Friday, 10 February 2012

Happiness in a Pillow Case

I'm a true believer in happiness. Having had my own fair share of downs, I realized quite prematurely that happiness is something you create around you, something to carry in your pocket, and is not by any means an end-state. Happiness is not a thing to be achieved, there is no certificate to say "Congratulations, you've done it!"; it's dynamic, to-ing and fro-ing throughout life, dependant very much on state of mind at any one time.

I'm struggling a bit with my happiness levels at the moment, for some reason. I'm nervous about up-coming challenges, anxious about big commitments, and consequently I've been walking around in a blue-grey haze, seeing and feeling a little less clearly than I would like to.

So, I took it upon myself to think of a few simple things that bring me genuine happiness. Things that I can achieve every day, that will contribute to the general level of joy within me. Once I started thinking of things I couldn't stop; finding happiness in the smallest things is infections, and it's something I've made a habit of for a while.

Happiness Found Around the House

Listening to the radio while eating breakfast quietly with Daniel - my favourite time of day, which we never rush.

Keeping the house tidy - even putting laundry away and paring socks (which I hate!) contributes to my general levels of wellbeing. Happiness comes more easily when there are no socks to match up.

Chopping vegetables - sometimes just preparing a healthy meal helps to boost my mood. Enjoying the colours and the smells of the food I'm preparing, and of course the prospect of eating it, is all part of the mealtime pleasure.

A hot shower - I could spend forever in the shower, and I think Daniel sometimes worries that one day I might (we're on a meter). Some favourite soap and delicious hot water can quite literally wash the blues away!

A quiet cup of tea - forever the solution, but sitting quietly with a cup of tea, thinking of nothing in particular, is a wonderful way to clear the mind and take some time for yourself.

A good stretch - does anything feel better than a really good stretch? In the morning, at work, while cooking, waiting for the bus, before bed: this little trick is a portable solution to relieve the blues!

A lovely made bed, ready for some sleeping - tempting at all times of day, but the promise of a cosy night's sleep is a great therapy, even in the morning before leaving for work!

Do you have any simple tips for promoting happiness? Please do share!


  1. I MUST agree with you when beds are made and laundry is put away. I think for me, it's that extra bit of stress in the back of my mind that's saying "hey don't forget to do your chores." Because even though it's small and simple like that, the more small things that pile up, the more stress I have.

    PS, I literally JUST tidy-ed up (like picking things up off the ground that I've thrown around the bedroom this past day) and I feel calmer already haha.

  2. I completely agree with all of these.
    I also find aromatherapy really helps - geranium and clary sage are great for a happiness boost. And listening to opera. And a DIY mani&pedi/facial/etc. And meditation.
    Hope you feel better and less anxious!

  3. I think you're rather good at cultivating happiness and healthiness - it's certainly one thing I really admire in you, as it's so much harder when one has obsessive, anxious tendencies and I think over the years you've systematically and with a certain grace worked at creating a space for yourself where you can be peaceful and been committed to that. I've certainly found this kind of thing rocky, though I feel I can say, I've got better with the realisation that it's more ethically better to try to be happy, than to try to be sad. Which is not to say that Michael Rosen's 'I'm sad not bad' is incorrect, but that suffering is only useful if it is changing things for the better, it hasn't got value in and of itself. Sometimes useless suffering occurs. The role of society and government should be to avoid this! I know that the happier I am, the better I treat people, the more productive work I accomplish, the more good I put into the world. I think I used to be very hung up on the notion that it was only through some kind of martyrdom that one could be good and that's really silly! Martyrdom historically was the personal made political - individuals not willing to compromise their faith because they felt that in the scheme of things the integrity thus preserved was more imporant that their suffering. Outside of the political, martydom loses its meaning IMO.

    So after that ramble, the things that keep me happy are:

    1.) Small or big kindnesses to others
    2.) Listening to music I want to listen to more often. I have always been one to delay pleasures without good reason. There's simply too much good culture to do this!
    3.) Being silly, or perhaps more importantly, encouraging the silliness in others!
    4.) Looking at pictures of beautiful things online and not reading the comments pages on news sites or youtube.
    5.) Limiting my chocolate intake. Haha! x

  4. Try rosehip oil for your face, it's so moisturising and not at all irritating if you have sensitive skin like me. As for me, happiness is:

    - A cat nap in the middle of a productive day
    - A delicious, healthy, satisfying dinner opposite my boyfriend
    - A steaming hot bath with plenty of time
    - A Sunday morning (my exercise rest day!)