“Advertisers tell us that happiness comes from buying their products. Celebrities and the media pretend it comes from beauty and fame. And politicians claim that nothing matters more than growing the economy.” (International Day of Happiness website)
Think about it. When did you have lasting happiness from buying something?
- If it is a food, you consume it, or it goes bad and you throw it out.
- If it is a item of clothing, it wears out, goes out of style, or doesn’t fit anymore.
- If it is a product, we become bored with it, it breaks or wears out, or we no longer need it.
I’m an avid watcher of the show Nashville (and yes, I am sorry to see that the network has cancelled it). What I like about it is the fact that it shows the facade of happiness of many performers and the day to day struggles they have in their real lives. So many celebrities appear happy but are heavy drinkers (to the point of alcoholism), drug users (prescription and illegal drugs), suffering from one of the many eating disorders, or in therapy. Yes, most of them pull themselves back together before the fans ever believe that there was any problem. And yes, they learn what genuine happiness is.
The adage “Money can’t buy happiness” is true. Yes, money is a necessity and lack of it causes a great deal of stress. It is difficult to feel any happiness when you struggle to pay the day to day bills, but on the flip side, just because you have money doesn’t mean you will be happy.
Let’s look at 5 ways
to create genuine happiness
in your daily life.
#1. Learn to be comfortable being your own best friend.
Over the years, I’ve heard so many people complain that they can’t go somewhere because they have no one to go with. Or they complain that their friends don’t like something they do. Or that they have no friends.
Everyone should have ONE BEST FRIEND – YOURSELF!
You have to like yourself as a person. You have to like being with yourself. You have to be comfortable doing things once in a while by yourself.
I guess it is a lesson my mother taught me. As an only child, she was one to do things by herself if there was no one to go with her. When I was a child, she instilled that in me as well. “So no one wants to go for a bike ride. Go by yourself.” My mother lived what she preached. She went on trips with a tour group because she wanted to see the world. Even when she joined a trip as an individual, she met great people and some of them became life long friends.
#2. Have a positive pitch for the day or the week or the month.
On the wall just outside my bedroom door, I have my calendar and an old slate chalkboard. Every month, I look for a new positive quote that can inspire me to a happier life and write in in colored chalk on the board. Some months I get artistic and draw a picture of something along with the quote.
On the desk in my writing studio, I have my inspiration cards. The sayings come from the “7 Days of Inspiration” column in Woman’s World magazine. I’ve cut the column out for years. Recently, I cut the individual quotes out and glued them to cut down blank flash cards that fit into a small cigarillo box. Once a week, I blindly draw a new one from the box and place it on the large standing paperclip so that I can see it as I work.
#3. Keep a L.O.G. Book
I like this task, but I will admit that I am not consistent with it yet. A L.O.G. Book is a Life of Gratitude Book.
In it, I record two things: 3 three things that brought me happiness that day AND 3 positive things that happened that day.
In the beginning, it was sometimes difficult to find three things for each category each day, but as I practiced it, seeing the positive in the day became easier.
I’m not consistent with it yet, but I’m working on it. Time gets away from me, and before I know it, I am ready to crawl into bed. It isn’t until the next morning that I realize I didn’t write anything down.
The lesson here is to keep plugging away at it.
#4. Get some sunshine.
Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) is real. During the winter months in Northern Illinois, I knew exactly when my husband’s mood would spiral downward. It was on those days that I made sure he would get to the tanning beds. We even invested in “sunlight” bulbs for the lamps that were near where he sat. Both helped his mood.
Once he got into over-the-road trucking, I found that the more he got outdoors in the sunshine when he was out, the better his mood would be on the weekends he was home.
Over the years as I got older, I saw the middle of winter, the cold, the clouds, and the snow bring my mood down. I learned to sit under the “sunlight” bulbs in the lamps.
Now that we have moved to Middle Tennessee, it is easier in the winter to get outside and get some sun.
#5. Own your roller coaster.
I believe that life is like a roller coaster. Some days we wait in anticipation for something to happen, like when the coaster car is creeping toward the top of the first hill. We know the drop is coming; we just aren’t sure when the last car will let go.
Some days are like the flat stretches of track. The routine of the day runs smoothly.
But other days are like the loops and corkscrews. We start the day screaming the moment our feet hit the floor as the day throws us things that are unexpected.
When you own your roller coaster, we realize that one day is different from the next and we learn to be flexible, and that flexibility helps us deal with the unexpected.