What Makes You Happy?

What makes you happy?

When was the last time you checked in with your happiness? 

If you were put on the spot and asked how happy you are, what would you say?

Would you break eye contact and stumble around for a generic response like “I’ve never been happier,” or “Of course, I am happy?”

Each and every one of us deserves to live a life filled with happiness. The catch is though, happiness doesn’t just happen. We are the creators of our own happiness. It is up to you to recognize what fills you with joy, bliss, exuberance, laughter, warmth, satisfaction, tranquility, and contentment. This recognition often stems from a bit of reflection.

The source of happiness comes in all shapes and sizes. It can be something as simple as filling your refrigerator with colorful fresh and healthy food for the week, taking a long walk on the beach with your dog, or sitting by a fire with your best friend and a glass of wine after a long week of work. Or, it can be something more monumental like watching your children grow into kind, ambitious, and inspiring individuals, reaching your financial goal and embarking on a grand adventure to a new land, dedicating your time to a career that you truly love, or spending every day with the love of your life. The spectrum is infinite.

To live a happy life is to dance across the spectrum. It is acknowledging both the little and grand things that bring you joy and fulfillment. It is also going beyond just acknowledging what contributes to your happiness and making a conscious effort to ensure that a multitude of those things are part of your everyday life.

Make a list, mental or written, of all the things that come to mind when you think of yourself happy. The list doesn’t need to be in any particular order. Just take note of what surfaces in your mind.

Here’s a quick example of the start of a list.

I am happy when…

I am in the ocean.

I am outside and surrounded by nature.

I am doing something active like surfing, walking, hiking, swimming, paddle boarding, or snorkeling.

I do yoga several times a week.

My house is stocked with fresh produce and healthy food.

I read.

I do something creative like write or take photographs.

I travel.

I am with the person I love.

I am with my family.

I am with my dog.

I spend time with my closest friends.

I watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee.

I complete a deadline for a project I’ve been working really hard on and see my finalize work published.

I have time to myself. 

Try and dig deep and really think about even the littlest things that bring you joy like doing a coconut avocado facial while drinking a hot cup of tea or taking a nap during a rainy afternoon or perhaps cranking up the tunes and lighting up the grill. When you feel like you have a pretty substantial list, the next step is to evaluate how often the things that make you happy are taking place in your current life. As simple as it may sound, the key to happiness is doing more of what makes you happy.

It is easy to get caught up in the everyday. It is easy to make excuses, procrastinate, and get your priorities out of wrack. It is easy to put everyone else’s needs and happiness before your own. But this year is your year. Part of living your best life is being mindful, present, and in tune with you. Sometimes that first step to change is just asking a simple question. 

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