There she is, on the cover of my magazine — that skinny, auburn-haired actress who….
“KNOWS WHAT SHE WANTS….AND SHE’S MAKING IT HAPPEN”.
Perusing other titles on the magazine cover, I decide that maybe she’s not “STUCK IN A HAIR RUT?”
She probably has learned to “LOVE YOUR BODY AT 30, 40, 50+”
From the smile on her face, I’m guessing she’s not “ALL-DAY TIRED” and doesn’t have to worry about how to “THINK LIKE A SAVER (NOT A SPENDER)”.
What this celebrity wants, according to the article, is stardom and single motherhood, and she’s made those happen. So I’m guessing she’s figured out “HOW TO LIVE A MORE JOYFUL LIFE”.
But is she “HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY?”
Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for learning to love my body, have great hair and pad my bank account. But on some days, if I’m honest, even those accomplishments wouldn’t be enough to make me truly happy — to help me “live a more joyful life.”
What makes you happy? Maybe the better question is “What steals your happiness, your joy?”
I’m as superficial as the next girl and I have to admit it’s hard to be happy when
…..the image in my mirror confirms I’m in that “hair rut” and I don’t feel so pretty.
…..the scales show I’ve gained back that five pounds I tried so hard to lose.
…..the laundry room floor is covered with stinky bluejeans, dirty dishes cover the kitchen counter, dinner hasn’t been started and I just want to curl up in a corner and read a good book.
……the floors I just cleaned yesterday have suddenly turned up dusty and grimy — again.
…..my husband comes in from a long day all grumpy and says he has to go back out after dinner to “finish up”.
Rather than dwell on the negative (those happiness-busters), I decided to seek out ways to “make it happen.” Here are 10 little actions that, most days, can lead to HAPPY:
- Hug something. Your kid (even that teenager, if he’ll let you near him), your dog, the neighbor — and yes, your grumpy husband.
- Smile. Even if it’s just at yourself, in the mirror. If you haven’t seen a smile all day, and particularly if you haven’t worn one yourself, try it.
- Eat chocolate. I’m serious. According to a report by CNN, “researchers have found that eating chocolate, the number one food craved by American women, causes the brain to release endorphins, chemicals that make us feel good.” If you don’t like chocolate, choose something you do like. Enjoy it without guilt and it will have the same effect. Trust me.
- Listen to music. Your favorite songs or performer should be at the top of your playlist — or if you’re like me, at the top of your CD stack. For me, it’s Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” James Taylor, especially the old stuff, and Third Day can also turn my day around.
- Do something for someone. Giving of yourself — with no thought for yourself — is the surest way to find happiness. Make a phone call, deliver a batch of cookies, mow your neighbor’s yard, babysit for a friend. Do anything you don’t have to do, just because it will make someone else happy.
- Clean. I’m not kidding. While I may not be happy that I HAVE to clean, I feel so much better after I’ve done it.
- Shut down Facebook. Just for a day, if that’s all you can handle. According to a recent LA Times article “Facebook users in a study led by the University of Michigan wound up feeling worse about themselves after two weeks, and their moment-to-moment mood darkened the more they browsed the social medium.” That said, a healthy alternative to online socializing is to….
- Spend time with a friend. Do you have a friend who has the gift of encouragement, who can make you laugh, who makes you feel good about yourself? Spend time with him or her. And, if you don’t, look for friends who could use that sort of lift from YOU. See #5.
- Sleep. You need it. If you’re going around unhappy all the time, your bad mood may very well be linked to lack of sleep. Tough to do when the baby’s crying, when household chores have piled up and when everyone needs you at once, but when everything comes together and you have a moment of peace, don’t “scroll” — SLEEP.
- Give thanks. Often. Daily. Thank the One who made you for WHO He made you, for all He has placed in your life, for the good and the bad, for the yet-to-come. Dr. Robert A. Emmons, a University of California, Davis professor (following “years of intensive research”) says this: “People who were in the gratitude condition felt fully 25% happier, more optimistic and confident.” He’s right, but I prefer these words written by a man named Paul:
“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” Colossians 3:15-17, The Message
Like Miss Celebrity who “knows what she wants” you and I can choose positive actions that lead to HAPPY. Another celebrity who knows what he wants and how to get it is that camo-clad, modern-day philosopher Phil Robertson. What makes him “HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY”?
“Faith, family, ducks in that order. It’s the only way to roll.”
Postscript: As I was writing this, I received e-mails from two of my favorite bloggers and, wouldn’t you know — they have both been writing about HAPPINESS. So today you get three-for-one. Enjoy these wonderful posts by Ann Voskamp and Jennifer Rothschild.