Do you remember that scene in Sex and the City (the movie) when Samantha asks Charlotte how often she feels happy in her relationship. Charlotte answers, “Every day. Not all day every day, but every day.” Then Samantha admits, while eating another bite of ice cream, that she hasn’t felt happy in 6 months, which she assumed was normal. What was reallly going on here was that Samantha never took the time to figure out how to be happy in her situation. And then it was too late.
The Secret of Happiness Isn’t a Secret
I was sitting in my home office last week at the desk that my husband so lovingly built me, and I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about this month on Culley Avenue. Happiness, and learning how to be happy, were the overarching themes of all of the topics that I had brainstormed. Mainly because every topic I came up with made me realize that I am happy and I hadn’t recognized it.
Happiness is not a Destination
What I realized that day was that I had never grasped that I had finally reached the place that I had dreamt of being for more years than I can remember. I have always wanted to live in the country. Working for myself had been a dream of mine since I had my first boss. Not to mention, one of my biggest career goals was to be able to create my own hours. Most of all, I have always wanted to be in control of my own life.
You guys, I have arrived at all of those places. For the past decade I worked my ass off, made A TON of mistakes and learned everything the hard way. But that all brought me to my version of happiness. Yet I still found things to complain about! How is that possible?
How to be Happy
I was letting the small stuff really get to me. Minor details throughout my day were throwing me off balance. I made less money than I did yesterday, I didn’t pay off any debt today, I didn’t run, I ate a bowl of ice cream, etc. A constant conversation in my house over the past year is, “What would this be like if I didn’t have any debt.” “How happy would I be if I didn’t have any debt.” “Just think about what we can do when I don’t have any debt.”
These were the things that were making me sad and anxious and causing self-doubt. Until I started to remember the bigger picture. Life isn’t about each and every second of every day. It isn’t about how much money you have or how fast you pay off debt. (Even though I am still racing to pay off mine as quick as possible.) It’s about the overall impact your life has on the people and things around you.
Don’t worry about your bank account. Worry about how many people will show up at your funeral.Gary Vaynerchuk
All I’ve ever wanted was to make a difference in this world. That is the main reason I joined the Marine Corps at seventeen. But the first difference I have to make is with myself.
So here is what I’m doing to remember that happiness is around me every day and how I intend to appreciate it:
Stop and take a deep breath
I know, everyone says that. But everyone wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true. Do it now. Stop. Take a big long, deep breath. Exhale. Now take a look around at everything that you have. It is truly amazing.
I have always loved the practice of yoga. Mostly because I felt that everyone who does it is extremely peaceful where I am not so much. I have been adding yoga into my daily routine and I can feel the impact that it has had on my life. I just go to YouTube and find a yoga video and do it in my living room. It’s free and easy and I can do it on my own time.
The days where I do not leave my office are the days that I am the crabbiest. Make time every day to be outside. I have an Apple watch that tells me every hour to stand. I take that time to go outside and grab some fresh air for a minute or two.
During the summer, I lay in my hammock with a book or just listen to a podcast. It’s so relaxing and I absolutely love it!
When I was younger, I would read everything in sight. I always had a book. Then somewhere along the line, I lost it. I lost the “time” to read. I love Audible because I can “read” while I’m driving, working, doing the dishes, etc.
Go for a walk, stretch, find some form of exercise that you enjoy. Just remember to exercise your body every single day. Your body carries you through this life, take care of it.
Recently, I joined a challenge on Map My Run with some friends. This is a fun way to give you the push you may need to exercise.
Watch what you eat
I am a foodie down to the core but I hate to cook. On the days when we just throw in a pizza or eat too many chips, my brain feels it. I know that sounds weird but it does. I feel sluggish, tired, lazy. Eat the foods that energize your body. For Christmas, I received The Blue Zones Kitchen Cookbook and I’ve been loving it!
Find something every day that makes you happy
Whatever it is, do it. Then acknowledge it.
Remember that life is a marathon. Happiness is what happens when you’re busy living. The secret about happiness isn’t a secret, you just have to remember to acknowledge it.
What do you do that makes you happy? Do you feel happy every day?
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