Life Well Lived: Resources for increasing and sustaining happiness

Its time for another Life Well Lived Getting Happy panel!

Happy This week’s question is: What are your favorite resources for increasing and sustaining happiness?

For once, the LWL question made me stumble a bit.

My knee-jerk answer is to list the things that never fail to make me happy. Faith. Family. Friends. A great conversation. Photography. Writing. Music. My cats. Eating. A good cup of coffee. Reading. Sleeping. Great fitting blue jeans. Anything Texas A&M University. Sunshine. Rain. Etc.

I could list off things that make me happy for hours on end. I’m a naturally happy person in general, and its so often the little things that make me happy. But that is where this trips me up… these things make me happy, sure. But these things can also sometimes frustrate me.  Then it hit me…

My favorite resource for happiness is myself.

A story to illustrate my point: Just last weekend, when I went to pick my husband up from the bus, I walked out the door making a conscious decision to be in a good mood when I got there.

I almost always end up picking him up after only getting 3 hours of sleep, and 9 times out of 10 I deal with a fellow driver that leaves my blood boiling. (And of course, due to lack of sleep, my already short fuse with drivers who don’t drive defensively is a lot a shorter than normal.) My husband is just used to me picking him up in a terrible mood. It’s almost a running joke that he wonders how ticked off I’ll be when I pick him up. But that day I went, “I am happy he is home. He needs to see THAT, not a ticked off wife mad at the world.”

You know what happened? I picked my husband up with a smile that was genuine and I caught him off guard. I made the conscious decision to be happy. I can’t help the fact that I don’t get enough sleep before I pick him up. I can’t help that other drivers just don’t pay attention to what is going on around them. But I CAN help how I respond. THAT is one thing I CAN control.

It’s not about having a cup of coffee. It’s not about if the sun is shining or not. It’s about my approach to life — to any given situation or moment in time. I am my own favorite resource for happiness.

What about you? What is your favorite resource for creating and increasing happiness?

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2 thoughts on “Life Well Lived: Resources for increasing and sustaining happiness”

  1. Excellent point about changing how you decide to view the situation and choosing to be happy. It isn’t always possible, but for the little annoyances and for coping with the big…it can be a game changer. I can choose to think of kid car time as 30 min of traffic and 30 min of bickering or grouchy teens. OR I can think of it as 30 minutes of time with my thoughts and 30 minutes of time with the kids where they aren’t distracted by other things. If I change my outlook, their outlook generally improves too.
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