Creating your own happiness

You’d think with a blog name like My Happy Place it would be easy to write a blog post on happiness. However, I’ve found in reality it’s quite the opposite. Happiness is not only difficult to define, but it’s difficult to quantify. Is happiness a fleeting feeling of joy? A lasting feeling of contentment? How happy am I on a scale of 1 to 10?

This topic has been on my mind since I read Julie’s post on determining your own happiness at Peanut Butter Fingers .

This post struck a chord with me since I went through a very rough time in my life a few years ago where the happiness that had previously come so naturally was something I had to create. Since I had always considered myself an inherently happy person I had no idea where to begin.

Slowly over the past few years, I learned how to create my happiness. For me, happiness means that I experience a feeling of contentment on a day-to-day basis. I am satisfied with where my life is at and where it is headed. I am not as affected by external surroundings as I once was, but have an inherent sense of self-worth. Sure I have days where I feel pretty down, but I have more days where I feel incredibly optimistic and blessed.

The two main techniques I’ve used to create my happiness include identifying and filling my life with things I enjoy, and changing my thought patterns.

Things I’ve added to my life:
A healthy relationship
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Lots of play time with Harrison
A focus on nutrition (including taking a Human Nutrition class!)
More time with good friends
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Frequent exercise and yoga at least once a week
Weekend activities like kayaking, wine tasting, camping, hiking and more
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Lots of downtime during the week

The much more challenging aspect of creating my happiness has been changing my thought processes. I know for a lot of people the idea that our thoughts are something we control and not something that “happens” to us is a foreign one. It was foreign to me not too long ago. When I finally decided to change my negative thought patterns it required a lot of work. I realized I was letting my thoughts run rampant, which sometimes directly caused of sadness or anxiety. I decided to pay attention to what I was thinking. Then when I realized my thoughts were creating a negative pattern, I made a conscious effort to frame them in a more positive way. This process became easier over time, and eventually changed my life immensely.

One example from my life is something with which I struggled for a long time. I had a tendency to be critical and distrusting in relationships. Quite honestly, being in a healthy relationship that I wanted to keep healthy and positive is what pointed me in the direction of addressing the way I think in the first place. I realized when I was upset about something in the relationship, it was often because I was attributing negative intentions to my significant other which in turn lead me to look for other things that were “wrong.”

I was thinking negatively about a fantastic person who loves and cares about me and who wants to make my life better. What sense does that make? Reframing the way I think has completely transformed our relationship among other areas of my life. It is still takes daily effort, but I hope to remember the lessons I’ve learned about creating happiness throughout my life.

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2 thoughts on “Creating your own happiness

    • It’s definitely still a struggle. I catch myself getting too critical from time to time, it’s a lot of work to stay in a happy and healthy frame of mind but it’s worth it!

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