post just now ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m so glad to hear that you are happy. I discovered the whole “counting my blessings” thing a while ago and find it a great technique to cheer me up when I’m down. I feel so lucky with the opportunities I have and the people I know.
    I love you so much! I also have more stuff to send you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. I totally agree with the not taking things for granted. I sometimes used to walk on the street admiring the day and feeling really lucky I live here in Welly.
    And yes living life out loud is scary but only by admitting what we truly want can we start to make it happen (it only took me 8 years!)
    Actually I was looking at the quilt you made for Angelo today and I was thinking whenever I look at it, I always find something new that I have not seen before, thanks so much for sprinkling your fairy dust in my corner of the world!

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