I have always thought Tigger was a pretty good representation of what happiness is supposed to look like. He is exuberant, has a zest for life, and is even impulsive at times. I have actually been proud to be called Tigger by many!
I will be honest in saying that some days I feel more like Eeyore. Does that mean I am not happy? After all, Eeyore is usually viewed as pessimistic, gloomy and an old stuffy donkey.
I think that depends on our definition of happiness, and I am learning that happiness is so much more than I thought it was.
Tigger does represent a part of what happiness is…but so does Eeyore! He shows up everyday; he is persistent and honest; he never gives up!
That’s just as much a part of happiness… Being resilient! So on those days when we feel more like Eeyore than Tigger, let’s give ourselves a break. Be proud that we are showing up and not giving up! That’s happiness too.
Remember being a kid and waking up excited about the day to come? You had so much to look forward to – a day playing outside with friends, a trip to the library for story hour, a family vacation, or maybe it was your birthday! Have you had one of those mornings since you were a kid?
Wouldn’t it be great if that’s how we approached every day even as adults? So often the stress of our life circumstances can numb us and we don’t even know it. What has led to this in your life? Is it your job, a fruitless marriage, a painful divorce, the death of someone you cherish, or just our normal day-to-day routines? Regardless, it can lead to us just sleep-walking through life. Have you recently said “I can’t wait until this day is over?” Is this day really all that different from what tomorrow will be like? Are we wishing away our days?
I am going through a personal reawakening and realizing that life is full of amazing wonder and surprise but we have to be intentional about waking up and looking for it! I have wasted enough years just going through the motions, just sleepwalking. NO MORE!!!! I have decided I don’t want to waste another minute! Instead, I want to experience it all – the happy, the sad, the exciting, and maddening and the mysterious. They all remind me that I AM ALIVE. It takes all the experiences in my life to grow me, stretch me and help me appreciate all that is good in my life.
I am waking up from my sleep, and I encourage you to do the same! Where should you start? Intentionally taste that first sip of coffee tomorrow morning. Did you notice the daffodils are already popping up out of the ground? Try looking in your child’s eyes, not just at them but IN them. Don’t waste another day just wishing it were over. Live each moment!
Are you inadvertently pushing happiness away?
Why can’t I seem to follow through? As we begin a new year, I set out on a quest to learn more. And it seems there IS a reason why I seem to struggle.
And research shows it’s all in my head …. Literally.
Our brains aren’t intended to function with all the stress our culture throws at us. Stress…whether from a bear chasing us or 50 emails to answer, triggers the same response, the flight or flight response. When this happens, a part of our brain lights up that shuts down all executive functions – reasoning, creativity, focus – all the things I need to follow through!
So what do we do! Change our brain chemistry and lessen the effects of the fight or flight response.
There are some practical things we can do:
- Practice mindfulness. That’s just a fancy way of sting paying attention on purpose to what you are doing at this moment.
- Meditate. That’s just taking a few minutes everyday to unplug, take deep breaths, and reboot.
- Practice gratitude. Say it, write it, express it.
Changing our brain chemistry can make a big difference. The impact it makes is worth the effort so these are things I am going to focus on!