I am a happy person by nature, but just like everybody else, I can slip into doubt on a moments notice. Insecurities coupled with a general sense “this can’t be right” will have me questioning whether I am actually happy or have I just gotten really good at pretending. After a quick completion of my general checklist, I always come to the same conclusion. I am traversing this world as a generally happy person and my insecurities or doubt stem from the brooding artist in me. This is my nature.
But what is this checklist I use? I have a series of beliefs that I check in on to remind myself what happiness is actually made of. A quick tune in/up reminds me of my perspective goals and brings the needle back due north. Here are four of my favorites:
“I Love You Man”
This scene is most often depicted in film by a guy who has imbibed too much and draped over his friend professing his deep-rooted love. I see this more as a general love for other people. I like to make sure I truly care about other people’s happiness and let them know, within reason. I really love celebrating other people’s successes and I want to be the person that they go to first if they need a shoulder. Even if I have never met them before, because a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.
Right Here, Right Now
I am a parent, and one of the first things people love to tell you is “it goes so fast”. My observation about that truth is life seems to pass you by quicker the more you live in memory. I try to be eyes wide open all the time and really pay attention to every nuance that constructs every little moment in the present. My favorite movie quote of all time is from Joe Versus the Volcano ~ “My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement”. I try to stay awake because I have never met an unhappy person in a state of amazement!
Eyes on the Prize
“Mo money, mo problems.” I have the general understanding that money is not the source of happiness. I have had some and I have had none, so my litmus test kit is in order. Most people have money as their goal. Don’t get me wrong; I am not going to go all “possession free yogi” on you because money is important. Everybody needs to generate enough to live a quality life on, but for me, a speed boat and plane are not desirable objects. Instead I truly load my basket with the eggs of my children’s health, quantity time with my wife and dinners at long tables full of family or friends. Not only does this fill my happiness reservoir every time but these goals are more achievable on a regular basis.
When is the last time you took a sleep inventory? Look back at last night and assess how you have slept. I take an inventory every morning. It’s not necessarily the amount of time you slept, although that plays a part, but rather the quality of sleep you got. Did I have good dreams? What were my dreams about (I try and remember as much detail as possible)? How does my body feel this morning? If something is off track then I try and figure out how to improve on it. I analyze my own dreams to find the source and see if something can be corrected physically to change or repeated to secure the good ones. This takes some practice but is my path to sound sleeping and excitement getting there.
These are just 4 ways that I track my happiness to make sure that I am on point, but more importantly to remind myself to ignore the doubts in life that have me questioning my happiness and simply trust the process. How do you measure your happiness?