Everyone and their cats are looking for happiness. The adorable infographic below shows how people around the world are finding… or making… their own happiness.
I love it and I’m know you will too. – Joi (“Joy”)
Happiness. Gratitude. Mindfulness. Don’t we all live for that?
There’s nothing wrong with that attitude. In fact, we all deserve to be happy and we should strive towards that goal for as long as we’re living. The problem is: it’s almost impossible to be happy all the time. Most of us are far from Buddha’s smile. But, there’s a good thing about it: the journey.
The journey towards happiness is bumpy. If we want to experience pure freedom and joy, we have to dig deep into our soul and mind, and get all the trash out of there. We have to develop an immunity against stressful situations, which we’ll keep experiencing.
Today, we’ll explore a method that makes us more conscious about the happy and less happy moments we go through: journaling.
Journey. Journaling. The similarity between the words is not a coincidence. By keeping a journal, we become aware of all emotions, fears, expectations, obstacles, and joys in our journey. We are witnessing our own way towards happiness.
Now, the question is: how do you keep that journal?
Why do you need journaling and how will it make you a happier person? You need that answer before you commit yourself to this practice.
Mindy Bennett, a writing tutor at EduGeeksClub.com, explains why journaling makes sense: “I had a job I loved, a great partner, and tons of friends to give me support whenever I needed it. Still, I wasn’t happy. Something was missing and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I tried contemplating over my life, but that didn’t work… my thoughts were too chaotic,” – she says.
“Then, I thought: why don’t I just write? It’s what I do for living, anyway. Journaling was the most overwhelming writing challenge I’ve ever faced. I had to express my fears and deepest emotions on paper. At the same time, this was a beautiful experience. When I write about what makes me happy or miserable, I reach a stream of consciousness that keeps me going. This practice helps me understand myself.”
A stream of consciousness. A practice that helps you understand yourself. That’s what journaling is all about.
First, you make a commitment:
“I’ll write in my happiness journal every single day.”
Repeat that to yourself. You’ll feel inspired for an entry during the beginnings. However, you may notice that your inspiration fades away within a few days. You’ll skip one day, making the good old excuse: I’ll just write something tomorrow. That’s called procrastination, and it’s not a good habit to have on the journey towards self-realization.
You need something that will motivate you to keep journaling on the long run. Here are a few suggestions:
You’ll be able to search through your journal, so you’ll easily find the exact entry you have on mind. As for the inspiration, Penzu will send custom email reminders to keep you going.
Is your mind playing tricks on you, trying to convince you that there’s no time for journaling? Look; if you can’t find 10 minutes a day for an activity that leads you to a happier life, then there’s something really wrong with your schedule.
10 minutes is all it takes. Sit down. Clear your mind. Think: are you at a good place now? Why? Why not? Describe how you feel in this very moment and what would make you happier. Don’t edit anything. Don’t hold anything back. Just pour your feelings out. When you’re done, go to bed. You’ll do the same thing tomorrow.
From time to time, you can go through the entries and you’ll see your progress. With practice, this activity will become easier. You will stop censoring your thoughts and you’ll be completely honest with yourself. When you recognize your flaws and the obstacles that prevent you from being happy, it will be easier for you to take the right action.
When you start writing about your feelings, it’s easy to focus on the negative. You’ll complain. That’s okay. Don’t hold your bitterness back. The paper (or computer screen) can handle it.
However, you should never put your entire focus on negative thoughts. Recognize the obstacles, but give credit to the good things, too. Turn this into a routine: at the end of each daily entry, write what you’re grateful about. Even if it’s the same small thing every day, keep writing it down. With time and practice, you’ll train your mind how to be more optimistic.
Getting into details is not a comfortable thing to do. You’re hiding some thoughts and emotions from yourself. When you write “I was happy today,” ask yourself: why? What exactly made you happy? How did that thing make you happy? Why weren’t you happy about it yesterday? How can you keep that thing going?
These statements are too vague. When you write something like that, you’re not digging deep enough. How exactly did your partner make you happy or miserable? Be 100% honest with yourself. Remember: no one will read your journal. It’s all about revealing the truth to yourself and finding the path toward happiness.
Are you ready to do it? Why wait? Today looks like an awesome day for journaling!
Antonio is a hopeless optimist who enjoys basking in the world’s brightest colors. He loves biking to distant places and occasionally he gets lost. When not doing that he’s blogging and teaching ESL. He will be happy to meet you on Facebook and Twitter.
Too often do you see people easily overlook the impacts traveling can have on your overall, general wellbeing. If you are spending significant parts of your day being held up in hectic traffic, then your mind will feel hectic too. It is hard to transition a stressful journey into a calm day, especially if you know the commute home will be just as bad.
Therefore, it is important to think about how you travel, and whether it is causing any negative effects towards your health. If driving to work is setting you up for a stressful day, then it could be time to look for alternative methods of traveling.
By building exercise into your travel routine, you will be reaping in double the benefits. For a start, walking or cycling to your destination will give you time to clear your head, and over time it will boost your fitness. If you haven’t cycled for years, then this is the perfect time to start again, as there are facilities and cycle lanes set up on most roads to make your journey safe. You could be surprised at how quickly you can get to your destination when you’re not sitting in traffic.
Another plus is, if you exercise more, you will also have a boost of happiness through the release of endorphins, making it a win-win option. Furthermore, you could save huge amounts of money by opting for this method of transport.
Alternatively, maybe catching public transport is the root of your problem due to the constant worry of being late and unreliable connections. Maybe you are sick of the discomfort from over-crowded buses or trains. This kind of regular discomfort can cause anxiousness, panic attacks and slowly build towards mental health issues. If you are in this situation, then it might be better for you to work out whether it is better for you to drive to work, or ask your employer if you could work different hours to avoid the heavy traffic and avoid busy times on public transport.
If driving isn’t an option because you haven’t learnt to drive yet, then you should think about learning. You could pass your test on a quick course and prepare for your theory test online here. Being able to drive will give you much more freedom and provide happiness.
However, sometimes public transport is the only effective method of travel within major cities. If you catch a train, then you are able to perform tasks driving a car would not permit. You can grab a seat, take out your laptop and/or tablet, and either relax or prepare for the working day. This is a perfect way to utilize the time otherwise spent driving, cycling or walking, and can help the busy businessperson.
Similarly, you can spend your time on public transport completing simple errands such as grocery shopping or gift buying.
There are lots of ways you can make changes to set you up for a happier life, so make sure you invest in a way of life that can help you lead a blissful, healthier lifestyle you will be thankful for years down the line.
Lucy has been working in the fashion industry for six years. A dedicated follower of all things fashion and beauty, she is passionate about new industry developments. Lucy is now a full time freelance fashion writer.
My personal candidate was Marco Rubio, and I greatly respected Ben Carson as well. If Vice President Joe Biden had thrown his hat into the race, I would have had a candidate in each party. I guess I should be glad I never had to face the problem of liking too many players in the game!
Don’t get me wrong, unlike most people, I don’t feel any animosity toward Hilary Clinton or President-Elect Donald Trump. I respect many of the things they’ve done in life, including their children. Are they perfect? No more so than you or I. I wish both of them a world of happiness and success in life. I have no time for or inclination toward hate, bitterness, or resentment – so if you’re waiting for me to spew any ugliness, you’ll be sorely disappointed. I leave the judging to God.
I only point these facts out because there is an unreal amount of hate swirling around these days and I don’t want anyone thinking I have a political agenda. I have no such thing. What I have is a “happy agenda” and I’ve had a bad case of it for as long as I can remember.
I want people to be happy! Not just the “smile on their face” kind of happy, either. I want people to be so happy and so in love with life that they find it almost impossible to sit still.
The present emotional climate in the world is stormy with signs of getting worse before it gets better. And this from an eternal optimist! I take no joy in pointing it out, but if you expose yourself even slightly to social media or mainstream news, you already know this assessment is spot on.
Is this a tragic situation? No…… It is what it is. History is filled with tragedies – any fellow history buffs reading this are already nodding their heads in agreement. The Boston Massacre, the Trail of Tears, Slavery, the Civil War, Concentration Camps, and on and on. Those were unspeakable, unimaginable, and gut-wrenching tragedies.
History is also filled with protests, marches, anger, and the other situations we are seeing on an almost daily basis. These periods come and they, eventually, go.
One of my mom’s favorite quotes was, “This, too, shall pass.” Eventually, the anger, raging, fighting, and lashing out will die down. In the meantime, I want to encourage as many people as I possibly can not to “lose” yourself in the ugliness. If that means removing yourself from it – as in getting off of social media or cutting back on the news – do it. Do whatever it takes.
I, personally, (as a web publisher) have to stick it out. Sometimes it feels like I’m standing out in the rain without an umbrella. My main social media activity is on Twitter and, within just the past two years, the rain has felt more like a raging storm…
As I said earlier, the emotional climate in the world isn’t what I’d call tragic. However, I’ll tell you what IS tragic – seeing people lose who they are and what they stand for. It’s tragic to see individuals become so consumed with hate and anger that they cannot even carry on civil conversations. People have lost the ability to civilly disagree with others. They’ve lost the ability to accept that others have opinions that may be different from their own.
People today have the mindset of, “I’m right and if you don’t agree with me, you are wrong.” But they don’t just stop there… they will unload on anyone and everyone with name-calling, belittling, accusations, and venomous anger.
Simply for having a different opinions.
So where do we go from here? In addition to praying (day and night!) for things to change, we have to be on guard. We have to make sure that we don’t allow others to steal our joy. We also have to be on constant guard for something else – we have to make sure we don’t turn into them. Think of a zombie movie for a minute. What’s the worst possible thing to happen in a zombie movie? For the hero or heroine to become a zombie – for them to become the vile, cruel, and.. let’s face it… downright ugly zombie.
If we give the bitter, angry crowd too much of our time, our hearts, and our thoughts… we will slowly become more and more like them. What a revolting thought!
Who in their right mind would want to spend so much time angry, bitter, resentful, and mean-spirited – all while being constantly on the prowl for something else to get upset about.
A few nights ago, I saw a young man (who, a year ago, was one of the calmest, happiest people on all of Twitter) – within a span of 30 minutes – verbally attack THREE different groups of people. Not one, not two.. but three. He hurled accusations and made a bitter little spectacle of himself. I instantly thought back to who he used to be and felt kind of sick to my stomach. Slowly but surely, he lost himself.
I hope that hasn’t happened to you and, if you’re close to “the line,” I hope this will serve as a reminder.
Life is short and we aren’t going to get a second shot in this life. Please don’t spend it worked up about things that are beyond your control. It isn’t good for your family, your mind, your happiness, or your health. Don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy.
Ironically, after typing out well over 1,00 words, I think we can sum it all up in two: Choose happiness.
~ Joi (“Joy”)
Or time zone.
You get the idea.
However, it’s often us woefully imperfect humans that have the most to share that could be of a helpful nature to others. Why? Because when we hit upon something right or good, it stands out like a lighthouse in the dark of night. We’re like, “Holy cats! I got this right! Let me tell you about it!”
One of the things this imperfect human “got right” was this: At some point along life’s highway, I decided that having (and keeping) a sense of humor is the secret to life. Okay, secret to life may be a little dramatic, but you can’t really fault me for that – I grew up watching Susan Lucci on All My Children. How could I not, at times, wax dramatic?
Someone else I grew up with was a father who was probably never serious for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. That’s undoubtedly where I got it from. That and an overwhelming obsession with birds, westerns, flowers, and coffee.
In my Twitter bio (on my personal Twitter account, @JoiTaniaSigers), I even mention my refusal to take anything too seriously. That, of course does not imply that I am not serious when in the presence of things that are of a serious nature. Far from it. It simply means that a sense of humor is one of the two things I’ll always carry with me into any battle.
Even if the battle is an MRI and even if it’s God, Himself, I’m cracking jokes with.
When I was in my mid-twenties, my oldest daughter and I were in a bad wreck (it wasn’t remotely my fault, I just want to put that out there – so many vehicular mishaps ARE of my doing, I’m darn sure going to crow when one isn’t). I had to have an MRI – which is perfect, perfect, perfect HELL for someone who is claustrophobic. H-E-L-L. I was scared to death leading up to the MRI and I was scared to death as I was rolled into the narrow machine.
So, with eyes tightly shut, I prayed. And prayed. And prayed. (Prayer is the other thing I carry into battles.) At one point, I prayed for God to send a guardian angel to help calm my nerves so I could last for the full 30 minutes. Then I said, “No! Cancel that last order… there isn’t room for both of us! DO NOT send an angel in here.”
I immediately pictured God chuckling at my silliness and had to chuckle myself.
I lasted the 30 minutes.
Just last night, while making supper, I burned my left hand badly. No, let’s give it the respect it deserves – I burned it BADLY. I splashed a good deal of HOT bacon grease out of my iron skillet and onto the front of my left hand – and up a finger.
It hurt like crazy. It hurt like crazy when they put medication on my hand in the urgent care center and it hurt when they wrapped it. It hurt as I sat up in bed last night when I should’ve been sleeping. Kind of hard to sleep when the entire top surface of your hand and one finger are blistered up and burning like someone sat a match to a glove and stuck your hand in it.
It hurts like crazy now too – in fact, my left hand is hating me with a cruel hatred with each word I type. It’s like, “You’re doing this, why?? First you baptize me with hot bacon grease and now you’re putting me on a keyboard treadmill??”
A lot of pain and inconvenience involved – But, like the MRI, the bacon grease and the pain did not win. I won. Why? I found the humor in the situation.
That’s the thing about seeing things through clown glasses (whenever possible), you take full control of the situation – you snatch it right out of the enemy’s claws. This morning, as I sat looking at the bandaged hand and wondering when or if it would actually quit hurting, I realized that I needed to let my psyche and my family know that I was okay…. that’d I’d come out on top and had taken victory out of the enemy’s claws.
I found a stuffed girl bear, put some tape on her paw (her left paw, like mine), and took a picture. I sent it to my daughters and said, “Twinsies!”
Being goofy, being silly, being downright weird, and laughing – those are my weapons and this was my way of letting my girls know that I’d won.
Whatever you’re going through, I’m with you in spirit. I know bad situations are not funny – but I also know that if you can find any humor whatsoever, it will save you.
I am now going to give this poor hand a break and pour a tall glass of iced tea, sit in my favorite chair, watch Andy Griffith reruns – and pray the episode where the farmer’s barn burns down isn’t in the lineup.
~ Joi (“Joy”)