There are times in my life that I have allowed circumstance to dictate how I feel. During those moments, I find I am not taking a pro-active position, I am simply reacting to everything around me. I'm like a leaf in the wind. Once I become conscious of my weakening attitude, it is like I attack the dark cloud of discontent like a warrior.
The few times I have confided in my friends that I'm struggling, the comments have ranged from, "I'm so glad to know you're sad. I thought you were always happy," to "You always seem so happy. No one would ever know." That's the hard part for me. I've always believed that no one should know my secret of occasionally not being happy.
There is a part of me that feels threatened by sadness. I feel like it is a weakness on my part if I allow myself to sink into that feeling. So I fight to stay afloat, to remain buoyant, to keep myself from drowning in the whirlpool of the blues.
During a recent bout with a lingering longing for a better mood, I discovered the Happier app. Currently, it's an iPhone app and a website accessible by computer, with an Android app in the works. Happier's co-founder Nataly Kogan is one of the most amazing TED Talks speakers. Her 15 minute video led me to her website, and things just got better from there. Nataly is a Russian-born immigrant who was in search of the American dream. After accumulating wealth, and the stuff of life, she realized that what truly makes us happy isn't the THINGS, it's noticing the little things that make us happier right now.
For me, I have always had a grateful heart. I take joy in the slightest things. Somehow by focusing on finding at least three things that make me happier each day, and recording them on my Happier page, my life started to turn around. Don't get me wrong, my life was never in such a bad spot; it was just in a terrible rut of noticing that I wasn't as happy as I thought I should be. So many things have come together for me in these last few weeks, and I am certain it is because I was no longer trying to figure out what was wrong, I was finally making a conscious effort to discover all of the little things that were going right. I have made some new friends on Happier, and the online community lifts each other up during our less happier times, and celebrates with one another when things are going well.
What a simple concept Happier is. Notice and record at least three things that make you happier each day. You can jot them down on paper, keep a log on your computer, or do what we do, record them online on Happier.com. The wonderful people on Happier just reaffirm to me that there is so much for which to be grateful.
My greatest examples come from those who have so much to lose, the ones for whom daily life is a struggle. There are warriors who are battling dreaded illnesses with valiant hearts and strong spirits. I feel like my soul is fed by their example. I need to be more grateful for the relative ease of my life, and for my good health. I should not take so much for granted.
In January, Happier is offering a "Jumpstart Your Happiness" course. It is $40, for a limited time, for the first 100 people to register. There will be weekly videos, daily reminders, a journal, and several other gifts for signing up. Of course, the Happier app is free, and available to all of us.
During this week of Thanksgiving, I am most grateful for my family, my friends, and my blessings of health, strength, and happiness. If you think you could "up" the happiness factor in your life, you are welcome to join us on Happier. Seeking to recognize the small blessings in our lives can only make us more grateful, and in turn, happier. Happier Holidays to you all.