“Happiness is not out there, it’s in you.”
We all the know the saying, “The best things in life are free.” Well, it’s only half true. The best things are free with respect to monetary value, but you have to work at it, like, muscle-aching labor work!
One of the best things in life that you can’t buy is happiness. But you do have to work for it. How do you think the phrase pursuit of happiness came to life? I mean, did you see the movie (The Pursuit of Happyness)? The struggles that Christopher (Will Smith) went through to give his son a better life is no walk in the park. He sacrificed. He compromised. He pursued. And he never gave up! That’s the moral of the story.
Though we have to work to gain it, happiness is really a state of mind. Once you get in the habit of thinking happy thoughts, you have to actual act on it. Which, if you ask me, working a graveyard shift in the warehouse of a fish market is easier. But once that positive momentum is gained, wonderful things start to happen. You just have to be consistent at it. And like everything else you do, the more you practice, the better you get.
Forming new healthier and happier habits are definitely a lot harder than it sounds. It’s easier to play the role of a robot and go through your days doing the same things and feeling the same way. At least, you won’t feel disappointment and there’ll be no surprises that you’d have to actually deal with at a moment’s notice. Even in the miserable in-denial state you’re in, it’s just easier that way because you’ve gotten comfortable. How sad is that? You’ve become accustomed to your own misery!
Next thing you know, you’re in your 50’s regrettably looking back at the last 20 years of your life and you can’t remember one thing that you can be proud of. Take it from someone (that would be me) who has gone down that road and let me tell you, it’s a scary reality. And all I needed was just a few depressing years to realize that this was not the life I wanted to continue living.
So I brought out my dusty Bucket List and started to read through it. I then began to add to it. I dug deep in my soul to add as many adventures as I can that I wanted to experience. My new goal was to start crossing off at least one thing from my list every month. When I was done, for the night at least, I looked at my list and I had to admit I was a little overwhelmed. Where do I begin?
I realized then that there was another list I needed to start. Somewhere along the line, I had lost myself. I’d forgotten how it felt to be passionate. As much as it hurt to admit, I’d forgotten how it felt to be truly happy. I had to gain my positive energy back and I knew I needed an attitude adjustment to achieve it.
So I started doing some research online on self-improvement, happiness, and what happy people are doing. I found a lot of really great and interesting stuff. (You gotta love the internet!) It all kind of boils down to a general list that’s written in many different ways.
I started my own list of habits and added a little bit of flare. I called it — Groove List. My original title was “How Lhorie got her groove back,” but that’s just overdoing it, I think…The title was way too long.
Because this was a “Groove List”, I made sure my action items reflected just that– GROOVE! Hence the name. Here are the top habits I’ve implemented in my life that have definitely made me a happier person:
1. Sing in the shower
Did you know that singing releases endorphins? And how great do you feel after showering? Put these two together and you’d be unstoppable! Get in the habit of singing your heart out while you’re cleaning yourself. It’s quite a rejuvenating experience. Get it? Rejuvenate?
2. Laugh at yourself
Seriously, who likes to be around people that are so serious all the time? Do you? It’s a killjoy and a buzzkill. People are going to laugh at you regardless. Why should they have all the fun? Laughter is an endorphin within itself. Learn to laugh at yourself. This way, people will be laughing with you as opposed to laughing at you.
We all make mistakes. Sometimes very careless and stupid mistakes. But if it’s not going to leave you homeless or in prison, laugh it out. Your happiness, or misery, is the end result of your reaction to awkward and uncomfortable situations.
3. Make a gratitude list
People who appreciate the things they have are the happy ones. So instead of complaining about all the things going wrong in your life, try appreciating the things that are going right. It’s hard to see through the pain and disappointments at first. But if you can think of at least ONE thing you are grateful for, it starts to trickle down.
I have a Gratitude Journal that I write in every morning before everything else. Well, everything except coffee. I make sure to list at least 3 things I’m grateful for. I make it very specific to evoke a feeling of anything-is-possible. By making this my morning priority, I go about my day feeling happy. And when I start off my day with this level of enthusiasm, everything always seem to go my way.
Here is an excerpt from a page in my Gratitude Journal:
- With all my heart, I am truly happy and grateful for all the great ideas and articles to write about in my blog. I am filled with so much inspiration coming in from all aspects of my life and I’m so grateful to have finally found that. Thank you for the signs that inspired me and led me to these great ideas.
- With all my heart, I am truly happy and grateful for the free food I received yesterday at work. Just one of the perks I love about my job. I had forgotten my lunch and I didn’t want to step out with lunch rush hour. A meeting just ended and they didn’t finish their catered food so it was brought to the kitchen for everyone. My office does this all the time. I just saved myself time and money! It was perfect because I’ve also been craving chicken kebobs and it’s exactly what was leftover. Thank you for a delicious free meal!
- With all my heart, I am truly happy and grateful for this beautiful weather. The sun is shining so bright with just a hint of cool breeze in the air. I love that it’s winter here and I can still go outside with just a shirt on. Thank you for this beautiful day.
4. Make a BUCKET LIST with Visuals
Lists are always more fun with visuals. Since there is now an app for everything, you don’t have to start from scratch. There is an app you can download from your phone or tablet called iWish – Life Goals, Wishlist, Bucket List. Look for this icon:
You can create your list on the iWish app by adding ideas already on there or you can create your own and even add your own photos. It’s got hundreds of ideas you can choose from in categories such as travel, wellness, sports, places, and more.
5. Be present
Daydreaming is fun, but save this for alone time. When you’re at work, be at work. Don’t think about how messy the house is. When you’re talking to your better half, be in the conversation. When you’re cooking dinner, be in the kitchen. When you’re physically in one place, let your mind be in the same place. When you’re mind is constantly wandering off to Lalaland, you miss out on serendipity. This is how you get to the age of fifty and wonder where your life went. Don’t just go through the motions. Participate!
Let’s say for example you’re at work and your full attention is at the task at hand. You notice an important piece of information that was overlooked because it was hidden in the fine print. If you hadn’t caught this, the project you have been working on for months could have been delayed, or worse, fell through. But because you caught it just in time, you were able to resolve the issue before it got out of hand. You pat yourself on the back for job well done because you are awesome! You go home with a smile on your face and brag to your lover how you saved the day, because you are awesome.
You may not remember this event 30 years from now, but it’s the starting point of more awesome days to come that you will remember, simply because you were present.
6. Kick up your heels
We all have our dreams and goals that we strive for. These dreams are the reasons we work so hard. But life is not all work and you don’t only get to play on scheduled time. Spontaneity, anyone? Instead of spending an hour in the kitchen, why not go out to that restaurant you’ve been dying to try? Instead of neatly folding your clothes and tidying it back in your drawer when you get home from work, why not throw it on your bed, kick your shoes off in the air, take out a bottle of wine or a beer (whichever you prefer), and put your dirty tired feet up on that shiny coffee table. Then gracefully tell yourself, “Now who’s boss?”
Doing the same thing day in and day out can suck the life out of you. Every now and then, give yourself an intermission. Treat yourself. Surprise yourself. Spoil yourself. You are, after all, the Master of your own life.
7. Try something new once a week
There’s nothing better to keep your mojo flowing than a new adventure every week. Try something you’ve never done. It can be as simple as trying that new bath salt everyone is talking about or as eventful as cooking with just an apron on.
Do you remember the feeling the first time you got a tattoo? Or the first time you ran a mile in six minutes? Or the first time you baked a perfect cake? Of course you do. You never forget a first. And you are never too old to continue experiencing “firsts”. Let’s be real. There is no one in the world that has experienced everything! Not even Donald Trump, who is now experiencing being President for the first time!
8. Pay it forward
Our world would be such an amazing place if more people pay it forward. When someone does something nice for you, do something nice for someone else with no expectations. This is what it means to pay it forward. Imagine if everyone you did something nice for all went out and did something nice for someone else and then those people did something nice for someone else and then they did something nice for someone else and it keeps going like the Energizer Bunny.
Trevor gets the idea.
9. Pursue your passion
“You know the Greeks didn’t write obituaries, they only asked one question after a man died, ‘Did he have passion?’”
[Movie quote from: Serendipity (2001) – Dean Kansky (Jeremy Pive)
Don’t think that you are the “rule” and not the “exception” when it comes to pursuing your passion. Passion isn’t something you grow into. Passion is something you were born with. If you don’t already know what you’re passionate about, think of that one thing that always makes you smile when you do it. It’s something that you can do 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and not get tired of it.
Pursuing your passion is the ultimate mission in life. This is the basis of you living a satisfied and fulfilled life or a mediocre one. Don’t worry about other people’s thoughts of your passion. They get no say in it. If it’s what truly makes you happy, don’t be afraid to go after it.
10. Go to bed smiling
The last thing you want to be thinking about when laying in bed getting ready to close your eyes are all the wonderful things you did and the lives you changed today. If you’re day was less than perfect, you get another chance to do it right when you open your eyes in the morning. So really, there is absolutely nothing to stress over. If you paid attention to #5, you’d know to be present in bed. And in bed, there is nothing but zen.
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I read through my Groove List everyday to remind me how I should handle myself. I practiced and fully participated in my potential to create fun habits that make me happy. I am now an expert on Grooviness! You can too! There really is only one rule you need to remember:
Do what makes you happy!