I’m coming up on an anniversary for this blog — at least, it’s been six months now I’ve been writing posts on happiness. And writing about the subject three times a week for six months means I’ve learned a lot about it in this short time.
I wanted to share some of the posts that I’ve learned the most from. These aren’t all necessarily my favourite posts — more like my “Wow, really?” posts, or ones that have left me thinking about the subject. And in looking back, I thought I’d share six facts I’ve learned about happiness along the way — how to achieve it, how to inspire it, and that it’s even okay not to have it.
1. You should talk more: Sure, the long, drawn-out, intimate conversations are lovely and build friendships — and greater social connections can help improve your happiness. But it turns out there’s value in all of those brief chats you have with people you run into in the halls at work, at the movies, at school drop-off.
2. Why it’s great to grow old: From this recent post, Shari Graydon pointed out why aging is a privilege — this almost reframed the concept of getting older for me. Until this, I’d never thought of aging as an opportunity. But as Graydon points out, when you age, you’ve lived and you haven’t been deprived of life before your time.
3. It’s not about the money, baby: So often we think If I just get a bigger house/better car/amazing vacations/lovelier clothes, I’ll be happier. But time and time again we’re seeing studies proving that happiness doesn’t come with wealth. Two phrases sit with me still after my conversation with Peter Walsh include “Think experiences before stuff” and “Will this get me closer to the life I want?”
4. Yay — food can make us happy!: I do love to eat, and while enjoying a glass of wine on the weekend with some friends brings me joy (along with flushed cheeks), I’m still working on including mood-boosting foods in my family’s diet such as oranges and strawberries.
5. It’s okay to ask questions: I’m still bothering my kids at the end of the day with questions like How were things? Did you have fun? Who did you play with? Were things better with Friend X today? in hopes of continuing to cultivate a closeness with my children.
6. That you can weather the mood storm: This might be my personal aha! moment over the course of writing this blog — that it’s okay to not always feel happy, and that you don’t necessarily need to figure out how to force yourself into a good mood if things aren’t going your way that day.