Happiness, peace, contentment, gratitude… All things worth pursuing on purpose. My last blog outlined Ecclesiastes, and I wanted to share some practical things that have helped my natural disposition stay more turned towards happy! I hope these simple things can help someone choose to feel a light heart, a deep smile and a little soul peace!
I usually blog at night… I often stay up too late. After the house is quiet, I will read, pray, scroll, exercise, clean, and study. It’s my thing. Some nights are really productive, other are not. Some nights are mindless. When its productive; I enjoy it. When it’s not productive; I still enjoy that too. Either way, I allow it. I give myself the grace to spend this time. And, I don’t regret it. This leads me to the 1st happy tip:
1) Spend your time, don’t waste it.
Make a conscious decision about what you are doing. Allow that decision to include something for your own enjoyment. If cleaning creates peace and fuels your buzz, then clean. But if it’s a long soak in the tub that resets your balance, do that. Make some time your time. If you find you get lost in TV, zone out with your phone, be proactive to set boundaries (or alarms) to help you honor your decision. Again, spend the time but don’t waste it!
2.) Simplify your expectations.
I changed career paths at the beginning of this year and during the interview process they asked a pivotal question: “What has to happen for today to be a good day?”
Profound. What’s your answer? Is it simple or complex? A short list or a long one? Is it work related, results oriented and achievement driven? Is it within your control or does it depend on someone else?
I can have a good day even if my to-do list didn’t get completed. In fact, I enjoy some of my best moments when I take a bike ride with the kids, which may mean I go to bed with dishes in the sink! So much of our happiness is rooted in our expectations. Ditch the ruler, cut the comparison, lower the bar, and choose happy!
On the flip side, I was thinking, “What can happen today to make it a bad day?”
3) Don’t over exaggerate or overthink the negative
Don’t let a bad five minutes earn the label for an entire day! And certainly don’t be afraid to blow the whistle to stop a bad five minutes.
Who has gotten upset about something, (I mean really mad) then later accidentally forgot about it? Then, when you remember how mad you really were, you get fired up all over again and stew on how mad you were. I can think of several examples where I had a bad experience, terrible customer service, or an incident with a crazy driver. In those examples, I saved my receipt, noted the server’s name and took down license plates info. You can bet they were going to hear from me!
In other examples, I used to replay conversations in my head, and practice telling people off, wishing I had thought of something better to respond… I would rehearse these mental speeches, practicing ways to even the score!
In reality, the moment passed, emotions settled, and I forgot. I did nothing, and it was ok. Do this more often. Simply choose to overloook the little injustices in life. Give more grace, silence your opinion, let someone else do it their way. Be patient, surrender a little control and decide to enjoy the rest of your day. (This is great advise, not just for dealing with the general public, but for relationships, slow moving children, and crazy-driving husbands!) Relax! Don’t over think it!
4) Buy what you need.
It’s silly and simple, but as women we sometimes procrastinate our own needs to the point of crankiness. Stop it. Obviously, I am not preaching to be vein and materialist. Don’t cause hardship by over spending or disrespecting the budget. I am saying that we need to do the little things that keep life easy. Buy milk before your run out. Don’t let your gas tank get to empty! From clothing to cleaning products, kitchen utensils to cosmetics – sometimes we gripe about what we lack, but its not a money problem, it’s a shopping problem. We can solve some of these little frustrations with self-approved, budget- friendly shopping. Go shopping!
5) Think on the whatsoevers.
Instead of keeping records of wrongs, love can keep records of rights! Lead your mind to think of the fun, sweet things your husband has done in the past. Think about things you have done to surprise or lavish him with love and attention. Think about answered prayers; think about times when God was faithful. Enjoy a moment thinking about a happy memories with parents or grandparents. I sometimes take photos of things around my house that are linked to happy feelings or feel-good memories. It makes me feel like I am “capturing happiness” with intention. Do more of this. Pay attention to what causes you to feel pleasure.
Ultimately, we are in charge of our mood, our happiness, and our good days! Own it! Go for it! Think happy, be happy! Create happy and cultivate your heart! ❤️