Why we should take inventory of what makes us happy

Do you ever have days where you’re feeling especially energetic, excited and optimistic about life?  Maybe more so than your average day.  Then the next day, for whatever reason, the enthusiasm has disappeared.  It’s so far gone, you’re not even sure what it was you were so excited about in the first place.  This is how my mood often works.  It’s like a wave that I sometimes surf like a pro but more often I just get thrown around wherever it wants to take me.

Today is one of those particularly good days.  Everywhere I turn I see something to get excited about.  As the day is coming to a close, I’m wondering why I’m feeling so optimistic and what it is I can do to hold on to this feeling.  Because I know the odds are high that I’ll wake up tomorrow with a happiness hangover, wondering what the hell I was so excited about.  So what I decided to do was make a list.  Instead of just riding my high until it’s gone, why not sit down and try to define it?  Maybe analyzing that feeling and putting it in to words on paper will reignite the flame next time I’m not feeling so cheerful about life.

So without thinking too hard, I made a list.  Anything that came to mind that has me excited about life, I wrote down.  I tried to be as specific as possible.  The more specific I could be, the more likely my words would be able to reignite the excitement.

For example, let’s look at the two opposite sides of the spectrum.  Let’s say I didn’t get specific at all and I just wrote down “I’m excited about life!”.  (I don’t know why I would do that but bare with me for the  sake of this explanation) Tomorrow or the next day, when the enthusiasm has fizzled, I’d likely look at that paper and scoff.  Probably followed by wadding up the paper and throwing it in the trash.  Now, on the other hand, take a look at a couple of the things I wrote on my list…

  • I’m excited to continue practicing mindfulness and meditation; as well as focusing on being productive and of service today, not a year or five years from now.
  • I’m excited to create a fun, cozy environment in our new home for us and our guests and remembering to not get too caught up in fixtures, fancy appliances and expensive furniture.

Instead of scoffing, the specific details of my list will be like a smack upside the head.  OH YES…I AM excited about all of those things.  It’s just that day to day life tends to create a layer of dust over the top of our optimism.  Sometimes we just need a little something to remind us where our excitement went and that’s exactly what I’m hoping this list will do.

Take the time to acknowledge all the good stuff and you’re more likely to find it when it goes missing.  I hope to make this a regular practice.  Maybe once a week or once a month.  A little happiness brainstorming session.  A simple act to keep track of my optimism.  Because the more time spent focusing on the good stuff, the less time we have to dwell on the bad.

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By Michele


Hi, I'm Michele, a nomadic wedding photographer and lover of the great outdoors. I live on the road full-time and document my adventures daily. This is my personal blog where I share and record my thoughts on living simply and intentionally with less stress and more joy. Check out my wedding and portrait photography at http://www.oncwest.com


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