I used to think that happiness was never going to happen for me. Even though I had all the cards stacked in my favour – a hot husband, a great family, a high-paying job, and a gorgeous house – I woke up every morning feeling miserable.
Usually, I just wanted to pull the covers up over my head and hide from the world.
I thought I just wasn’t built to be happy. I had no idea how to be happier.
(If you don’t have time to cultivate happiness, maybe this will help →)
Then, one winter morning in 2012, I stumbled upon a little trick that completely changed my life.
(I know this sounds like bad ad copy for some bogus remedy, but hear me out.)
I was getting ready for work, thinking about the LA traffic I was about to sit in, the pointless 2-hour meeting I had to attend that day, and the fluorescent-lit cube where I would sit for 8 hours.
I felt like shit.
Then, I stepped outside.
For some reason, I lifted my gaze from its usual resting place somewhere near my feet. The sun was glinting off the rooftops of my LA neighbourhood and the palm trees were waving overhead. It was gorgeous. Then I realized that since it wasn’t raining, traffic wouldn’t be so bad. I thought about my safe, reliable car and the episode of This American Life I was about to listen to. I had a delicious cup of coffee in my hand and I was headed to a place where my opinion and expertise were respected.
A strange feeling came over me. It felt suspiciously like happiness.
And that’s when it hit me.
Being happy isn’t something you are, it’s something you do.
If you start every morning focusing on all the things you hate about life, you will be miserable. If you focus on the good stuff, hey presto, you will be happy (or at least a whole lot happier!).
Nothing changed in my life in those few seconds that morning, but I felt so much better. And I knew I could replicate that feeling every single morning just by doing the exact same thing.
If you don’t believe me, maybe one of the happiest women in the world can convince you?
Yes, I still have bad days and I don’t walk around with a goofy grin on my face all the time. But when I am feeling low, I do my best to flip the happiness switch and turn a miserable day into a great one. ♥
Happy adventures, Stephen & Jane
Snoopy image by Shelly under CC-BY