Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ten steps towards happiness

Jane was looking at something online earlier today and ended up finding a website that was not related to her search but turned out to have some intriguing information. Isn't it fun when that happens? This particular blog is about getting the most out of life. You can find it at mysuperchargedlife (dot com, of course).

So the author's premise, and one Jane embraces heartily, is that happiness is mostly created within us. There are a whole lot of people running around chasing happiness with all their energy. Do they find it? Unlikely, because the most powerful source is exactly where they are not looking. If they were to slow down and contemplate for a bit they might realize that, like Dorothy while visiting Oz, the key to their happiness has been within their grasp all along.

This blogger divided the list into five things to stop doing and five things to start doing. Fair enough. It's nice to have a mixture.

First on the list is to stop being negative. Jane is jumping up and down right now (in a very positive sort of way), agreeing. Negativity does absolutely no good except to draw more of the same to you. And does that look like happiness? No, it does not.

Next? Stop unfavorable comparisons. There will be people who have more than you and people who have less than you. This is the way of the world. Deal with it.

Stop worrying so much. If you are filled with worry, if your sleep is not peaceful, if your stomach hurts with the anxiety, what has that accomplished? Nothing, beyond turning you into a tired person with a stomach ache. Make a plan. If things change, make another.

This next one is great. Stop being so easily offended. For Pete's sake, people. Not everything is meant as a great big personal offense. Sure, some things are...and you will know them when they smack you upside your head. Avoid those people. But in general we are way too quick to take offense when none is intended. Jane likes to remember that there might indeed be one tiny point in the universe around which everything revolves...but that point is not her.

Stop living for tomorrow. This goes along with chasing happiness. If you are always waiting for tomorrow to arrive because then you'll have enough to be happy or meet the right people so you can be happy or experience the next best exciting event so you can be happy you are going to be seriously disappointed. Why? Because just like Annie's song, tomorrow is always a day away. Why not be happy today?

Next comes the start list.

Start finding the good. This sounds so basic, but Jane has found that many people put a lot of energy into finding the negative. If you concentrate on the good, you will find it easier and easier to recognize it in your life every day.

Start practicing gratefulness. Jane has blogged about having a gratitude journal. Definitely one of the most powerful things she does daily. It gets easier and easier to embrace the little blessings and to find them everywhere. Do it. No, really. Do it right now.

Here's something Jane has also mentioned. Start realizing you have choices. Oh, yes, you do. Maybe you couldn't do anything about whatever somebody else chose, but you can decide what happens next in terms of your own choices. Attitude is, after all, altitude.

Start planning happiness activities. What little things do you like to do that boost your spirits? Browse in the library? Meet a friend for ice cream? Dig in the dirt? Cook? Have an idea of these and them. Yes, it really is that simple.

Start helping someone less fortunate. It's amazing what this does for your own happiness. Reaching beyond your own egocentric existence creates an immediate feeling that grows from a little nudge to a great big shove into the land of happiness.

That was the list, both the stops and the starts. Jane thinks it is good stuff and wanted to share. Simple, right? But if it were so simple why isn't everyone doing this? Why, indeed?

1 comment:

  1. I love this blog entry so much that I am going to print it out and make (ok, 'encourage') Carter and Cooper to read it. I will also work to put the suggestions into practice. Thank you for sharing these words of wisdom. How are Jane's animals doing?