The other week, my husband and I attended a talk by Dr. Sanjiv Chopra on what makes a person happy. Dr. Chopra’s points resonated with me, especially because one or more of these elements often lifts me from blah into a happier place, so I thought I would share my interpretation of his talk.
He summarized four aspects of life that can increase your happiness:
- Family and friends (your chosen family)
- For others
Family and friends
Surround yourself with people who lift you, who love you, who you love back. People you want to have in your life. Spend time with them. Enjoy those connections.
Don’t carry the energy of anger, hatred, resentment, etc. Forgive others. Forgive ourselves.
Doing things for others. My husband and I debated the meaning of this one. If you are a nurse and help people all day long, does that count? I don’t believe it does. I think you have to help others with them in mind, thinking about what they like. I can take care of my family by making meals, creating a space that feels good to live in, planning fun outings, etc. If I do it as an obligation or routine, that doesn’t make me feel better. It makes it feel like drudgery. But if I do it with them in mind, considering what they would like, the same action is more fulfilling for me and usually for all involved. For example, being home for my child after school is different than thinking, “He might like to play this game – let me set it up so it is ready to go when he gets home from school.” or even “They would really enjoy this for dinner – let me put that together for them.” (I know – I sound so house-wifey.)
Take the time to truly appreciate the gifts you have in your life. Think about this: What if you woke up tomorrow and found that you only had the things you explicitly were grateful for today? What would those things be?
For me, gratitude also helps me to notice special happenings in my life that otherwise would go unnoticed, kind of like finding little surprise treats in my day.
I wish happiness for you – today and always. When you are happy, you feel like you can do anything. May you have that fabulous energy that enables your dreams to become reality. And your happiness will be contagious!