At the beginning of last year, as a grade 9 survivor (no small feat!), Miss 15 decided that grade 10 was going to be a happy year. To her credit, she decided to record one thing on her calendar, at the end of each day, that made her happy. Simple enough. What started out as an idea became a personal challenge to see if she could stick to it.
Most days her happy moment was something simple…taking the dog for a walk…the colour of a sunset…having a friend over…picking wildflowers. Then there were extra special things like the thrill (and the chill) of standing on top of Mt Wellington, Tasmania, in minus 4 degrees with gale force winds blowing!
I recently heard animated chatter coming from her room and poked my head in to see what was up. Her brother had picked up the calendar and started reading some of the entries aloud, reminding her of last year’s happy times. “Could you go through the year and write down your top 5?” I asked. A little later she presented me with a 2015 Happy List which had 11 entries instead of 5; a pretty good effort considering she started with 365!
When I looked at the list I noticed a common theme, actually two common themes…
Nine out of eleven ‘happy times’ had taken place outside in nature. Nature really does nurture us.
None of her ‘happy times’ required spending money. Even taking the dog long boarding involved borrowing her sister’s long board!
It was pretty clear from looking at this list that her happiest times had been when she was spending time outdoors with friends, valuable information for anyone wanting to plan something special for her.
Recording one happy thing at the end of a day is like creating a mini gratitude journal. It requires only 30 seconds each day, is within reach of everyone and at the end of the year you have a permanent record of good memories. Importantly, you direct your mind to seek out beauty even when things are mundane and on those more challenging days, you push yourself to find something uplifting, just one thing. Each person’s Happy List is filled with clues to activities you can plan for essential self care or to lift a low mood when needed.
What do you think? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to discover that what you already have is enough?
Go on, create your own Happy List and see what it reveals about you!