Sometimes, Facebook is wonderful. Without it I would have not known it was International Day of Happiness. It’s not like I keep things like that in my diary. When I logged in this morning, from a sunny Donegal, I saw loads of people posting about International Day of Happiness; and while I was driving home I was thinking about it. Especially when I stopped to take in the views…\r\n\r\nIt got me thinking about whether or not there is a need for a day dedicated to happiness. Surely every day should be dedicated to happiness? I know I strive for happiness all the time; but I guess that isn’t the case with everyone.\r\n\r\nSometimes people get so bogged down in their worries about finances, work, relationships and so on, that they are unable to notice whether or not they are happy. Sometimes people are so “busy” that they don’t even have time to reflect and know if they are happy. Sometimes people are in such despair that they believe there is no way they could or should be happy.\r\n\r\nHaving a day dedicated to happiness is probably a good thing. There’s certainly nothing wrong with it although it would be great if there was no “need” for it. The International Day of Happiness is a prompt to take stock and reflect on how happy you are and maybe look at ways to be happier. Happier every day.\r\n\r\nIt also got me thinking about what I do to maintain and increase my happiness.\r\n\r\nYears ago I kept reading and hearing people talking about using gratitude as tool for happiness. I remember thinking that it seemed a bit too “wishy washy” for me. I remember thinking, well if it works for you, well and good, but I won’t be doing it. I definitely didn’t have anything positive to say about it and when people told me they practice being grateful every day I would have thoughts along the line of “fair play but I don’t see the need or value in it”. To me it just seemed unnecessary.\r\n\r\nI mean, I wasn’t slating the idea or those that told me they did it. I just didn’t see it as something that could benefit my well-being. I would not be doing it.\r\n\r\nA few years ago I had a change of heart about it all.\r\n\r\nI was thinking about a journal I kept when working as a canoe guide in Minnesota, which I no longer have possession of. I wrote in that journal every night before bed and kept detailed notes on the day’s journey, what we were doing, eating and so on. I remembered writing about all the good (and the bad) things that happened each day. I loved writing in it. The very act of writing in it made me happy.\r\n\r\nSo I decided that I would get back to writing about the good things in my days. Writing a journal can be time consuming so there are times when I am better at it than others. I particularly like to keep one when I am travelling or learning something new. Yes, my notes from courses become part of my journal.\r\n\r\nMore often than not though, my journal is a list of things, people and moments, as opposed to the poetic and epic tales I told in that journal.\r\n\r\nI would spend at least 10 minutes every morning or evening and write down what was happening in my life. Over time, this evolved in to writing what I am grateful for.\r\n\r\nNow I find it really easy to run up a fairly long list of things that I thankful for. The process is great because it helps me realise that my life is pretty good and I have lots of reasons to be happy. But, better than just realising it (and I don’t know how this happens) but the process of acknowledging what I am thankful for makes me happier anyway.\r\n\r\nOccasionally I don’t get to sit down and write what is in my head, but that doesn’t matter. I can think about what I am grateful when I go to bed or wake in the morning. Or like today, when I was driving through a beautiful Donegal valley. I was grateful for the opportunity to explore, to afford a van to drive, for my eyesight, for the stunning countryside that I was experiencing. The list goes on.\r\n\r\nWriting down what I am grateful for is more rewarding and this is what I strive for every day.\r\n\r\nSo there you go, a sceptic turned accidental advocate recommends spending time every day to record what you are grateful for. Give it a go. Give it 100% attention and give it some time. See what you think. Start with writing down 3 things and see how fair it takes you. I’d say that in a month from now you will be able to write a fairly long list too.\r\n
“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”\r\nFrederick Koenig
Question: What are you grateful for right now? You can leave a comment by clicking here.