Recipe for Daily Happiness
Let’s be honest, the majority of us do not live in a waterfront villa off the coast of Bora Bora, ski in the Swiss Alps with supermodels, while saving endangered animals in the Amazon on the weekends -- despite what we see on social media platforms. Real life for many is routine. Monday comes around, there is a knot in our stomach, and we think, “It’s back to the grind.” This “grind:” this constant hustle for another dollar, to put food on the table, and clothes on our back is the reality for many. If you’re lucky, the weekend comes around and one can enjoy a little; but, Monday always lurks around the corner of Sunday. How can I find daily happiness? Can every day feel like Friday?
Fostering Positive Feelings
Indeed, the grind is necessary. We all need money, food, and clothes; however, in Dr. Seligman’s book “Authentic Happiness,” once basic needs are paid for, the extremely rich are not much happier than the working average Joe. Fostering positive feelings such as hope, marvel, gratitude, and optimism produce forgiveness, resilience, and ultimately HAPPINESS. The Dalai Lama XIV said, “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.” It does! It is something so simple, to wake up in the morning and think of one thing that we are looking forward to or one thing that we are grateful for.
We could even expand the influence of our gratitude by expressing it, as the act of expressing gratitude can improve our relationships with others (Lambert, Clark, Durtschi, Fincham, & Graham, 2010). It feels good to to be thanked and it feels good to have healthy relationships.
Take the Scenic Route...It Gives You Something To Be Grateful For
What if I’m having a hard time being grateful or optimistic? Again, in the book, “Authentic Happiness,” Dr. Seligman explains that we live in a life of shortcuts. We can go to a smoothie store down the road and order a smoothie within 5 minutes. You didn’t need to grow the strawberries, cut them, milk the cow, or grow the germ for the yogurt. It all appeared within a matter of minutes. When we take out the work and take too many shortcuts in our life, we lose gratification and meaning. Can you imagine how satisfying it would feel to eat the fruit of your labor? We would probably be more aware and less likely to waste something we worked so hard to bring about. Sometimes it’s worth it to cook that dinner instead of eating out, create something with your hands, or make your imagination come to fruition. Take pride in your work, be grateful to self, and sharing it may allow others to be grateful towards you.
Just as it is encouraged to wash hands, eat your vegetables, visit the doctor regularly to prevent physical illness; we can take proactive measures to prevent depression. Fostering positive emotions, expressing gratitude, seeing a therapist as needed or during times of distress, and practicing healthy self-care can perhaps help us feel a little happier each day, you might even feel like it’s Friday.
Lambert, N., Clark, M., Durtschi, J., Fincham, F., & Graham, S. (2010). Benefits of Expressing
Gratitude: Expressing Gratitude to a Partner Changes One's View of the Relationship. Psychological Science, 21(4), 574-580. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41062251
Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Authentic happiness (1st Free Press pbk. ed. ed.) Free Press, New