Photo: Chris Baldwin
3 Unexpected Things That Bring People Happiness
In the documentary Running from Crazy, Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, seeks to understand her family's history of suicide and mental illness. With the Emmy-nominated film returning to OWN on August 4, Mariel shares three secrets that lead to a deeper love of life.Sometimes what we think will give us happiness doesn't. It is surprising that the longing for or even achieving of things or events or vacations sometimes leaves us feeling empty and unsatisfied. In my experience, happiness comes in the knowing of yourself: Knowing who you are in your world and what your boundaries are and where you won't cross lines and what kind of time for you is needed is part of finding your happiness. When you can find where your comforts lie, then you begin to create happiness for yourself. It simply happens.
My happiness over the years has grown by deepening my inner work. Deepening the way I experience the little things. Yes, I meditate and take time to be silent daily, and, in that time, I honor and thank myself for showing up, and, after that, I thank those I love for being in my life. My life is about getting as much as I possibly can out of simple things. Like a mindful morning. How do I wake up? How do I make my tea? How do I want to address the day? When I answer these questions by doing them quietly/mindfully, then I know I will feel satisfied. The surprise is that when I make tea in a beautiful pot, smell the leaves open up and sit on my porch to watch the hundreds of hummingbirds that live in our yard, with my perfect teacup in my hand, I am creating my sense of peace. And where there is peace, there is joy. And where there is joy, there is happiness.
Start your day mindfully and be the orchestrator of your own simple happiness. You needn't buy a ticket to a foreign land or get a new car. You can often just slow down enough to take in what you already have, which is you and your experience with yourself by yourself. That is the beginning of knowing yourself and finding your happiness.
Below are three surprising things that will actually make you quite happy. Happiness lives in the simple things!
1. Stopping in the middle of whatever you are doing (maybe even the craziest time in your busy day) and taking a deep breath with your eyes closed: Visualize your happiest place just for you (your own sacred space). INHALE and EXHALE. Take a moment to not move; just be aware of how you feel. Maybe take two more deep inhales and exhales. This simple act has the ability to recalibrate your mind-body-soul connection, remind you that you are okay and, funnily enough, will bring you a sense of happiness.
2. Letting someone in a packed grocery store go ahead of you in line. The person you let go ahead of you will be nicely shocked, and the little extra time you have to wait will be worth the sense of joy you will feel at having done a simple kindness for someone else.
3. Writing a haiku for someone you love or just for you. A haiku is a three-line, 17-syllable poem about nature. Don't worry about the Japanese rules of haiku; just write a lovely three-line poem about nature and observe how calm and happy it makes you feel. Doing a creative act gets the creative juices flowing, and creativity makes you feel satisfied, happy and complete.
Tune in for an encore presentation of Running from Crazy on Monday, August 4, at 6:30/5:30c.