Herro der! 😀
Happy labour day long weekend to everyone who’s enjoying an extra day off today, and happy Monday to anyone who isn’t. Today’s post is going up a little late because I didn’t get a chance to sit down and write any of it yesterday. I was out at the lake for most of the day, and while I originally planned on doing a bit of writing while I was there, things just didn’t quite work out that way…
So I’m just going to go with the [thought] flow this morning, and see where it gets me… and right now it’s not getting me anywhere, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a moment and caffeinate my brain…
I’m getting too old for those late nights, especially since my body insists on waking up early regardless of what time I go to sleep – that makes for a slightly sleepy ‘Manda… but a slightly sleepy ‘Manda who’s still in a surprisingly good mood.
I’ll fully admit to being someone who’s annoyingly cheerful on Monday mornings, and just annoyingly cheerful in general. That’s not to say that I’m never in a bad mood – I stress, get overwhelmed, have “fluffy” days, and want nothing more than to strangle people like my happy self at times like those – but I’ve noticed that times like those are becoming fewer and farther between, especially over the last little while.
And it’s funny because not a lot has changed in my day-to-day life. I mean, sure – I started seeing someone and took the first steps towards switching over to a career that I’m truly passionate about – but “seeing someone” means only being able to see him on Skype, and juggling my new studies on top of work, blogging, and maintaining a semblance of a social life has left me feeling like a headless chicken on more than one occasion. No, the only thing that really changed is my attitude and perspective…
In case you missed it from my link love post yesterday, I wanted to draw your attention to one article in particular that talks about one surprising habit of happy people. Gratitude. Happy people practice gratitude more frequently than their unhappier counterparts. They don’t necessarily lead lives that are easier or better than anyone else’s, they just learn to be grateful regardless of the circumstances.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking “Oh, I’ll be happy when: I lose 5 pounds… I get that promotion… my crush notices me… etc”? We’re all guilty of it. Society is constantly bombarding us with the idea that if we had this, looked like that, lived here, travelled there, we’d be happy. The idea that we can be happy with who we are and what we have seems so… outdated.
Why? Because it’s associated with the idea that accepting ourselves is somehow settling, the idea that we’re not living up to our full potential if we’re not constantly chasing something. But what we end up constantly chasing, and what continues to evade us, is happiness – because no matter how much stuff we get, how much weight we lose, and how many destinations we knock off our travel bucket list, we continue to want more.
And it’s okay to want more, but not at the cost of making ourselves miserable with what we already have; because what we already have is a multitude of blessings. You woke up this morning? Blessing. You took a breath? Blessing. You turned on your computer? Blessing. You sat down to breakfast? Blessing. The problem is that we tend to take blessings like that for granted and fail to notice them because we have our sights set on “bigger and better” things. Well, that and it’s a lot easier to be unhappy than it is to be happy.
It’s true. Happiness takes a lot of work. It takes making a conscious effort to shift our focus from the negative to the positive. It takes learning to see the good in any situation. It takes not taking seemingly mundane everyday experiences for granted. And it takes time.
When I first started practicing gratitude and trying to focus on positives, I felt ridiculous. Everything felt forced and mechanical. Write down three things I’m grateful for? Ugh. Well, having a roof over my head (I guess), my family (but that’s so cliche), and… huh… what else… oh, my health (again, I guess). Yeah, it was bad. But I kept on doing it regardless of how stupid I felt, and that’s the key.
You know how they say that it takes ~21 days to make something a habit? I have no idea how long it took me, but with time I noticed that what once felt forced and mechanical became more spontaneous and natural. I started having a much easier time picking up on small blessings and finding the good in bad situations, and my overall mentality shifted – I became happier. Again, that’s not to say that I never find myself in a funk, but those funks are a lot shorter and a lot easier to get myself out of.
So if I could offer you one piece of advice, it would be to start practicing gratitude – make a conscious effort to notice your blessings and make it a daily practice to write those blessings down. You may feel like it doesn’t do anything at first, but see it through and I promise you that you’ll notice a shift in how you feel. And now if you’ll excuse me… it’s time for breakfast 😀
Have a happy Monday, friends! Choose to make it a good one 😉
. – . – . – .
What do you think about the idea that happiness is a choice?
What are three things that you’re grateful for?
First time reader and commenter. What a great post- I totally agree that happiness is a choice and that almost any situation can be looked at with a positive attitude. I think that everything in life, even the most mundane of tasks, can be done with joy.
I’m a pretty cheerful and optimistic person but find that the people I work/live with are negative, cynical, and angry- and find me ‘annoyingly cheerful.’ Any thoughts for how to balance wanting to be fun and cheerful with feeling that it’s not accepted in the environment I’m currently part of?
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
My best piece of advice would be to BE YOURSELF and not let other people drag you down. Cheerful and optimistic sounds so much better than negative and cynical 🙂 It’s hard when those around you aren’t on the same wavelength, but your positivity may rub off on them over time, or you may attract other positive people. Don’t change who you are because of others 🙂
I completely agree that we have to ‘choose’ to be happy. Our circumstances may not always be those conducive to happiness but if we make that conscious choice that I Will Be Happy ‘in spite of’ what is or may be happening around me there are times your happiness is actually what sparks the change in those very same circumstances.
I love the pause to caffeinate! 🙂
“The idea that we can be happy with who we are and what we have seems so… outdated.Why? Because it’s associated with the idea that accepting ourselves is somehow settling, the idea that we’re not living up to our full potential if we’re not constantly chasing something.”
And THAT is how it’s so easy to get caught up in the vicious cycle of self-loathing, and it manifests itself in such miserable ways. I am bookmarking this beauty for times when I need that reminder – though I’m pleased to say that it’s a lot easier to just remind myself and move on these days!
Amy @ Mommy Rodeo
Thank you! I think a lot of us are going through a season of non-gratitude or the blahs or whatever it is. This kind of message is so true and it is a changing of the path of your thoughts. I’m glad to hear that it does get easier and does change your outlook.
Courtney @ Don't Blink. Just Run.
Definitely a fantastic read!
I have a hard time with positive thinking like that. Maybe this is the kick in the butt I need to start changing my focus…
LOVE this post. Couldn’t agree more. Thank you!!! <3
I agree happiness is HARD!! I’ve started my gratitude journal again and again with the same cliches you mentioned… but I never could stick with it… I agree that it can be hard to fix your focus and make that conscious choice, but maybe I’ll have to give it another go.
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
I would definitely recommend giving it another try because that’s the thing – as cliche as it might seem, all of those things ARE blessings and we just fail to see them as such because we take them for granted.
OMG, I love this! I agree and can relate with everything you’ve said. I definitely was once a very cynical person, and was pretty much miserable for a very long time. Once I started being thankful for, well, everything, things slowly evolved, and I am much more content overall. Like you said, that doesn’t mean I don’t strive to better myself, or don’t have bad days, but being grateful allows us to be happy with what’s here an now, and frankly, makes life a whole lot easier. I also think learning to say no, and reducing negative players or factors and your life help, too, but gratitude is definitely a game changer. One of my pet peeves me when people don’t realize how good they have it, even if they can’t or won’t see it.
I’m grateful for my job, my puppy, and my boyfriend. 🙂
I really agree. Someone who chooses to be miserable in every life situation is honestly going to stay that way no matter how much you try and help them. You need to be internally motivated to truly get what you want out of life in both good and bad situations.
Gratitude is so so important a church I used to belong to and one I still visit occassionally did a preach on what they call Attitude of Gratitude! They talked about how important it is to talk or write daily about things you are grateful for whether it’s the big things or the small and I totally believe this to be the case.
I have so much in my life to be grateful for and I have been spending time recently making sure I think on that rather than negative things that may be going on in my life.
Thanks for a fab post 🙂
Samantha @ 10,000 Squats
Hee hee I love your Minnie Mouse mug! I want one! I can sort of relate to you in regards to being a morning person, although I wouldn’t exactly say I’m the most cheerful at that time. 😉 My body ALWAYS wakes me up early!
My mom started this Gratitude page on facebook I think you would enjoy!
If you have the opportunity, watch the documentary called “Happy”. It’s really great and focuses a lot on how people view life. In fact, they even gave a “happiness test” to a man in India who lives in the slum, and he was JUST. AS. HAPPY. as the average american!! Why? GRATITUDE!
I’m probably going to be slightly off here, but they showed a pie chart on what makes a person happy. 50% was genetics, only TEN percent was what the person has (home, car, job, etc), but 40% was how you deal with what happens to you. That’s HUGE!
Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com
I LOVE this post Amanda!
Yes – happiness is most definitely a choice and sometimes, even when stuff isn’t quite going my way, I have noticed that what starts off as a fake smile turns into a genuine one by days end 🙂
We had some crazy family stuff this weekend – but the blessings that came our way were more than the one thing – you are right… it’s sometimes hard – but very necessary to notice those; one of those was I got to meet Dixya from http://www.foodpleasureandhealth.com/, I got to try out your almond bars(made me loose all sorts of self control), and I got to spend time with my family.
Kim is correct – you need to write a book or something – you, my friend, are an amazing writer!
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
Awwr gush… thanks so much Shashi 🙂 Hope that everything worked out okay with your family <3
I’ve nominated your blog for a Liebster award! Details here :)http://nmahtani.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/liebster-love/
Love reading your insightful posts 🙂 I have worked very hard on being content and happy with what I have and have definitely felt silly now and then when I wrote a list of things I was grateful for… but, it really does help! I am grateful for my health (as cliche as that may be), for living in a beautiful city, and for having a job!
Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
I so agree that happiness is a choice. The radio show that I listen to was just discussing this. I totally think that it is up to you to go out and find your happiness and it takes work. Great post for just letting the thoughts flow. I really think you need to consider journalism or something. You’re such a creative writer. Love the Minnie mug too!
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
Ahhh writing for a living would be a dream. I don’t know about journalism, but I’d love to write a book someday. Blogging will have to suffice for now 😉
Christine @ Gotta Eat Green
I’m a serious believer in that everything we do is a reflection of us and to be happy you have to make your own happiness. People who walk around angry, waiting for bad things to happen to them, will in fact face bad things. They blame themselves thinking they just have bad luck.. when in fact they just have a bad attitude! We have to make the best out of life.. because it is the only life we have to enjoy!