Because I’m Happy

BalloonsIt seems fitting to close out 2014 with recognition of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” the most played song on the radio in 2014. It also claimed the top spot on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 songs. You can only feel one thing when you listen to this catchy tune: Happy. How refreshing…Happiness and hope are remembered, not forgotten.

Amidst a chaotic world and turbulent times, it makes me happy to know that there are other people who crave – and encourage – happiness in their lives.

The volumes of research on the topic of happiness include Dr. Michael Fordyce’s happiness increase studies in the 1970s and the creation of the Fordyce Happiness Scale. Dr. Ed Diener of the University of Illinois is one of the most well respected (and cited) psychologists on the topic of subjective well-being. New York Times best selling author Gretchen Rubin has penned several contemporary books on the topic, including The Happiness Project. Today’s research has become more sophisticated. You can even participate in the Track Your Happiness research project that tracks your attitude towards life through your iPhone.

Think of the top ten things that make you happy. How much time do you invest in doing those things that make you happy? It’s time to create your list. It could include simple things. A hug. A conversation. Quiet time. Here’s a peek at my top ten list of the things that make me happy:

  1. My husband, Mark, gives me the freedom to be myself, and that makes me happy.
  2. Cherished conversations with my 94-year old Mom ground me.
  3. A solo walk in the park reminds me that I am part of a larger world.
  4. Quality time with people who I truly care about and who accept me for who I am is time well spent.
  5. Our two rescue cats bring me tremendous joy.
  6. Eating warm, fresh-baked bread (is there anything better?) helps me to stop and savor the flavor.
  7. Challenging, meaningful work keeps me engaged and interested.
  8. Contributing to charitable organizations allows me to help others.
  9. Gardening lets me create a beautiful environment and provides me with much-needed quite time.
  10. Singing out loud to a favorite song when no one else is around, well, that is so freeing.

As 2014 ends and 2015 begins, let me ask you this: What if you could share your happiness with others? What if you could share your support, care, even wealth, with people? You can. Something as simple as a kind word can bring a smile to someone’s face. And seeing that smile will make you feel happy. Speaking of happy…Happy New Year!