Happiness must be one of the most written and talked about topics on the globe. Perhaps because it is written into the constitution of one of the most powerful countries in the world (along with life and liberty, the pursuit of happiness is considered a la important and an unalienable right as described in the US declaration of independence).
I recently did an online search for “top ten things to make you happy” and over 20 million results came back. I confess dear reader that I didn’t scroll past the first 2 pages of these 20 million entries, but I did find it intriguing that so much information is out there on how to be happier. And you can’t get much easier to digest than a “top ten” list.
Here’s a list of items that experts say will make us happier, collated from a random sample of the first couple of pages from that online search:
- be in nature
- spend time with friends and family
- practice gratitude
- revisit positive memories and photographs
- laugh more, laugh often
- get enough sleep
- dress well
- challenge yourself
- lighten up and go with the flow
- set goals
- be optimistic
- say thank you
- watch a funny movie
- don’t drink too much (moderate alcohol is good)
- tick something off your To Do list
- listen to music
- help someone else – including random acts of kindness
- make plans
- work to/use your strengths and gifts
- commute less
- just smile
- sing in the shower
- snuggle up with someone you love
- shop smart (don’t spend money you don’t have on useless stuff you don’t need. Well, that’s my interpretation of ‘shop smart’!)
What I find interesting about these lists I found online is how much they are about the exterior action, and not so much about the interior experience. They seem to indicate that happiness is something you do, a destination you arrive at – not so much the way that you are being and approaching life, and the way that you travel.
And perhaps it’s up to us to find the meaning in the actions. Perhaps it’s through the doing, the experiencing, that the significance and feelings can be found – if we take the time to look for it.
I am happiest when (#32)
I am in nature. Yes, this is so true – being outside and being in nature has a calming effect on me. Being outside and being in nature has an ability to ‘reset’ my feeling state and my body state. Being outside and being in nature is good for my wellbeing. It doesn’t cause a huge spike in my emotional graph, but it grounds me, settles me, and somehow gives me a sense of perspective.