Leftover Happiness

First, today is Hubby’s birthday!  He’s joined me in the ripe old age of 32.  I’d like to say he won’t be able to make fun of me for being older than him again until June but we all know that he still will. lol.  For his gifts this year I got him a Hobbit clock with the meals printed around it and had my bestie make him a afghan with his favorite colors.  A few weeks ago he told me that he didn’t want a quilt anymore (which I had been working on but I haven’t been able to access my sewing machine since May) and I remembered that he told me once that he LOVES afghans and that when he’s sick he’ll sometimes ask me to get out one of mine.  Now he has his own and it is BEAUTIFUL.  Thanks, Bestie!

The more I think about this blog and the more I stick to writing in it, the more ideas I have for things to talk about.  Like I said, my intention for this year is to have a happier life.  I have been growing more and more bogged down with all of the bullshit, normal and extraordinary, and I want that to change.

I’m actually a big fan of self help books and I have taken on a number of happiness projects over the years.  Obviously, Gretchin Rubin’s The Happiness Project is one of my favorites and one that has stuck with me for a long time.  I’ve pieced together all kinds of ideas and advice as I’ve gone along.  There have been books and podcasts and internet articles.  Whenever I feel too down I tend to google something like “how to live your best life now” or “easy ways to be happier.”  I have tried some things and found them unhelpful.  I have made some things into habits.  Then there are things that I loved but let slide.  So, let’s look at some of my Leftover Happiness.

  1. I am not a fan of gratitude journals.  I have tried to keep them numerous times but after a while it just felt repetitive.  I wrote the same things down every day.  I felt like a broken record.  I felt boring.  I ended up feeling more annoyed than grateful.  What I’ve discovered works better for me is taking time throughout the day to be grateful as things happen.  If I’m alone, I will verbally thank the universe for something that is making me happy, even if it is just a song on the radio.  I don’t know if it helps my overall happiness but it doesn’t hurt it like keeping a written journal did.
  2. I meditate every day.  Not for long, 5 minutes or less, but every day.  Okay, every week day.  As part of my morning routine.  And sometimes it helps me remember to be more mindful as I go through the rest of my day.  When I feel like I’m losing it or getting a little to jittery I remember to breath and focus.  I think that this has helped but I’m not great at it.  This morning I caught myself thinking about pumpkin pie while I meditated.  At least it wasn’t something stressful!
  3. Working out.  I have worked out for 16 or 17 years pretty much every day.  The difference is that until earlier this year I was doing it purely because I wanted to lose weight.  I was actually losing weight and I wasn’t actually working out very hard.  I’m still not working out hard but I am still working out.  Because after I stopped to think about it, I like to work out a little bit because it makes me feel good.  It gives me a little boost.  And thinking of it that way has made it more enjoyable for me.  Maybe I’m just walking around the house in the morning but it’s better than nothing.
  4. Learning a new language.  I read about this in a book once, that learning something like a new language or a new instrument made people happier.  I worked on both, but I’ll get to the instrument next.  I downloaded Duolingo a couple of years ago and started learning French.  For a long time I did it every day and I did actually really enjoy it.  When I started a new job I let it slip.
  5. Learning a new instrument.  For our wedding, Bestie and her husband pieced together enough of a gift for us to get a banjo, which I had been wanting for years.  For a while I played it every day for, again, just about five minutes and I really did enjoy it.  It did make me happy.  This is another thing that slipped over the years.

So, there’s a rundown of some of my leftovers.  Who knows what kind of habits I’ll build this time around!

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