If you follow us on social media, you know that in October I did my first ever happiness sprint. One big lesson was that happiness is a lifestyle! And I noticed a theme - the things that make me happiest are things that make me slow down and focus on enjoying life in the moment.
To celebrate the end of 2022, I want to share 5 things that brought me joy this year. Some are new things I'm trying, and some are old friends. But I want to keep all of these going in the new year. Keep me honest, people!
1. I started journaling!
I was an English major and have always enjoyed writing. But sometimes knowing where to start is hard! I'm working through the Know Yourself Better journal by Gretchen Rubin's the Happiness Project. I've been writing consistently for 5 days a week. And I must say - the thought-provoking prompts make it so much easier than starting with a blank page! Follow their Instagram
2. I LOVE being outside!
I like my peace and quiet. What better way to get that than by that getting out into nature? When I'm having a bad day, I make it a point to get outside and hike or take some photos. Even a walk around the neighborhood helps in a pinch. The fresh air helps me reset my mind and makes it easier to slow down and observe all the little things around me. I always leave with a fresh perspective. And the giant doggo smiles from Stella don't hurt either!
3. I make it a point to transition from work to home!
When I walk in the door, I know it’s time to reset and disconnect. My mind needs to stop being in work mode and shift to being at home, where I relax. I can't sit still to meditate, but lately I've been doing 30 minutes of yoga when I get home each day. The poses and breathwork give me a place to focus my mind and create a transition between work and life that I didn’t have before. The benefits have been amazing.
4. I need to feed my passion for scuba diving!
We all need to make doing more of what we love a priority, and I love to travel. Especially if there's diving involved. I never feel more relaxed than I do right after a dive. Much like yoga, all the slow breathing creates balance in your brain. And there's something about floating weightlessly with the fish that release tension. It's not like a float spa, though. That would bore me to death! Every time I dive I see at least one badass marine creature I’ve never seen before. This year it was the feather star. Sea turtles are still my favorite thing to see while exploring underwater, though. I love them so much I have a tattoo of one. Sharks are pretty cool, too!
5. Making Others Happy Makes YOU Happy!
While doing the happiness sprint I also read The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor.
One of his tips for creating a happier life is to commit to doing acts of kindness for others. Strong relationships are important, too. So call up an old friend. Drop cookies off to your neighbor. Send a handwritten note to someone letting them know you're thinking of them. It won't just make the other person feel better. It'll make you feel better, too!
In 2023 I'm starting a supper club to have friends over for a homecooked meal every month or two. I'll also be volunteering to photograph shelter dogs to help them get adopted.
What will you be doing next year to make your life a little happier?