I recently read somewhere that said to make two lists: one of the things that make you happy, and another of the things from that list that you do on a daily basis. The idea intrigued me and stayed with me for some time, but for some reason I resisted actually following through with the process. I knew deep down inside that I was probably not indulging in the things that make me happy on a daily basis. I wasn’t ready to write that list.
This got me thinking about happiness and how it is truly our own responsibility to make ourselves happy. It is simply impossible to go through our daily lives with a sense of joy without putting time and effort into our selves, our happiness. Throughout our days, we get caught up in our to-do lists, work, our kids, our partners, and whatever else busies up our days. Without realizing it, we begin to feel a sense of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. We may find ourselves feeling cranky, low on patience, easily frustrated, or simply tired. We then wonder why we are not happy.
Happiness doesn’t just happen to us. Happiness doesn’t simply appear out of nowhere. It is not something that we can wish for, force into existence, or simply wait around for. Happiness is something we create, through a process of discovery and dedication, taking the time to discover our innermost selves and learning what brings joy to our hearts. By dedicating time to nurture our selves, and to do the things that we have learned bring us joy, happiness becomes a way of life as we enter into a daily practice of creating joy in our lives.
I finally wrote my lists and discovered that not only was I not engaging in joyful activities on a daily basis, but I had also forgotten about many of the things that bring me joy. Simple things, like the way music makes my heart expand and indulging in the occasional brainless television show. As I wrote my lists, my heart began to speak to me and remind me of everything that makes me happy. I could feel my excitement build at the anticipation of all of the joy I have the power to create.
I encourage you to make your lists, and if you don’t know what makes you happy, then begin the journey of discovery. Try new things and learn about yourself and create a daily practice of cultivating joy. You will find that there are many things that bring you joy that don’t involve much time or attention, yet make your heart feel happy and have the power to make you smile. For me, sitting with a cup of coffee, lifting my face to the sun and spreading my arms out wide, or playing a couple of specific songs, have the power to alter my day.
Most of all, have fun with the process, as the creation of happiness is a joyful experience in and of itself!