Daffodils – possibly the happiest flower.
Happiness. What does that word mean to you? What makes you happy? Aristotle once said that happiness depends upon ourselves. Is it a choice, or is it something that comes about from your circumstances?
Today, I attended a Happiness Workshop at my local Kikki K store. I have always loved Kikki K stationery, and when I heard about their new happiness, DIY and organisation workshops I booked in as soon as I could. The workshop cost $40, and we received a Happiness Journal (RRP $40), and an hour session with a consultant. Tam is an interior stylist by trade, and had her own life change a few years ago that made her re-evaluate her life and what made her happy. She talked to our small group of six about some research into happiness, and guided us through the process of starting our journals. As a group, we spoke about what makes us happy, roadblocks to happiness, and good habits that we want to form for the future.
Often I find I coast through life, caught up with the every day, and I don’t pay attention to the little things. Whether it be the sun on my skin when I’m hanging out the washing, the scent of the flower from my Mum’s garden that is in my bathroom, or the laughter of my kids when we dance in the kitchen. It’s so easy to not pay attention to the moment, and to just ‘be’. Sometimes we rely on things – keeping up with the latest fashion, gadgets or bits and pieces, thinking that they will satisfy us and make us happy. It’s okay to enjoy these purchases, but most of the time happiness comes from the simple moments we experience as we go about our lives. The journal encourages you to make a list of 10 things that make you happy. What would be on your list? Mine included spending time with my family, exercise, writing, exploring new places, relaxation/meditation, playing and listening to music, and reading. Indulging in most of these pursuits will mean taking time out for myself, something which often slips by the wayside between family, work and home. We each had to write a happiness statement – something that we would aim to be doing at the completion of our journals. Mine statement was to make time for me. I can’t possibly be a good wife or mother if I’m constantly putting myself at the bottom of the pile and not looking after myself. Taking 1o minutes at the end of the day to read, or making sure I go to the gym will not only benefit myself, but my family too. I’m sure they like me smiling and laughing rather than being grouchy, which is what happens when I neglect myself.
The journal encourages you to think about different parts of your life you may normally ignore, such as past regrets, so they can be dealt with and put to bed. We also wrote our reverse bucket list – things we have achieved and are proud of. This allowed us to focus on all the good things we have in our lives, and the things we already have to be grateful for.
The Happiness Journal was brought about after the success of Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project. Author and journalist Rubin researched happiness, and things that make people happy, before embarking on her own journey towards happiness over the following year. Each month she set herself different tasks in order to find her centre and balance, and the journal follows along in a similar way. There are 12 sections, along with other long term planners to complete that will allow you to focus on making your life happier. The topics encourage you to think about you time, future goals, career and community, among other facets of your life. Each section begins with an inspirational quote and suggestions that will help you with your happiness journey.
I am really looking forward to spending more time filling out my journal and making some time to realise the tasks and goals I have set for myself. There are a series of journals that compliment this one, dealing with specific topics of gratitude, goals, dreams and wellbeing. They’re perfect if you’re looking to record notes about a specific area of your life, and if the general nature of the happiness journal is not for you.
Each night as a family we talk about the best part of our day (the two year old’s contribution today was ‘lollies!’), and I will be buying the 365 notebook ready to begin next year. This will allow me to record everybody’s ‘best bits’ each day, along with things we are grateful for and any funny family moments. I think it will be really lovely to look back on in coming years.
I really enjoyed the workshop, and got a lot out of it. It will help me re-focus on the little things – the important things – that I need to pay attention to. Living life more simply and trying not to get caught up in the nitty-gritty will be a good thing, and I am looking forward to the change. My children are still little, and I think it is important for me to make these transitions now (like the ones I have already made with my health), in order to set a good example for them in the coming years.
What makes you happy? Do you keep a Happiness Journal? Have you read The Happiness Project?
* This project was not sponsored by Kikki K. I paid my own entry to The Happiness Workshop, and I simply wanted to share in case readers are interested in attending.