Happiness Project last week and have been thinking about it ever since. (You can listen to it here; it's in the January 19th episode. I love Jian.)
I've written about my disposition before. I am happy. Cheerful. Content. Thankful. Lots of people comment on what a happy person I am. To a certain degree, it's just how I am. But a lot of it, I choose. I'll be the first one to say what a fortunate person I am, living in Canada, with a stunning (if I do say so myself) family, and good health. I also have a few university degrees, a job that I love, and the freedom to pursue hobbies which I also love. While a little bit of this is out of my control, I've worked really hard for all of these things, too.
In order to foster my sense of contentedness and well being, I do a few things in particular which I've been thinking about.
1. I try to be content with what I have, while making it the best it can be.
For example: I love looking at gorgeous images of homes, gardens, and other people's spaces. Rather than lamenting and saying "If only I had that space, that money, lived in that place", I recognize what I like about it and figure out how to incorporate that into my life with what I have or can reasonably work toward. I have this house / job / situation. How can I make it the best it can be? Incidentally, we are looking for a perfect new-to-us home which a) allows chickens and goats and b) has space for the two kids and two home-based businesses we weren't planning for when we bought this house. In the meantime, we are making do (quite nicely, I think) and are thankful that we have a warm place where we're all together. It requires more effort to think proactively and productively, but the payoff in happiness and satisfaction is huge.
Speaking of effort paying off...*tidy segue*
2. Could a little bit of effort pay off in increased happiness? Usually, yes.
One of my non-New-Year's goals is to evaluate possible actions based on potential payoff. I think of it as "the worth-it factor". For example, I know that getting together with friends really makes me happy and thankful and all kinds of other warm-fuzzy descriptors. But it's easy to speed through the days and weeks and months just getting through. But I don't want to just get through, I want to love them and enjoy every minute. So, even though it's some extra work in planning, and preparing and cleaning up, it's worth the effort to me to have people over or to arrange to get together for a meal or playdate. Doing an extra something for someone like taking a loaf of bread to the neighbours is something which requires a little bit of effort on my part, but is worth it because it fosters a sense of community, shares something handmade, and shows that we care. Ummm... and it's delicious.
*here's where things get kind of flaky, but I really mean it*
I really, truly, deep-down believe that there are enough tragic, negative, heart-wrenching and horrible things that people have to go through and that people inflict on one another. As long as I'm able to, I want to put more beauty, love, and kindness out there, in any big or small way that I can.
So there. Is there one little thing that you've been meaning to do that could be worth the effort? What is it? Why have you been putting it off? Are you going to do it now?
Things that are making me happy (and thankful for my sight) today:
New flickr stream and blog that I just discovered and love. This ring is especially lovely, and did you see that tea selection? Dreamy.