When my husband was in grad school, I was blessed with some great friends. We were all moms of young kids and our husbands were always studying, so we leaned on each other a lot.
One day I was in my friend’s kitchen, and saw some papers on the side of her fridge. Being me, I went over to read them. It was a list of things, with the title “Michelle’s List of Simple Joys.” I totally started laughing. “You need a list to remind you what makes you happy?” I asked her. She just smiled and looked at me, as if she knew something I didn’t.
I’ve always admired this friend of mine; she was the kind of person I wanted to be if ever I “grew up.” What did she know that I didn’t? Was there some kind of magic in this list of hers?
A couple of months ago I was thinking back on this experience. As I was trying to decide what to do when my kids were back in school, I wondered what kinds of things made me happy. So I sat down to make my own list.
It was harder than I thought it would be. I realized I didn’t quite know myself as well as I thought I did. The ideas were slow-coming at first, and some things I wrote down with a question mark beside it, because I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed it or not. I ended up with a pretty good list of things that make me happy.
There are so many benefits to thinking of things that make us happy. This list has been helpful in times when I’ve felt down, and needed a pick me up to help me feel better.
I find that when I’m having an off day, trying to remember good things isn’t super easy. Having that list has helped get my brain moving in a positive direction. I just choose something and then start doing it.
Some of the things are easy – playing the piano, walking in nature, eating chocolate, giving my family hugs. Some are less easy to come by – clean floors, an empty kitchen sink, etc. But I know that spending time doing these things will make me feel better! And they make my life easier. So sometimes I’ll do the things that take longer, knowing that the payoff is coming. But sometimes I just have to eat the chocolate.
What about you? What makes you happy? What are some simple things that make you smile and feel good? Spend a few minutes and think about it. Grab some paper and a pen, and start writing. Then you’ll have a handy, quick resource of things you can do to turn those bad days around.
Turns out, the list really is magical!