Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Happiness Happens: Reflecting on a Happy Month

Happy Times in August

I'm the kind of person who likes challenges and goals.  This year, I've been setting monthly challenges for myself and then at the end of the month, I reflect on what went well, what could have been better, and what I might want to change.

My goal for August was to blog daily with a theme of "Happiness Happens" in honor of Happiness Happens month. Last year, I was honored to interview the founder of Happiness Happens Month, Happiness Hero, Pamela Gail Johnson, for my podcast.

Having a daily blog post in which I wrote about something that made me happy each day, really made a difference in my overall mood. It was much like a daily gratitude journal, but it went a step above as I searched for words and pictures to describe these experiences. I became much more aware of my emotions and the things that would trigger those happy feelings.

Sure, the news constantly reminds us, very sad things are going on in our world and I don't want to minimize those. However, this daily practice really reminded me of the plethora of wonderful things in my life - simple things, that I often take for granted.. and big things, like the people I love who care about me.

I remember a day earlier this month when I had some personal disappointments.  I had 3 bad things in a row happen.. not big things, but big enough to make me feel moody and irritable.  Then I reminded myself about all my Happiness Happens moments that I'd been writing about. I stopped the downward spiral that was happening in my head and was able to turn it around.

I'd read a wonderful article by another Happiness Hero and "Joyful" author Ingrid Fetell Lee: The Power of Upward Spiral that describes this very phenomenon.

As I've learned by this practice of recognizing all the little things that bring me joy and happiness, that happiness starts with gratitude and mindfulness.  Even being mindful about things that bring negative emotions has been a positive experience.  I can think more deeply and ask myself, Why is this triggering me? Do I need to be angry? Do I need to be hurt?  Almost always, the answer is No..  I can let that go. 

There are times when I have to accept things that are out of my control. And there are times when I'm sad or worried or scared. I am so grateful that I have people in my life who will listen and help me process those emotions and maybe come up with some things that I can do to be less sad, worried, or scared.

In the "Could Have Been Better" category, I did not improve my blogging skills and only earned 1 cent on Adsense (still 44 cents away from getting my $100 payout after 15 years of blogging.)

However, as I browse over all my Happiness Happens posts for the month, capturing the precious moments and memories, the happiness I feel is absolutely priceless.

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