What is happiness? Is it a journey or a destination? Is it a mythical state of being that we spend our entire lives striving to attain or is it a cumulation of simple joys that we look back upon with contentment and fondness? I personally think it’s a little of both, and the trap that many people fall into is something that happens to some people along their journey to finding happiness: they become blind to the small pleasures that scatter their path to joy as they are so fixated on their destination. When this happens, a real tragedy is written. Not being able to recognize the simple blessings in life is perhaps one of the saddest things that could happen to a person.
So what are the simple pleasures in life, and are they things we can create for ourselves or do they happen to us organically? Again, I believe it is a combination of both for there are some things we can control and some things we can’t. So what about the things we can control? How do we find these tiny moments of bliss? You create them, of course. And it doesn’t take much. Start by…
- Opening your windows. (As one who is victim to seasonal allergies, I know this can be difficult, but I truly do believe that even a few minutes with the windows open can do much to improve one’s mood—out with the stale air and in with the fresh!)
- Go for a walk or hike or do some sort of physical activity outdoors. Soak up some natural vitamin D and move your body. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise, but it does have to happen.
- Stock your home with comfort treats. My favorites include an assortment of teas, sparkling juices, and a mix of healthy and unhealthy snacks. (I tend to go for the three c’s: cheeses, crisps, and chocolates.)
- Incorporate house plants or flowers into your home. They are life, they are color, and they need your care, no matter how low maintenance some may be.
- Do something creative—make something from scratch.
- Keep a clutter-free home.
- Eat something natural—it really will make you feel good!
- Light some candles—not only do they make your home smell inviting, they also create a cozy atmosphere no matter the season.
- Enjoy the silence. Turn off the TV, step away from the computer, and mute the radio. Remember what a singing bird sounds like? Do you recall the sound of the wind? Nature has its own soundtrack if you just stop to listen to it.
- Take a nap. This does not mean you are being lazy. It means you are allowing your body to naturally recharge. And it can do wonders in terms of boosting your mood.
- Be thankful. Whether it’s for your health, your job, your friends and family or for a sunny day, finding something to be thankful for reminds us there are things out there to be happy about.
- Greet a stranger on the street. You may experience some rejection, but for every reply you do get in return to your simple “Good morning/afternoon/evening,” you can deposit it into your happiness jar, because not enough people show kindness to strangers these days.
- Donate to a cause of your choice. It doesn’t have to be much, but it can still be meaningful.
- Write a handwritten letter…and send it. In this day and age of emails and text messages, handwritten notes are to be treasured.
- Do something spontaneous. If you are a planner like I am, this can be difficult, but it can also be liberating.
It doesn’t take much to create moments of happiness in your life. The important thing is to recognize them when they come your way. And they do happen every day. Are you looking out for them?