• Tue, Jun 21 2011

In Pursuit of Happiness? Start Some New Habits (The Good Kind)

Neil Parischa wrote The Book of Awesome after he had lost touch with the things in life that made him happy. A devastating break-up caused a damaging emotional spiral into a dark place where nothing felt good to him anymore. He managed to crawl his way back to a positive state of mind by reminding himself of all the little things in life that made him smile or pause to reflect. Things like “finding money in your pocket” and “bakery air.” But it shouldn’t take a life-altering event to force you to discover happiness from the little things in life.

There are a million and one things you can do every day to remind yourself to stop for a moment, breath and damn-it, remember not to take life too seriously. I’m not talking about the “Stewart Smiley” approach with daily affirmations. I’m talking about the couple of things you do each day to remind yourself that life ain’t so bad. In fact it’s pretty fucking good!

Humans are creatures of habit, and respond to rewards and consequences. So if that’s true, why fight it? Put some rewards in place for good behavior. For instance, I’m not a morning person and love to sleep in on the weekends but getting my workout in first thing is the only way it will happen at all. So, I reward myself with a treat – a Whole Foods brunch after a grueling hour at the gym. I can tell you I appreciate that latte and egg white omelet with bacon and cheese on Saturday mornings more than any other meal I eat all week – because I earned it. But it doesn’t end there. You see, that reward makes me feel accomplished and satisfied and is the starting point for having a positive and good day.

It’s not just about rewarding yourself, thought. Because that can be a slippery slope. If you start off by sating “of course I should eat that chocolate cake, I had a rough day.” Or, “what’s the harm in buying another DVF dress to add to my showroom-like collection? It is on sale.” That stuff will end up making you feel bad. They’re excuses for bad behavior and should be avoided whenever possible.

So whether it’s a morning latte from Whole Foods a glass of wine after the kids go to bed or a walk through a park at lunch. Start giving yourself a break. Just make sure you earned it so that you really do appreciate it! I promise it will make you smile and reflect on all the good things in your life.

Do you have a ritual that keeps you positive and happy? We’d love to hear about it.

(Photo: Food Network, Omelet with Onions, Zucchini, and Fontina)

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  • Marilyn

    Great Article!! I agree the little things in life make you the happiest.