As a stay at home mum, I often find my life gets mired in details. In the everyday mundane, I can feel like my life is boring and ordinary. Not unhappy as such, but not particularly happy either.
I then find myself in a space where I am swayed by the emotions of others. My reality becomes, “if my children are happy then I am happy”.
Listen, I only have two kids, and the chances of them both being happy at the same time is very, very small. So, if I let my emotions be dictated by others, then I face the very real chance of never being happy.
It is not (actually) anyone else’s job to make me happy. And let’s be honest; they often don’t even know what makes me happy. So I have to actively search for and cultivate happiness in my life. Make time and space for it if you will.
So here are some things that work for me in my bid to cultivate happiness.
The first step in order to cultivate happiness is to be aware of what brings you joy. Often we are so busy just doing the ordinary everyday things that we can’t even put a finger on what makes us smile. Stop and take note, even write a list if you need to, of things that make you happy. So when you need a pick-me-up you can look at it.
Here are some things that make me happy: the colour red, polka dots, fun nail varnish, flowers in my house, being outside, a massage, pop music, the beach, scented candles, a good book, teen movies and more.
I have found that I have to be intentional about creating happy moments in my day. A very small effort can yield a big reward for me. Putting on the polka dot shirt that makes me happy, or cutting roses from my garden, to place in a vase. It doesn’t take much, but I need to make sure that I make these pick-me-ups a priority. Sometimes I even put it on my to-do list: washing, groceries, paint nails!
I also find if I feed my soul early in the day, then for the rest of the day, I look at those flowers, or smell the candle, and smile.
The next thing I have to, consciously, do to cultivate happiness is practise gratitude. I need to remember to be thankful for the things I have.
Again, as I am a writer, I find it very useful to do this with the written word. So I keep a gratitude journal. This practice allows me to keep from getting bogged down in the negative. As I look back at my entries over the course of the month, I get a clear picture of just how much goodness I have in my life.
The point is not to make it a chore, “oh no, I have to do my gratitude journal!” But, it is worthwhile to keep it up over a year. For, as we all know, life ebbs and flows. But even in those dark places there is always, always, something to be thankful for.
The last thing that helps with my happiness is keeping life in perspective. You know that old adage “don’t cry over spilt milk”. Well over the past 6 years as a mother, I have had a lot of spilt milk, and water, and Weet-bix, etc.
And, yes, there have been some days when I have broken down and wept at the mess because that has been the last straw! But, often I just have to breathe, and look at the bigger picture. Which, these days, is the fact that my kids can help clean up their own mess!
When I don’t focus on the bigger picture of parenting two girls to maturity; the random swings of their emotions can sway me.
If I don’t focus on the bigger picture of my home being a sanctuary for my family; the mundane tasks of washing, and cleaning, and washing again, can bog me down.
I need to remember, in the mundane, boring, everyday moments, that I have a bigger picture, and that helps me find happiness.
So keeping my perspective focused on the big picture. Remembering to be thankful, and actively pursuing things that make me happy. All these things make a better life for me. And make me a much more fun person to be around for my family.
Join me for the journey,
Please click here to visit Jodie’s blog, Only Halfway There.
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