“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” -Jim Rohn
So what do you want for Christmas?
How about a big dose of happiness?
But before we go for broke, let’s try asking ourselves the question, how happy are we?
Tough one to answer, isn’t it. The holidays are supposed to be a time when everyone is happy, but in reality they can be a difficult and painful time for many people. Unreasonable expectations, traumatic memories, grief for lost loved ones (I always miss my mom this time of year). And then there’s loneliness. All can cause sadness and even depression.
But it’s the holiday season, right? And we definitely need good tidings. So here we go. According to an article in the NYT by Tim Herrera, 4 Easy(fish) Steps Towards Happiness, there are some relatively simple ways to deepen the happiness in our lives.
The first suggestion is to “conquer your negative thinking.” OK, maybe this isn’t so simple after all. No need to overanalyze or be overly critical. Instead “acknowledge and challenge our negative thoughts.” Is there a good reason to assume the worse or can we find the positive in our experiences?
Next, “forgive yourself.” Sometimes I find it easier to forgive others than to forgive myself. But it’s such a relief when I can let go of my high expectations and accept myself for who I am, warts and all.
“Don’t forget that money helps, but only to a point,” is the next suggestion. Believe it or not, having too much money actually is an obstacle for some people– lottery winners usually end up in misery (I know you’re thinking “throw me in that briar patch”). It’s natural to desire more money and the things that go with it, but happiness seems to come more from appreciating what we have and what we give to others. Finding meaning and purpose in our work and our relationships with family and friends can lead not only to happiness but joy.
“Buy more time” is the last suggestion. Instead of shopping for happiness, try buying time by paying others to do the things that are time sinks. We can also buy experiences instead of “stuff” by taking trips we will remember for the rest of our lives.
Does this ring any Christmas bells for you? What brings you happiness?