When talking with people I get asked this question often. At first glance, it seems like a logical question, but is it really? I think that depends on how we define happiness. And we have established that happiness is so much more than experiencing pleasure. It entails flourishing, thriving, being fully present in the moment!
That sounds like something we would all like to experience … Especially at work – where we spend the majority of our time.
So how do we resolve this? By changing our thinking!
We are more engaged and productive when we feel like our contributions matter.
So what do you feel like you contribute?
How does it affect your team, the company, the mission?
If you can’t answer these questions, do some talking and find out! Counter to the culture in too many work places, we fine cooperation produces more than competitiveness.
Work (and life) is done better when we work together as a community (what we like to call tribes).
Who is in your work tribe? Your home tribe? How do you know? Think about these things:
What group of people are you working with to accomplish a set of goals?
Who is your cheerleader? Who are you a cheerleader for?
Take some time today to determine who your tribe is. Next we will look at how to determine how well your tribe is currently functioning and then ways to flourish!
Every spring I clean out my closet, get rid of the things I haven’t worn (to make room for new!) and struggle with getting rid of my favorite pair of old holey jeans. It’s the same every year. I can’t wear them anywhere but I can’t seem to let go of them. They serve no useful purpose in my closet anymore! So why can’t I get rid of them?
As I have thought about this, I realize there are things in my life that work the exact same way! Some things are comfortable but when I really look at them, they serve no useful purpose in my life – and may even be unhealthy for me.
Just like I sort out the clothes in my closet, I am sorting out the things in my life – taking stock of what contributes to my happiness and well-being. I realize there is some clutter that I want to get rid of to make room for the things that really matter to me!
I know the things that contribute to my well-being: time with family and friends; doing gratitude; journaling; meditation; listening to my favorite music. To ensure I have room for those things, I am going to face some things that fill space but don’t contribute in a useful way – that relationship that I hang on to but continues to be unhealthy; those mind-numbing habits that serve no purpose (surfing facebook, mindlessly watching tv – not that they are bad but they aren’t useful for me!).
I am realizing it takes courage to do spring cleaning! I am going to throw out those holey worn out jeans this year and I encourage you to do the same!
As I continue on this journey called life, I am often surprised to discover how much more there is to happiness than I realized. A game changer for me has been the ability to bounce back after a set back. I have been naive in thinking that “someday” things will settle down – when I get my kids’ college paid for; when I get through this divorce; when I make “enough” money … the list goes on and on.
The reality is that life is full of setbacks, curve balls, and even sucker punches! One of the greatest things about practicing the habits of happiness is the ability to bounce back. After two years of committing to finding a “better” way, I have seen the power of a few simple changes.
I encourage you to start today ….
DO gratitude. It is so easy when life is coming at you full steam to only see the negative.
I write down 3 things I am grateful for each day – no matter how I feel. I will be honest, some days it is a bit of a struggle. But I keep looking – a beautiful sunrise on the way to work, a text message from a friend, a great cup of coffee!
I say “Thank you” as often as I can, even for the small things!
I take 10-20 minutes each day to “shut down” and “re-boot.” Some would call this meditation; it doesn’t matter what you call it, just do it. Give your brain a chance to recover from the hundreds of stressors thrown at you each day!
Life will always hand us surprises, but we can control how we handle them. And increase our experience of happiness in the process!!
Join me in increasing your bounce back time!
I really believe life is a journey – and the most important aspect of it is to KEEP MOVING! As I reflect on my own journey, I realize that for the vast majority of my life I was stuck. Circumstances entangled me to the point I couldn’t see how to move. I believe I am not alone in this. I believe the loneliness, despair, isolation, hopelessness – you get the idea – are not unique to me.
I had no idea there was another way … that happiness wasn’t this elusive unicorn that only the chosen few could attain. There is hope … hope for more, that happiness is attainable and it is so much more than we really understand it to be, and our circumstances don’t have anything to do with it!!
We only have one amazing life … what are we going to do with it?! Waiting for more money, our kids to get out of the house, a better career, etc. wastes precious time. Making small but significant changes today can change not only tomorrow, but TODAY!! We have the power to be happy now!! And we can really LIVE this one amazing life.
Start today. Look for things to grateful for, express that gratitude and celebrate! Live your one amazing life!!
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!