When I’m thinner, then I’ll be happy.
When the kids are older, then I’ll be happy.
If I lose X amount of weight, I’ll be happy.
When we get a new, larger house, then I’ll be happy…..

This is a mistake. Happiness is not a ‘when’ or ‘later’ thing. Its not a destination you reach. It should be a thing you recognise as it happens. It should be part of the journey.
It shouldn’t be a feeling dependant on external, uncontrollable things. It certainly should not be part of a mantra that wishes your life away.
I think the biggest mistake people make is thinking that happiness must be a permanent state of smiles, good temper and a zen like bliss state, instead of part of a natural emotional peak and trough trend that you experience during life.

Happiness, like sadness, like frustration or anger, should be an emotion you gain and pass through on your way through life. I think it is easy to miss when you are happy, many people don’t notice being happy and pass through it without even realising it.
The last couple of years have been tough for me, with the last 12 months being particularly arduous, ending dramatically with an unwanted and unplanned move (more about that later). On paper I have an awful lot to be unhappy about, and I have past experience with that old black dog, depression. However, I am really happy at the moment, and have been for a while.
Whilst many things have changed, I think changing my perspective has been the biggest thing. Measuring the plusses as much as you count the minuses.

Recently, I was inspired by someone to make a ‘Happy List.’
A list of what things make me happy, and since I started making this list, I have found it much easier to recognise when I am cheerful, light of heart, relaxed and amused, in other words, when I am happy. Then I get to savour these things like a fine meal, enjoying the sensation of being happy and allowing it to happen, surrendering to the moment.
What makes you smile, what makes you happy?
My list grows and changes, but to show you what I mean, here is a sample;
My Happy List
– Wearing my ugg boots.
– a cuppa made for me by someone else.
– that sleepy smell of my boys when they are dead to the world.
– any cuddle from my boys.
– Gidget ( my Australian Bulldog) sleeping. She sleeps like a drunk person, with total abandonment.
– A bright ribbon in my hair.
– Wearing odd socks under my work uniform.
– Driving my car.
– Toasted banana bread.

You get the idea.
Starting my happy list has been great for me, allowing me to focus on when I am happy and recognize those moments when they happen. And to allow me the freedom of knowing that these moments WILL happen.
What’s on your happy list?