Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Smell the roses - three things you can do RIGHT NOW for your happiness.

In case you have not noticed, the roses are in bloom.  It's already June, and summer vacation for the kids is just around the corner.

Remember when you were a kid? Remember the long summer days that seemed to stretch into forever? Whether or not you had a happy childhood, remember those little moments when you caught a glimpse of something that felt eternal?

Yesterday I dedicated the day to my partner, who was close to burnout from 18 months of intense work on a project that is two days from closing.  I'd been helping along the way when I could, but he had been carrying the load, and it was crushing him.  Part of my care for him was to take him to the rose garden with the instructions to look at beautiful things.  I fed him a home-made truffle my friend Andre had given me to sweeten the deal.

We got home and I fed him dinner, and then he crawled into bed for a nap that merged into an early bedtime. I went to dance, a free-form dance where I could spend a couple of hours dancing by myself in the crowd of dancers.  The next day he woke up his usual bright eyed and bushy tailed-self.  It was nice to see his smile.

And so, here are three things I learned & experienced yesterday that you can do for your happiness:

1) Do something for somebody else.   Three ideas:

Buy a friend a coffee or go for walk and spend your time really listening.  Don't give advice unless asked, and even if asked, instead say "this is what I am hearing..." or "what comes up for me is..." or "Well, if you were going to tell yourself something or advise yourself, what would you say?"

Give your partner a body massage, asking them for feedback and doing your very best to respond to their requests. Start with the head, work down to the feet. Some people like deep tissue, and for some that hurts and they need soft brushing motion. If you have never given a massage, learn how on you-tube (punch in instructions for swedish, shiatsu or thai massage and you'll find lots of ways to learn) or best yet, get a massage from a massage therapist to learn from experience.

Give a colleague or member of your community a gift, or make a donation to a cause that you really believe in on behalf of a friend, family member or colleague at work. Given them a card with the information about the donation.

2) Appreciate yourself. Take at least 15 minutes and try for more time to go over all the good things you have done in your life. If you are a list maker, make a list of all the good things about you. If lists don't appeal to you, doodle on a large piece of paper.  No one needs to see it, so just go to town. If this is hard to do, pretend you are someone else - someone who loves you beyond measure and sees and appreciates you.

3) Smell the roses.  Slow down for a few moments and look for the beauty in whatever is around you. If you can, go to where there are roses, and get lost in the splendor of a rose. Research tells us that spending time in nature makes us happy and that even if we spend time looking at picture of nature, we can get happier. So here are some roses for you.

 Post by Laura Musikanski, ED of the Happiness Alliance @happycounts.org

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