I have learnt over time that writing, either privately in my molekine, or more publicly here on livejournal, helps me to articulate my feelings and fears. I take baby steps towards solutions. Like everyone else, I am trying to discover what makes me happy and how to balance my life.
I saw this poster recently in a Zurich cafe and it got me thinking about my happiness habits. I also like Gretchen Rubin's 12 personal commandments and these five steps to happiness.
So, which principles help me to be the Helen I want to be?
Helen's 7 Happy Habits
1. Live in the present: I spend so much time worrying about the future, about imagined problems, that I forget that all I can really do is live in the here and now. Spending time slowing down and playing with the kids / blogging daily / daily snapshots all help me to really enjoy what is right here in front of me. Don't borrow trouble and don't waste energy and time on stuff that hasn't happened yet!
2. Only Connect: I always feel better after connecting with people - via email, text, phone, face to face. I have learnt that I am an extroverted introvert, but I know my limits - I thrive with smaller groups: one on one interactions are even better. If there are lots of new people, or a big group, then I need to cut down the length of time. It's okay to regroup and gain energy by being alone.
3. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good: or "Well done is better than perfectly undone". I put things off because I am afraid I won't get them perfect. Remember the shitty first draft! Once you have done something, you can always make it better. Just get started on the task. *"Suffer for 15 minutes" and get on with it (*thanks Gretchen Rubin!). Take baby steps and over time, it will get done. Doing even something small towards a big task makes me feel better.
4. Do one thing at a time: I need to focus! Doing too many things in parallel doesn't make me quicker, it just makes me feel distracted and sea sick. Focus, focus, focus!
5. Take my space: I am responsible for my own self confidence - and taking my space means standing up an dbeing counted, being assertive, taking the risk, not solely relying on the feedback or opinion of others to boost my confidence. It means having slightly pointed elbows, being assertive and not letting myself be pushed around.
6. Get moving each day: 10,000 steps, or a quick run, or yoga, or, or, or..... I feel better when I live outside of my head and get the rest of my body involved! As an added bonus, walking lets my unconcious mind take over and lots of ideas pop up unforced! Walking helps me slow down and enjoy the present, so double bonus :-)
7. Make a Decision Oh, I waste so much time and energy trying to make the best decision possible. My happiness guru Gretchen Rubin talks about people being maximisers or satisificers ie "is the decision good enough?" (satisifiers) versus "Is this the best possible decision?" (maximisers). I of course always want to make the best decision, given all the factors and research and worry and fuss, fearful that I won't find the perfect holiday, best product etc. But actually, making a good enough decision and making it faster, will save me time, worry and energy.
At the heart of all this is my belief that Life is Good and I am grateful for it. In the midst of temporary stress or trouble, I remind myself that I am truly blessed and that I love life!
I now have a new tag of happy for posts about working on my happiness!