The Easy Path to Happiness


Musings in the morning

It’s so easy to get caught up in the craziness of life, and we forget to be happy. I know, that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. We are so busy running errands, getting to work, chugging our caffeinated pick me ups and making dinner, that we forget to stop, be mindful and breathe. Happiness is truly a state of mind, and we can all achieve this blissful state of self love and smiles by simply creating a routine for ourselves. Forget the regular grind, this schedule’s for your perculating self way, deep inside. Here are my five best bets for tacking those blues and making them turn from navy to bright sky blue.

Sleep. This is my first key hint for you to finding happiness in your days. Seems like a no brainer, right?  Sleepless in my headI must list this first dear readers, because without sleep we are all just cranky creatures. Honestly, if I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I feel sorry for myself and I am snippy to anyone who crosses my path the next day.  There is not enough of my favorite brewed beans to change my disposition on these days, so consider yourselves warned.  If you don’t feel physically at your best, you can forget about being happy. You will end up focused on the sore crampy legs, the aching back and burning eyes (yup, I know you’ve been there too my friends) and there goes your sunny disposition. How can happiness begin to seep in,  if you are too exhausted to be open to it?

painting my lifeNext, let’s look at creativity. Not to brag, but I know everything about this. (OK, maybe not everything.) Laying it all on the drafting table, so to speak, I am trained in fine arts. Really and truly. I’ve always doodled and drawn on everything and anything, you should see all my school notebooks and even the envelopes I write phone messages on. My portfolio sits in tact in a closet under the stairs, (yes mom, I know exactly where). Trees are a biggie for me. Love them, there’s so much detail, each one so personal. And yes, dear readers, I am a tree hugging fool. I remember loving Cray-Pas as a child and I think that must be a precursor to my love of charcoals. Or perhaps, I just like getting grungy and dirty and immersed in my work. I’m also a writer. (obviously). All my birthday cards and letters home used to sound like flowery crap (beg pardon). I was the ultimate Hallmark card writer before the cards were so awesome. I am publishing poetry online in a prolific sense, saving up my prose for the anthology in my future. I’ll keep you posted. Promise. I love cooking, especially muffins. The flavors will tell you my moods. My kids particularly love the chocolate based ones, and Gluten Free, of course. The Positive Psychology People have stated that “as long as you are growing, making something original, putting out more than what you started with, you are creating.” You’ll know whether or not you are creating by how fulfilled, happy and inspired you feel afterwards. On a personal note, (yeah, I’m serious), my ideal free day is a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY,  just leave me by the impressionists. Vinnie and I have a special history (Van Gogh for those of you not art inclined). I might take notes on the paintings or the people I’m observing. (They usually end up characters somewhere) . Then I’ll see you at closing time for a frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity’s.

Creativity should be followed by curiosity. I am inordinately curious, that cat has nothing on me! I am a complete and admitted bookworm, always immersed in a well thumbed book, or scrolling on my Kindle app. I consider myself a lifelong student. I love to learn new things, and it’s a big part of who I am. I am impatient, so that means I never wait around for anyone to teach me how to really do anything. Not always a good thing, as my husband will attest. Impulsivity comes with my impatience. I believe that if you want more out of your life, you have to invest more time and effort in yourself. Stay curious about your life and your goals, and you will transform your personal relationships and feel deeply happily satisfied.

Which leads me to love. (You knew I couldn’t possibly leave this out.) We are taught early on to love by our parents, extended family and maybe even by a pet. That simple human being who has success and everything money can buy, but no one to come home and share it with, is quite a sad specimen. They may seem happy to the world, but inside, they feel lonely, incomplete and sad. I spent last night comforting my friend who is so lucky in everything but love. She knows it is her, pushing away the “good ones,” but she is sometimes inconsolable. She is now considering a dog so she won’t be alone when she comes home at night after a backbreaking day at work. Just something warm and alive to cuddle. Love Leo StyleWe are meant to love. I believe it starts with self love. Without loving ourselves (yes, I’m going all Leo Buscaglia on you here) – truly loving our selves, there is no way we can love anyone else. What does loving oneself look like, you ask? Nourish your body with exercise, healthy foods, good sleeping patterns and being socially active. Learn to set boundaries to maintain your self-respect, and know when it’s time to walk away from toxic situations. Be kind in your self reflection, it builds strength and character, and self love.

How about helping others? It is definitely mindful and creates endorphins and feelings of satisfaction and happiness. Stop making tsk tsk noises. You know I’m en pointe here. helping others, giving of your wonderful self, is a bonus spirit lifter! When you help others, you stop paying attention to yourself.mfor just a bit. The constant looping movie reel in your head of what your problems are is suspended, because you are focused on the person you are helping. Time Magazine featured an article recently that stated “scientific research provides compelling data to support the anecdotal evidence that giving is a powerful pathway to personal growth and lasting happiness.” So how can you do this? You can volunteer to work with physically and mentally challenged youth like my son did, or offer your time to tutor in subjects you’re good at in after school programs. Sometimes, it’s all about just being there for a friend in need. Lots of options folks.

What have you found to be the secret to your happiness? I’d love to know your secrets. Feel free to share in the comments.