My One Word aspiration for January 2019 is to Create Happiness. A microcosm of life, this month presented both expected and unexpected happiness challenges. I know I’m living my best life when I am reading, writing, and cooking regularly; this month has been all out of whack on all fronts and the best I’ve been able to do is to ask myself whether I am present in the moment (sometimes yes, others no). Still, I’ve been conscious of happiness and what I might do to develop more.
To that end, I’ve read a few articles on happiness (this one from a minimalist perspective and this one on time). The best was this one in The New York Times. Culling together what I’ve learned, here are some things I’m committed to to increase my happiness.
Process my life through writing. Writing helps me become aware of myself and it’s a whole lot cheaper than therapy.
Talk to myself like a friend. I can get lost down the rabbit hole of my own ruminations, completely stuck in negative thinking. I’m going to try to stem that flow by imagining I am my own best friend.
Keep up my gratitude practice, which also helps me stay in the moment. I keep a gratitude journal to record at least three unique-to-today things for which I’m grateful, along with quotes from Scripture or other books.
Use the Pomodoro Technique. Set timers to focus for 25 minutes/5 minute breaks x4 for 2 hours of increased productivity.
Move for 30 minutes most days and some days more. Just do it.
Say thank you. It’s too easy to be critical. I want to increase my appreciation for the gift of being a living, breathing, healthy human.
Get outside with my pets and my humans. Four things working together here: exercise, beautiful NorCal fresh air, the joy of furry loves, and shared time with people who matter.
Cook and eat real food. Bulk cook so that there is (almost) always something healthy in the fridge. Choose fresh over processed food.
Hydrate. More water, more tea.
Smile more. Find reasons to laugh. Be silly. Don’t take myself too seriously.
Declutter at the speed of my own life. Don’t wait for time to do the massive decluttering projects, just spend 1-15 minutes right now (not on social media but) eliminating, organizing, or cleaning to make the environment more satisfying. I already make my bed (research shows that happy people make their beds!), but I want to turn my bedroom into an oasis, which means no clutter.
Light candles and turn on the diffuser. Pretty light and intoxicating scent are relaxing.
Practice silence. Minimize noise and negativity of all sorts and choose quiet, deep breathing.
Invest in positive relationships. Minimize negative ones. I have my go-to people, but I can more consistently invest in them: both in time and in letting them know how important they are to me.
Spend money and time on shared experiences. Create memories rather than collect stuff.
Be kind and generous. Let people know I’m thinking of them. Become more thoughtful towards those I don’t see regularly, especially in recognizing important events (birthdays, etc). Give away time and stuff to bless others.
Enjoy alone time. Relish time alone to indulge in my favorite pursuits, especially reading.