I’ve been reading a lot around happiness and mindfulness as a consequence of therapy. It was something I found really interesting – this concept of almost creating our own happiness rather than simply ‘being happy’. Finding pleasure in the small things. Really thinking about what makes us smile, what makes us feel connected, what makes us feel peaceful and calm.
I’ve started keeping a Wellness Journal, filling it with quotes I find inspiring, clippings from magazines, reminders to myself, to-do lists, affirmations. I found that I really enjoyed spending this time just sitting and thinking about positivity and health and how to maintain those things in my self.
One of the things that came out of that was a list – the Bliss List – where I started to write down the things that made me happy. It’s something I’ve been back to again and again, not just when I’m feeling a little blue and need a pick-me-up or an idea about what to do to make myself feel calm and centred, but also just to review how many things really do make me feel happy.
It’s amazing how simple a lot of the things are. A bubblebath with a good book, for example. A glass of wine. The smell of rain. And how they appeal to every sense: touch, taste, hearing, smell, sight.
I started to think about how I could incorporate as much bliss as possible into my day to day life. I love fresh flowers, for example, so I started to buy a bunch once a week, and I keep them in my room where they look and smell pretty. I love candles, so I bought sweet little glass votives and put them in my window. I read by them at night, and it feels so much more special and calm.
I’ve spoken a little about this in a previous post, I think. And it sounds so simple….but honestly, it’s so effective. It’s about giving yourself whatever small happinesses you can, whenever you can. Thinking about what appeals to each of your senses.
Here is a glimpse of my Bliss List. It’s not the full thing (the full thing is a notebook full of scrawls and scribblings, post-its I’ve written hastily at work and then stuck in later, pencilled notes in the margins) but it’s enough to give you an idea. And I really recommend doing this for yourself, even if you don’t necessarily write everything down. Just think about what makes you feel positive, happy, calm, centred, pleased. And then indulge that in any way you can. Or even better, combine as many things as possible. Love the smell of lemons? Love reading? Love bubblebaths? Get yourself some candles, some lemony bath oil and shut yourself in there with a good book.
Writing – journals, letters, poems, stories, lists
Buying new books
Creating something – making cards, cooking, drawing
Going to art galleries and museums
Sitting quietly in the library with a stack of books
Walking in the sunshine
Black and white photographs
Petting my fluffball of a cat, stroking his little nose
A gentle massage
The colour pink
Art and photographs
Flowers – peonies, tulips, roses, lilies
The Eiffel Tower
A real, handwritten letter
Poems, read aloud
A friend’s voice
The tapping of my laptop keys
The sound of water