Eric Weiner, who had been reporting for NPR in those worn-torn areas and wanted a break from all that tragedy and to find the happiest places in the world. He traveled to the countries that ranked high on the happiness meter (Gross National Happiness), because there are people who do rate that in the world, and he wanted to discover what made them happy. He wanted answers, because basically, he was a little grumpy and he just wanted to know how to be happy.
Hot Topic These Days
So, it sounds like we all want a piece of happiness in our lives and we want to know why are some people happy and some are not.
No Grumps Here
(Now some people might argue that Joy and Happiness are the same thing and the words could be used interchangeable, but I will argue differently. I see joy as a reflection of something deeper while happiness can come and go. We will save this argument for another day.)
A Sense of Well Being
The NPR series points out that happiness can be attained if we have a positive attitude, engaged at work, fulfilling relationships, meaning and purpose in our lives, a since of accomplishment, and well being which includes good physical health.
So, all that is in one place is a rare deal. Do we have to have all that to be happy? They mentioned that “life is sometimes unfair and we can sometimes be unrealistic.” They also said that “anger is not bad when it is a cause of life’s unfairness.” They said that it is not a “Pursuit of Happiness,” but “Happiness is a Pursuit.” Semantics? Maybe. But it sounded good.
Are You Happy?
Anyway, we sat in big comfy couches and went around our group and responded to the question of if we thought we were happy or not. My answer was: no. Yes, surprising isn’t it, from basically a joyful person who wasn’t so happy in November.
It got me thinking why I wasn’t happy and as I pondered that question I started evaluating my life and how it effects my well being.
Here is what makes me unhappy:
- unfriendly people like the ones who live in our neighborhood of just-out-of-college young people who have no vested interest in the neighborhood because basically they are moving out just as soon as they get a “real” job. We can take a walk and those passersby’s won’t reply “Hi,” even if we say “Hello” first! That really eeerks me.
- being overwhelmed with house responsibilities – you know, the dirty bathroom; the stacked dishes in the sink that spills over to both sides of the counter; the endless, bottomless laundry basket that keeps producing dirty clothes; the lawn that needs to be mowed again; the bushes that needs to be trimmed; the dog that needs daily cleaned up after; the constant paper flow; the messes that I clean up but then reproduce again, and on and on. And, yes, it is ME who has to do it all. My boys help a bit, but we can’t keep up. We just don’t invite people over any more, because I can’t keep up with our house!
- clutter. I hate stacks of paper. I hate random stuff on the counter. I like thing put away and I can’t function with clutter.
- a house that is not finished. Oh man, I can’t tell you how discouraging it is when I can’t see the improvements in the house happening quick enough. It has been three years since we have moved into this bonafide, fixer-upper home and we just don’t have the time to fix up. I’ve see houses built in three months. I saw a church re-gutted, repainted, and redecorated for a complete new look in no time at all, but yet we still have that hole in the bathroom wall. It can get discouraging.
So what do we do? Should we let things like the above get us down?Well, I saw that happiness could be a choice or a conscience decision not to be happy so I started thinking about what makes me happy?
What Makes Me Happy?
- My family. They make me laugh. We have so much fun together and sometimes the boys and I will just dance or just be silly and we have lots of fun. We have a lot of laughter in this house. (So how can I ever be unhappy? Right?)
- Organization. Organization essentially helps in my mental state of mind.
- The color yellow.
- Gerber Daisies.
- A night out writing. Writing gets my thoughts out on “paper” so they don’t stay cluttering up my mind.
- A rainy day.
- A clean organized desk. (Or should I just say, a DESK please!)
- A chunk of chocolate with a chai latte with soy milk while reading a good book.
- Sitting on a hill reading the Bible and spending time in prayer.
So what makes you happy? Does organization or lack of it affect you as much as it does me? Please share about your state of happiness and if you think it is a choice.
LinkedIn Discussion: Name one thing that makes you happy. * performing for an audience * early morning with a great cup of coffee * the peace of an early morning - but with Tazo Awake Tea instead of coffee * knowing that I've helped someone * swimming in the ocean * my daughters laughter * when people communicate clearly, openly, and easily * college basketball tournaments * visiting a National park * Applause * being on the water under sail headed to somewhere new * knowing where my cell phone is when I need it * A nice, unexpected surprise * being on the water under sail * a good book * a good economy * the sun * when people show the ability to step outside their own agendas * hearing that an unemployed friend has a new job * taking my dogs to Dog Beach for the day.