One of the branches of my Bigger, Smaller life tree is Happiness.
The past year was a hectic, challenge-filled twelve months. Looking back, I can’t really put my finger on many truly happy moments. This isn’t to say that there weren’t any, I know there were, but I wasn’t actively focused on those moments and thus they were fleeting and not as memorable as they deserved to be. On the other hand, the stressful moments seemed to consume my life. I can remember many of them specifically and can list off the running themes quite easily. And it was the stressful moments that most greatly impacted my life. The stress seemed to linger and began affecting other parts of my world, not to mention my waist size.
So, this year I will remember the happy moments. I plan to commemorate them regularly and be openly grateful for them. (Gratitude is also a branch on my tree.) Goodness, it wasn’t easy to do this last year, so I wondered how I would accomplish it this year – the answer is, I choose to.
Yes, I choose to. I have read a few articles and posts on happiness and joy lately and they all assert that happiness is a choice. An article in Oprah’s January issue on Awakening Joy says that the first step toward happiness is intention or making the decision to be happy. It sounds so simple and logical – if you focus on happiness, you will become more aware of it and in turn allow more happiness into your life.
As hokey as it might sounds – I buy into the theory. Just by resolving to think more positively (the Half Full branch) and recognize the good in my life and acknowledging it (the Gratitude branch), I can feel the change. I feel more energetic, calm and motivated – I’m not saying I have had a miraculous conversion, but I think I am on the right road... What’s funny is that my life really hasn’t changed all that much, just my perspective on it. Same old family, same old job etc., but I appreciate the blessings a bit more everyday, place less importance on the annoying parts and feel happier as I do it.
As I kept reading that article, I kept coming across statements that resonated and aligned with my 2008 plan. By the end, I knew I had developed a good plan for myself. It’s last paragraph states “What we’ve learned about happiness is that it isn’t an it or a thing. Research has proven that there is no one set of circumstances that makes someone happy; it’s more about having a healthy mental attitude toward whatever you’re experiencing. So you can either chase happiness or you can choose to be happy. It really is that simple.”
Yea! I am chasing and choosing. Care to join me?