Over the years, I learned that to truly be happy with myself, I needed to make happiness a habit.
As a nurse, I want to cure the world. As a woman, I want to make everyone feel better. I am a problem - solver by nature.
Before 1999, I always put everyone before myself. I mean everyone. I was always tired but always felt happy.
Today in 2015, I preach the happiness habit as a mantra for self - care in my nursing classrooms.
I am saddened at how many hard working men and women don't feel they have a moment to call their own. I feel blessed that I have been given a second chance to make every day count.
I have heard every excuse in the book. Nurses are the greatest "yes buts" in the world.
My response is the same: "You don't have time not to take care of yourself. Self care is not selfish."
We need to nurture ourselves. For each of us, the manner is different. For each of us the end - point is the same. We need to discover what makes us happy.
When life throws a whammy
Life tends to throw some curve balls that can impinge on our self - happiness. Traffic, misunderstanding, illness, accident, trauma are just some of these curve balls.
We can feel like jugglers in the circus of life with way too many balls in the air at once.
When this happens to me, I try to spend as much time with Andy, my Black Labrador, as I can. He grounds me. From rolling on his sweet belly to giving me a compassionate sloppy kiss, he makes me happy in the best and the worst of times.
A word about Time
I became happier when I stopped fighting time. This includes the aging process.
I decided that I could not remotely change my past. I realized that the future could prove to be unreliable.
I found that my gift to myself is the present. I can make today the very best it can be. Starting with myself, the rest seems to flow.
I learned to say 'no thank you'; 'not now, but perhaps later'; and 'that doesn't work for me, do you have another idea?' And I find self - happiness to be a natural by - product.
A walk to happiness
Material things don't make me as happy as experiences. I appreciate the simplicity and beauty of nature in all seasons. To me, walking slowly, with Andy, and allowing myself the luxury of clearing my head is an automatic way to achieve happiness.
I am consistently able to erase negativity with a walk. Just as Andy can get immersed with a stick along the road, I am equally amazed at a lovely flower or tree I encounter.
The solitude of watching a sunrise or a sunset brings me incredible joy and peace. There is a feeling of hopefulness, majesty and perspective. Life problems are put in their relative place, as I remind myself I am merely part of a bigger picture.
I find a similar feeling of happiness and solace most every night by spending quiet time looking up to the stars. I think of my Mother and other special people in my world. I actually feel closer to all of them. I remind myself I have done the best I could for the day and will start anew in the morning.
“Happiness is a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you.— (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
Just do it...be happy!
I believe a smile is the physical evidence of happiness. A smile is the most sincere non - verbal manner that we can express gratitude, love and joy.
Even if my mood does not necessarily match my smile, it may follow shortly thereafter. it's a chance I'm willing to take!
Through my life, I have encountered many people in all walks of life. Perceptions can easily be made based on socioeconomic, cultural, gender, age and a myriad of other considerations.
Time and time again my perceptions have been shattered. I have met homeless people who have been more internally at peace and filled with a joy for living than some of the most affluent, who felt a sense of despair and emptiness on a daily basis.
To me, the key is self - acceptance. When I am happy, really happy with myself, everything else falls into place. Life will be filled with tragedy and joy that happens to us and around us. I can decide whether to live life joyfully or in a self - defeating manner.
In the end, we are left with ourselves as the Captain of our life journey. This is not sobering - rather exhilarating and life - affirming.
A happiness challenge
Consider the following goal that I strive for every day~
The 5-3-1 Challenge:
~ 5 minutes a day of meditation (I use my daily walks in this and go way over 5 minutes).
~ Keep track of 3 good things that happen each day (I keep a journal~ great to focus on the positives in life).
~Do 1 act of kindness (Be random and anonymous about it).
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This multi-topic blog publishes weekly on Wednesdays.
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