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“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’” ~~Sylvia Plath
“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” ~~Dalai Lama
Happiness is habit I am developing.
Happiness is created, not waited for.
Before sobriety and New Life, happiness felt evasive and fleeting. Like a rare butterfly, happiness would land without any idea of how or why it came to be. Not knowing how to create happiness created feelings of lack and insufficiency, and alcohol came to be an easy solution to fill life with fun. It didn’t last.
Of course, over time, alcohol became the problem and not a solution to feeling happy. The practice of Statement #3 and embracing the WFS New Life Program creates a foundation for happiness to not only emerge but to flourish. In our WFS Program Booklet, Jean writes “Happiness never came to me until I learned the secret of making it for myself, of finding an inner glow that somehow made all other things right.”
Here are 4 avenues to assist in developing happiness:
- Define what happiness means to you: This is not your family/friends happiness, it’s yours. What does happiness feel/look like to you?
- Release expectations: Letting go of the “I should’s” and of strict time-frames……”I’ll be happy when (_______)” sets up an illusion of future happiness. Happiness is felt only in the present.
- Invest in experiences: Instead of collecting artifacts, collect experiences. (note to self here…been collecting an overabundance of art supplies”)
- List making/journal: Simply listing 3 good things each day can cement a positive outlook and change perspective.
What other ways help you to create happiness?
Hi 4C Women,
I have a book on happiness titled, “Field Guide to Happiness” by Barbara Ann Kipfer. It is mostly comprised of lists, which I am inclined to use to keep me on track. There are 206 lists which is pretty overwhelming and when I first saw it, I thought this is not making me happy! However, I realize that as a previously unhappy person, sometimes there is a bit of work to be done for real change and it doesn’t have to happen immediately as we wish it could.
I’ve decided to choose a few in a shortened version and leave it up to each of you to decide what speaks to you in uncovering and discovering what happiness means to you and how to reach for it.
Happiest Moments/Situations List: It is helpful to reflect on happy moments and situations you have already experienced. This serves to remind you to be grateful. The list gives you a chance to remember important stories or people in your past as they define who you are in the present. You can gain tremendous insight into the person you are today. Open to the happiness of the list and expand your awareness of the overall themes involved. I like this one in particular when I am feeling sad and realize that I as look at the list, I have happy memory moments to be grateful for in my life.
Make a list of what makes you happy in your life roles: We wear so many hats in our hectic lives that just making a list with all the different roles we play will be enlightening. At first, I thought this was more like labeling which goes against my core beliefs. I realized as I started this list that I was smiling as I wrote the roles that bring happiness–being a moderator, volunteering, writing this message.
Make a list of the 5 most pleasurable experiences of your life: Then describe “one” and try to reawaken your feelings. I remember the pure joy I felt when I first saw my granddaughter. I can still feel it in my heart.
Describe your favorite songs and how they make you feel: Music stirs powerful emotions in all of us. Choose ten favorite songs. Are there events or people attached to them? Were you of a certain age? I went to a wedding last year and they asked me to write down what song would get me on the dance floor. My answer was “Sweet Home Alabama.” It was played and I danced. It was a happy moment that might be on the list of Happiest Moments.
Create an “Alter” on your desk or by your bed: Alter is just one word for a collection of family photos, trinkets or a vase of flowers. The idea is that the place where you work or spend a lot of time, should be cheering and inspirational. A desktop or bedside “alter” can help create a sense of calm. Stick to simple objects that are linked to a specific memory, belief or goal. What makes your collection in your intention, which can be as simple as your desire to return to the present moment and become aware of it each time you see your special collection. I alternate between different photos, quotes, special books I receive as gifts that bring a smile to my face each morning and evening. It truly is a gift of happiness to me.
Bonded in developing happiness,
A beautiful 4C woman.