“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”
Dale Carnegie was on to something. For the longest time, I thought that happiness was a destination or an object. If I went there, or if I had that, or if I made more money, I’d be happy. I can tell you with firm conviction, happiness is not something to be possessed but rather a state of mind to be achieved. The proof is in the pudding. I went to Thailand and Pakistan back in December 2015 – in the midst of my depression – only to be pleasantly surprised. (Think: Eat, Pray, Love.) I came across people that lived in little huts, barely had any food to eat, and wore tattered clothes but they ALL had a smile on their face. I’m pretty sure that protein shakes and functioning toilet bowls were but a dream. I wonder if they even knew what a protein shake was.
It was in that moment that things became so clear to me. I didn’t need anything. I had everything already. It was my job to clear my mind and start to change the way I thought about things: life, love, health, parents, relationships.
So I started doing research on happiness. What makes people happy? What makes people unhappy? Let me tell you, there’s a lot of research on happiness. There’s also a lot of really smart people out there that have put together some awesome resources to help you achieve happiness. I was at a mediation session last week and the instructor shared a handout with us that talked about the 10 Keys to Happiness. Turns out there’s this whole movement out of the UK around happiness. You can find more info here.
You can be happy by living the GREAT DREAM!
I’ve been working very hard on my GREAT DREAM. Let’s talk over a cup of chai…
GIVING: Doing things for other people instantly makes me happy because I can see I’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life. For me, this looks like talking to my friends and giving them my time and attention. Girl talk really does go a long way!
RELATING: I’ve been trying to meaningfully connect more with others. Over the last week, I’ve been commenting more on blogs and relating with the content. As far as face to face contact is concerned, I’m making it a point to get up and talk to someone at work rather than just send an email. Trust me, that email is tempting.
EXERCISING: This one is really hard for me because although I want to lose weight and take better care of my body, I’m just not motivated enough. But every small thing counts. I’ve been parking my car further away so it forces me to walk. Instead of just sitting at my desk during lunch, I actually went outside for a 15 minute walk while listening to comedy on Pandora. I call that an instant pick me up.
AWARENESS: Mindfulness at times feels like some really advanced form of magic. Living in the moment isn’t easy because the wheels in my head just keep spinning. I’m aware that this isn’t healthy and actively have been using thought stopping exercises to help me combat this. Living int he moment is all we can do. Tomorrow isn’t promised and well, yesterday already happened. What’s the point in stressing over stuff that you have no control over. And yes, I know this is easier said than done. For more info on thought stopping, click here.
TRYING OUT: Life is too short not to be learning new things. I recently learned how to knit. I know, it sounds so lame but I’ve always wanted to knit my son a scarf. Guess what, I’m almost done. Next up, I’m going to learn how to play the piano. Mozart’s got nothing on me. JK!
DIRECTION: It’s important to set up goals for yourself but don’t stress yourself out over them. Know that life happens and things can get complicated but as long as your going in the general direction of your goal, you’re good. For me, my goal is to help my sister plan for her wedding and be the best sister I can be.
RESILIENCE: Like Dory from Finding Nemo said, “Just keep swimming.” Those words are just so true and resonate at such a fundamental human level. You gotta just keep going. Things get hard but overcoming those obstacles just make you a stronger and better person. I’m happy to report, that despite the lowest of lows, I’m proud to be writing this blog post.
EMOTIONS: Emotions are feelings. They are not facts. Just remember that. Emotions can get the best of us if we allow them to. Trust me, I know this. It’s really important to look for the good in everything. For example, when I got back from my Asia trip, I was really grateful for central heating and my toilet. #truth
ACCEPTANCE: As a woman with body issues, I can tell you I struggle with this. I’m not comfortable with the way I look but I’m also grateful for the way I do. My scars and stretch marks indicate I’ve been through a few battles and I’m still standing. I have learned to accept that I’m an emotional person that sometimes it’s okay to show those emotions. It doesn’t make me weak; it makes me human.
MEANING:This one is my favorite!!! I want to be a part of something bigger and that’s why I write. I hope to be able to positively impact someone’s life. But I still want to do more. I just recently signed up to volunteer for Unicef. One of my readers suggested I just go and so something I’ve always wanted since in the last post I was struggling with returning back to work. Although I’m still struggling, I know that I need to keep my job to support my child. By accepting this fact, I’m looking for the good in this situation and will volunteer my time until I can become a philanthropist full time.
So what do you think? How am I doing? Do you have a GREAT DREAM? Would love to hear from you!