By Sara B. Healy
While cleaning my bookshelf the other day, I found a book, 14,000 things to be happy about. It looked brand new, but the date inside was from years ago. This book sat beside my collection of self-help books, which in contrast were dog-eared, highlighted and clearly used. Holding the happiness book, I wondered why I hadn’t used it. Then I realized I always thought happiness was something fleeting and incapable of improving my life.
Recently, my beliefs have changed as a result of what I’ve learned. I’ve discovered that being happy, contented, and positive are skills, which can be learned with practice and determination. Therefore, I made the decision to start my own journey to learn happiness and have been happily rewarded. Here are a couple of things that I’ve learned on my journey as well activities that have helped teach me more about happiness:
Recognize the hidden happy moments in a day.
When something wonderful happens to us, we usually know we’re happy. It’s the common, everyday moments of happiness that often elude us. One way to change this is by becoming deliberately aware of when we’re feeling happy during the day. I found an activity that helped me, and it might also help you. It’s very simple: Get a notebook or a tape recorder and keep track of any happy moments you notice during your day. By writing them down or recording them, you become aware of these moments that might otherwise have passed by unnoticed.
One such moment occurred for me when I was very late for an appointment and frustrated at getting every red light. As I sat fuming at the latest stop, I noticed a little boy in the school bus next me making silly faces at people. Watching him made me feel happy. I wrote this moment down in my notebook. It became one of many. Now, I look forward to finding happy moments in my day. I even challenge myself to see how many I can find. How many happy moments are you missing in your day? Try noticing them and see if you find your day is better for it.