It’s probably one of the most Googled questions: How to unlock everyday happiness; or, how to be happy; or, how to be happier. It’s something we all crave, and perhaps don’t know that we are happy, until we suddenly turn around, look at the poo toasted sandwich that is our life, and think, “Hang on a minute…”.
Calm down, calm down. I’m not about to give you the secret to a happy life, as much as I’d love to (mainly because it would mean that I’d know what it is). But what I am going to touch on is how to get a little bit closer to everyday happiness.
One simple question
Sometimes we get so caught up in life – our jobs, our homes, our family, friends, pets, cooking, cleaning, the list goes on – that we forget to ask ourselves one very simple question: What makes me happy? The problem is, this question can lead to panic attacks of existential proportions. When you ask yourselves these major questions, you stare into the abyss of nothingness – the nothingness of what could be. So I’ve rephrased this question:
When in my life have I felt happy?
It’s so much easier to look back and reflect. Now this question doesn’t pertain to a year, a week, or even a day. It’s about a moment. That scrapbook of memories you have in your mind where people are laughing and you feel satisfied and confident and beautiful and transcendent – they’re made up of moments. So what are those moments for you? Because it’s in those moments that you might just discover what makes you happy.
Now comes the tricky bit. If you had to carry around a Polaroid camera for the day, what would make it into the scrapbook of happiness? A surprising number of people reply with a despondent, “Nothing”.
As terrifying as it may be, you can applaud yourself for finding that out. Many people go their whole lives without realising. And now comes the fun part – you get to discover what did make you happy, and turn it into something that does make you happy.
Add in the happy
Did you enjoy baking cookies with your mum as a child? Give baking another try. Did you run inside for dinner with your football under your arm, equal parts sweat and joy? Find a local club to join. Did you like to hide away in your bedroom with a pile of books and a cup of tea? Join a bookclub, add a reading nook to your home, have a go at writing one…the options are endless! You just need to listen to your inner self.
As for me? I cannot wait for the coming weekend, when I’ll be heading off to my local ballet shop to purchase my first pair of ballet slippers in 25 years. That’s right! I did the same exercise, and realised that the performance and grace that you get from ballet class is something I truly love.
What makes you happy?