In November we are constantly bombarded with the thought of "gratitude and thanksgiving" but for December I think that word has got to be "joy". Just about every song you can think of that talks about the holiday's mentions the word. (The below one just happens to be one of my favorites.
It is with this in mind that we continue our goal setting process with a focus on joy. It is a simple question really...
what brought you joy this year?
I don't mean, "what made you happy". Anyone can talk about what makes them happy but what actually brought you true JOY in 2015. Joy is a much different focus. Joy comes in small moments and is almost always unexpected.
here is what I think you should consider when trying to decide what truly did bring you joy this year.
the people in your life that you spent time with and left feeling good
accomplishments you made
moments of peace
I don't think it is a secret that for me joy came in the form of my little nephew this year. I also realize that I probably sound like a broken record when I talk about him but it was truly a big thing. My decision to move home seemed to validated by the birth of Otis because there is not a single person who has me me smile or laugh more in the past 8 months than that little guy. When I was sick, in bed, back and forth to the doctor's and not wanting anyone to see me, this kid would make me smile and laugh out loud. But more than that it was the joy in knowing that he had been brought into the life of my brother and his wife and completed their family. Knowing that they had the missing piece to their puzzle brought a level of joy I didn't expect.
So, as you work on this question today, think about the different kinds of joy around you.
Apparently today is "National Do Something Nice Day". I say apparently because even though my research did in fact find information about the day, I was unable to find any information on its origin. Weird but kind of cool. It makes sense that someone who created a day all about kindness wouldn't be concerned with getting glory for it.
Maybe today hasn't been the best day for you. You woke up late because your alarm didn't go off, traffic was ridiculous, you stepped in a puddle and then a car drove by and splashed water all over your favorite outfit and then work is just...well...crummy. Imagine being at the end of that kind of day and needing to go to the grocery store (because all bad days include an empty refrigerator and/or emplty gas tank, I have no idea why this is) but imagine for a second that this is your scenario today. Suddenly the person in front of you let's you go before them or maybe the car before you paid your gas before you even filled your tank. How amazing would that feel? It is this idea that no matter how bad your day is, the smallest kindness can turnt he whole thing around.
So the only thing you really need to know is that today is that somebody is having a crummy day. But most of us are strong proud individuals who don't want to burden anyone with that day so we keep a stiff upper lip and just do everything we can to get through the day. When you know this and know that the simplest kindness might not mean much to you but it could mean the world to somebody else. It is for this reason it makes sense that we should be kind every day but assuming this just doesn't happen, which is probably a good assumption with all the things going on in our world today, being kind to everyone gives you infinite possibilities to be the reason somebodies day turns from good to bad.
Here is the kicker...it doesn't even have to be anything major. Here are a few small ideas from Kid President that take very little time out of your day but could make all the difference in someone else's.
a few extra from me to you...
did you know that some people have NEVER had a clown cone? This should be rectified, what better day than today?
help someone carry their groceries to the car
Leave a note on somebodies car to tell them what an awesome job of parking they did (I got this one from Kid President and I love it)
hold doors open for people
put your phone down for an entire conversation, look in their eyes, give them non-verbal feedback...WOAH...this one could be huge
give up your seat to someone who may need it more
call your MOM...it will turn her day around for sure
call your DAD...we always forget to call our Dad's
for either of the above DO NOT TEXT them, make a real call with words and laughs
If you are near your parents, take them out for happy hour, catch up with them and pick up the check....they'll love it
make your co-workers get up and have a 30 second dance party, they'll resist at first but then totally get into...I mean, who wouldn't
tell someone a silly joke...it doesn't even have to be good
never underestimate the power of a smile
OH...and don't forget it is SOCKTOBER, so why not stock up some socks and donate to your nearest homeless shelter or make little hygiene care packs with snacks and self care items and keep them in your car and give them to a panhandler on the street instead of ignoring them. When you do this, don't forget to look them in they eye and say a kind word.
To hammer in the point, here is another KP video on "how we can change the world".
Be nice to each other today. Tell me what kindness you are going to do today in the comments below. It might give someone else a good idea.
Till next time.
It's hard work to be happy. It is something we each have to seek for ourselves and ultimately happiness means something different for each of us. This is probably why it seems so hard to define. I think that it can also be said that people are confused by what it means to be happy. Does it have to involve laughing and smiling? Can it simply be a feeling of contentment? Do we always know happiness when it is happening?
In the book "Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, there is an exploration of happiness, that while personal for the author gave me some insight into facets of happiness I had never considered. Energy, for example and how it relates to happiness. The author starts here first. She researched energy and its relationship to happiness through the ages and puts a number of theories to the test. Does getting more sleep make you happier? Can you get happy simply by acting happy? This first chapter had me hooked.
I came across this book a couple years back while "window shopping" with a friend. We had just finished brunch complete with champagne that centered on our search for happiness when we stumbled upon this book in a store. As with most situations with this friend, it seemed the ultimate definition of kismet.
One of my favorite passages from the book is this:
In fact, studies agree with this. Some have shown that having 5 or more friends you can go to when discussing matters of significance were far more likely to describe themselves as "very happy" people. These studies even imply that everything we do is enhanced by having people join us for the process, even the ones we dread doing. (apparently misery loves company because it makes the misery...well...less miserable.) By the way this passage and section is discussed in Chapter 6 of the book; "Make Time For Friends."
So, why am I telling you all of this. it is simple really, number one, happiness comes in and from unexpected places, it is good to keep your mind open to the possibilties of where you might find it and to pay attention when it comes along. I like to tell people to make sure they are listening to the whispers of happiness and contentment for they are typically much more enjoyable than screams of happiness. They live in every day life and friendships but are easily missed and often have the greatest impact on our life and memories.
The second is that FRIENDSHIPS MATTER! CONNECTIONS MATTER! Cultivating these friendships and connections is what matters most. How are you doing this? How are you taking the time to focus on these friendships and connections? If making time for others you help build your own happiness then I guess Phoebe Buffay was right, there is no selfless good deed. You know what thought? I am okay with that. I meant why can't we all win right?
I had to put the rest of the conversation here, it is just too funny...
This book really is a great.I mean having a project is always fun, but one focused on happiness, what could be better? So I started my own happiness project I even created my own "Happiness Commandments" and "Secrets of Adulthood at the author's suggestion. Since you are my loyal readers, I decided to share them with you. These are mine....what would yours be?
That's enough from me...you ready for your own happiness project? Get the book, don't get the book, your choice, but whatever you do, do it for you.
Click on the image of book to pick it up on Amazon and start your project today. Don't forget to tell me all about it.