On sustained happiness

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about pleasure as a motivator and making a practice out of doing the things that make me happy (so long as no one else gets harmed). Somehow we've convinced ourselves that pleasure is a luxury and that happiness must take a backseat to productivity. There are of course socio-political and economic reasons for this, but I'll spare you my far-left take on the issue :)

I am a fiercely communal person and my ability to be a good lover, friend and citizen is wholly dependent upon my being happy, healthy and whole. Here are a few things I do to make sure all three requirements are fulfilled

  1. Identify the things that make you happy: I'm surprised at the number of people who have difficulty naming concrete actions that lift their spirits. I've shared a few of the things that work for me here and here, but there are a million others: Spending time in the sun or near an open window, getting lost in a black hole of NPR Tiny Desk Concerts, taking a walk, working up a sweat, eating lemon sorbet, trying my hand at a new creative outlet or revisiting an old one, a warm bath and a glass of wine, etc. etc. Figure out what works for you and write it down...When you're not feeling your best, it can be difficult to remember the things that make you smile, so this list will be helpful.

  2. Set aside time every single day to do one or some of them: This doesn't have to be an extravagant activity and you don't have to do it for long. Take 10 minutes, every day and dedicate it to something that makes you laugh or smile. Keep it consistent if it's something you'd like to incorporate into your life daily, or switch it up if you get bored easily.

  3. Touch someone and allow someone to touch you: Humans need touch. This is a biological truth. The touch doesn't have to be sexual, it absolutely should not be creepy and can be as simple as a handshake, a hug, or a friendly pat on the back where appropriate. Try touching yourself, while you're at it.

  4. Give yourself the credit you deserve: You've worked hard to get where you are and you absolutely deserve some recognition for it. Sometimes our best work happens in the dark, away from the fanfare and the glamour of public acknowledgement. Small successes make big successes happen. Don't forget to celebrate your achievements.

  5. Limit your screen time: That is, after you send me an email, of course :)

Candy blue.jpg