WARNING – This is not a post about thinking yourself to health and wellness. Why? Because I have a lot of trouble with the entire concept of “being as happy as I decide to be,” of “telling the universe what I desire” and attracting it to myself.
I have coped with mood disorders, and meditation did not cure me, nor posting messages on my mirror and refrigerator to encourage positive thinking. Telling people how much I wanted to be close to family, did not make the job opportunities appear to keep us close to home. Planning, preparing, and doing the right things did not prevent layoffs, unwanted relocation, illness, and conflict from happening.
No, It was the support of the medical community and wise counselors that pulled me from the clutches of depression. For months, not days, my miserable slog through life never seemed to end, as much as I wanted an ending.
Thankfully, I did learn how to reach for happiness. It wasn’t even a matter of deciding what I want and going for it. It was so much simpler. I had to quit trying to figure out what went wrong, and just accept things as they are, and just deal with it, or avoid it, which is often more appropriate with things I can’t change. Even if I could figure out why things happened as they have, it doesn’t change the current situation. I just stopped working the puzzles of why and how. I needed to learn what makes me happy.
Productivity makes me happy.
So how do I stop working on these puzzles? First, I write it down, leaving my concerns on the page. Then, I keep myself busy. I have found that being productive, in any way, is preferable to ruminating on problems with no solution in sight. So I clean, cook, organize, walk the dogs, sew, crochet, or write. The activity doesn’t matter, as long as there is a result that I have done something productive.
Having friends makes me happy.
My social network has broadened, with friends from church, exercise, and work. I can stave off the blues by having social interactions that I look forward to. Rather than climbing down into a hole when bad things happen in the world, I can be with others who share my concerns.
Music makes me happy.
When I lost my voice for two months, due to a horrible cough, I realized how much I value music. Listening to music, yes, but more particularly making music, as in singing. I have not been in a choir for five years, but it wasn’t until I lost my voice, and thought I might never again sing, that I realized how important singing is to me. Posted in our old choir room was a quotation, “We don’t sing because we are happy. We are happy because we sing.” I have never left a choir practice or performance without a smile on my face.
Moving my body makes me happy.
My exercise class makes me smile. My water aerobics class got me moving even with bad knees. Walking and hiking lets me get close up with the natural world around me. Bicycle riding gives me a rush of speed and brings back the freedom and joy of childhood. Dancing (and singing) in the shower makes me feel uninhibited and joyful.
Collecting memories makes me happy.
I have read that travel is the key to happiness, and I believe it. New places and new experiences offer a break from the routine, and a sense of adventure. Collecting brochures and planning the trails I want to walk, what I want to see, and what I want to do give me joy in the planning as well as in the doing. The memories last a lifetime. Even when things don’t go well, there is still a story to share.
Perhaps you have other ideas to share for how to reach for happiness. For now, being with Hubby will make me happy.