The Happiness Recipe – Attitude, Memories, and Authentic Communication
I’ve done an enormous amount of research on happiness over the years and it is a subject I am continually fascinated by. Human beings are already such incredibly complex creatures. Add on the ever-evolving technological and materialistic age we live in, and happiness seems to become more and more elusive. So what can we do to create more bliss in our busy lives? Here are three happiness nuggets I’ve discovered over the years.
Build happy memories
On vacation a few years ago, we packed the kids into the car and drove down to Cape Cod. It was cold, wet and miserable. After a few days the sun broke through the rain clouds, and we headed off to the beach in Chatham. Far off in the distance, we saw a strange black mass. Rocks? What was it? We kept on walking. As we neared that big black mass, we discovered, much to our surprise, a huge group of over two hundred seals playfully lollygagging on a sandbar, one hundred feet in front of us! The kids fell madly in love with the cute, plump baby seals gazing at us with huge, moist brown eyes. We parked ourselves on the beach, sitting in awe of the wonderful scene, enjoying it for hours on end.
Do you think that the kids are happy when I bring up that memory? Absolutely! It lights up their faces (and mine) every time. Do they think about their discarded video games the same way? Heck, no! Memories like that last a lifetime. And it doesn’t have to be cute baby seals. How about a hike in the mountains? Or a trip to the zoo? Happy memories last a lifetime, “stuff “doesn’t.
A great attitude is only one thought away.
How many times have you asked someone at work, at the grocery store, or even friends, “How’s it going,” only to be met with a mumbled, “Not too bad”? I’ve come across plenty of unhappy people, especially in the service industry, to the point where I try to avoid any scowling, grumbling or just plain mean people who seem to be living their lives in a perpetual funk. But there’s a particular lady at my grocery store who always has a bright smile on her face, a cheery hello and will go the extra mile to happily clip out coupons for me! I always try to pass through her cash because she makes my day that much happier. She expresses herself in such an unabashedly joyful manner that I highly doubt she comes into work with that “It’s not going too bad” that we all hear time and time again.
Not going too bad?? That just saddens me. So, choose your mannerisms, body language and words carefully. How about “It’s going great”? Along with a great big smile, of course! You’ll have people doing a quick double take and maybe you’ll even pass your mood along to others. The power of attitude is simply amazing.
Old ladies in Italy probably don’t worship the Internet and have Ipods.
During a trip to Florence, Italy, I peered out my window one morning and was struck by a scene of older Italian ladies amicably chatting together. Adding to the charm was all the washed, white bed sheets flapping on clotheslines over the street the sort of scene out of an old movie. These ladies certainly don’t sit in front of a computer and chat over the Internet! And that’s what’s scary about our supposedly technologically superior culture. It was supposed to bring us closer together. Remember global community and all that jazz? But has it brought us closer together?
We seem to spend more time hunkered down in front of computers or video games, oblivious to our neighbours in our cocoon of electronics and suburbia. Connecting with friends, neighbours and your kids can be deeply satisfying when all the technological clutter is pushed aside. And those connections are the most genuine and will probably be the happiest you have. Those Italian ladies were really enjoying their face-to-face time. Maybe it’s time for a little less e-mail and chat sites and a little more authentic communication in order to reconnect with our humanness. We’ll be that much happier for it.
Let’s make a little happiness recipe.
One brimming cup of ever lasting wonderful memories,
One packed cup of positive attitude,
One overflowing cup of authentic communication.
Makes many delightful servings.
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