Too often, it seems like happiness is something we strive towards, something on the horizon, something just out of our reach, something to aim for. If only we could afford to purchase a certain item, we'd be happier; if we had a new home, a new car, a new job. If only we could lose weight or have more money or be able to afford a luxury vacation.
Something that learning about minimalism has taught me, though, is that whilst having goals and working towards them brings its own satisfaction; it's also important to appreciate the now. To appreciate and love what you have. To enjoy the present.
With that in mind, these are five things that make me happy now. What are yours? I'd love to hear in the comments section below 🙂
1. Getting outdoors and reconnecting with nature. I love to grab my walking shoes and head out to the nearest woodland or park and just walk those worries away. A change of environment, some dramatic scenery and of course the positive benefits of forest bathing (read more here) always makes me feel better.
2. Being careful with your time. It's only natural that we all have responsibilities and obligations in life, but thinking about how we spend the rest of our time can be important, too. Start doing more of what you love, what you're passionate about....Make time for those people who are most important to you and create some memories together 🙂
3. Turn on the radio or play some of your favourite tracks. Whether you're into rock music or Mozart, studies have shown that listening to your favourite music can result in the production of dopamine, a feel-good chemical, by the brain. The same effects can be experienced by learning an instrument or singing....do what feels good for you! In our home, some of my fondest memories are of those days when we've just turned the radio up and danced around, enjoying each other's company. And the memories? My kids will be delighted when they grow up to see that I've recorded them dancing to everything from Bowie to Beethoven!
4. Spend time helping others. Research has shown that as well as the positive benefits for those people being helped, the helper also benefits from their altruistic deeds. Sometimes referred to as "helper's high", doing a good deed for others can result in the release of natural endorphins in much the same way as they are released after exercise. Helping others also makes you more thankful for what you have.
5. Read more ~ "Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes place for that." John Green.
In our busy world driven by computers, the Internet, and the media, reading offers a quiet place to immerse one's mind in a different story. Instead of multi-tasking - checking emails, whilst chatting and distractedly watching TV - reading focuses your mind on one thing. It allows you to immerse yourself in a story and let's your imagination roam wild. It allows you to disentangle yourself from the stresses of day-to-day life and to enjoy some quiet time. As well as enjoying novels, I also love to follow blogs ...to pick up tips from the experiences of others enjoying a minimalist lifestyle (such as the Minimalist Granny here) or to connect with another Lake District blogger with a love for simple living (such as Simply Sarah here). Whatever your passion, or hobby, there's a book or a blog out there for everyone....or if you enjoy writing, how about starting your own?
I'd love to hear about your kind of happy - and what makes your day brighter - in the comments section below.