What makes you happy? How do you define happiness?
Last weekend I went away with a friends to the Dorset coast for Easter. As we were on our way, we started to talk about the meaning of life and happiness. This is a theme that often comes up when I see clients, as a lot of us are a bit lost as to what our life is about.
Because we’re all different, we’ll all have different answers and my friend and I realised we needed really different things to be happy; And also that we had different views on what our purpose in life was.
Some people – especially epicurists and existentialists – think the purpose of life is to make the most of it, to enjoy each day as it comes.
Others, coming more from a spiritual perspective, believe the purpose in life is to become the best version of yourself, to become as close as you can to your higher self.
I think it all depends on our beliefs and values, and what my friends was wisely saying is that as long as you give the best of yourself in whatever you do, professionally or in your personal life, you will have fulfilled your purpose.
As for happiness, it is even more enigmatic. What is happiness? What makes us happy? How do quantify happiness? Some people think it’s having no worries or concerns on a daily basis ; others feel it’s all about Love ; some all about Success. Once more, there are many different answers to that existential question…
Anyway, we were debating those deep thoughts on our way to the lovely Dorset beaches, when we realised that happiness is not necessarily about something major, because actually there are little things in life that if you pay attention to them contribute enormously to being happy. Because as you may have read on some Facebook or twitter quotes, happiness is actually an attitude, rather than the result of external events.
So we started to make a list of those little wonders that light up your day when everything seems doom, and as we did it we suddenly felt lighter and happier. Because actually our brain is wired in such a way that as soon as you start to think of things that make you happy, its chemicals change which affects in turns your emotions and that’s how you can begin to feel happier…
So for example when I close my eyes and think of a warm summer day, I begin to feel more relaxed and content at the thought of the warm sun on my skin ; or if I think of my favourite stand up comedian, it brings a smile on my face. So I thought it would be nice to share that list with you, and perhaps get your contribution to identify the little things in life that make us take a step closer towards happiness.
- The smell of fresh cut grass
- Seeing the name of someone you love flashing on your phone
- The sun’s warmth on your skin
- The nice sensation of your hair freshly washed
- The feeling of warm sand under your bare feet
- The sound of the ocean waves
- Birds singing
- The scent of your favourite flower
- A rainbow
- A child hugging you tight
- The feeling in your body after a good workout
- Hearing your favourite song on the radio
- A genuine compliment
- A glass of cool wine or beer on a warm day
- Drying in the sun after a swim
- Fitting in again in clothes you couldn’t wear for a while
- A beautiful sunset
- The early morning atmosphere in the countryside
- Lying in a hammock
- Someone telling you they love you for the first time
Here is our list, what would you add to it?