In the winter months it is relatively easy to become jaded but I believe that taking a hand in our own destiny will work wonders and increase the possibility of happiness.
However in order to be happy it is usually necessary to be solvent. Desirable too, to have someone who cares about you and/or a supportive network. An interesting job or life style will also tip the balance towards happiness.
Get comfortable, be warm, have some music in the background. Find a piece of plain paper, or use the back of a cereal box, anything!
1. Draw round your own hand.
2.Put five headings, one for each finger and your thumb. Health, (physical and mental) Wealth, Social, Spiritual and Environment.
3. Under each item brainstorm all the possibilities and then decide on one small step, preferably something new that you are prepared to do this week. It must be realistic! When deciding consider to which of the five senses each one relates – Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch, Feelings.
Health. Physical – Do not write ‘I will eat more healthily’ but something more direct. e.g ‘I will have yogurt for breakfast and eat an apple a day.‘ Do not write ‘I will do more exercise’ but ‘I will get off the bus at an earlier stop than necessary and walk home’ or ‘I will go to the gym twice this week.’
Emotional – Overeating is often linked to one’s emotional state. Completing this exercise will help you to feel more in control of your life and therefore emotionally stable.
Wealth. Do not write ‘I will save money’ and/or ‘I hope to win the lottery’ but something manageable like ‘I will check all my standing orders and direct debits and see if there are any I can cancel.’ Do not write ‘I will do less window shopping’ – leaving oneself open to temptation. Instead write ‘I will enjoy a walk in the park.’
If you are one of those people likely to get into debt whether you work or not why not write a list of everything you can do for next to nothing or free, e.g ring a friend, learn something new on youtube, share a skill with a friend, go for a walk, revamp something in your wardrobe, cook pasta a different way, sing around the house, meditate, write a journal, draw something, create a collage with pics from newspapers or magazines, re-arrange your books if you have any, help a neighbour, dust the mantelshelf, polish a table, wash the curtains, early spring clean a room, visit the library, change a room around. Or with minimal outlay why not see if you can sell something you don’t want on Ebay?
Social – this can be family and friends, hobbies and interests
It is pointless to say ‘I will make lots more friends this year and see more of the family’, it is important to be specific.
I’ve just written on my hand diagram – ‘ Talk to someone I don’t know. Ring a friend I’ve neglected. Send email to Maggie and invite her to lunch next week. When I go to my read around group invite someone I don’t know too well to a coffee after the class. Sign up for something new.’ You get the picture?
Hobbies – Last year I listed practicing my new harp three times a week (I started 14 months before that and I couldn’t even read music). I actually got as far as being able to play ‘Greensleeves’ but then my harp teacher retired to Lanzarote!
This year I’ve written ‘I will practice a new folk song every week’ (in the shower of course) partly because I want to sing in a club where my partner plays.
Spiritual. This one is quite personal, it can be meditation, prayer. For me it is something like ‘I will feed my indoor plants, I will write a new poem, I will listen to some music I like every day’ instead of just having any old thing on the radio. Anything that will feed my spirit.
Environment can of course be doing something to improve the environment overall. Why not google environmental projects? Join a voluntary group doing environmental things, pick up litter, clear ponds, help with community gardens etc.
However for your own living space don’t write ‘I will completely re-decorate’ but instead ‘I’ll decide on a new colour for one of my rooms and buy the paint’ or ‘I will blitz the cushion covers, change them over and throw some out.’ Result – room has a new lease of life.
Conclusion – Add different options every week, just don’t give up and you will find that you make things happen by taking a hand in your own happiness.
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