In pursuit of happiness

I believe that happiness is a state we should all be aiming for, enjoying, and sharing; but what exactly does that mean in reality?

Many of us have been brought up not to put ourselves first, to think of others and that ‘put up and shut up’ is the best strategy. But what of ourselves? You only have to skim the surface of most conversations to hear… hi, how are you… oh, not too bad, mustn’t grumble, well, you know, much the same…etc. Moaning, complaining or just keeping low expectations has become a popular past time.

Now, I’m not suggesting we should all pretend life’s wonderful. That wouldn’t be realistic or even desirable. But when are we going to realise that life is always going to have its fair share of challenges? The status quo is continually changing but all this change is normal. Our problem lies in our expectation and our mental attitude towards life.                                                                         

Let’s take life at its simplist and look at the behaviour of a baby. For the first few weeks they have the basic need for nourishment, warmth and love. If their needs aren’t met they have only one means of communication and that is to cry. They soon learn, however, to copy us. They coo in that adorable way and smile. Then ‘POW’ their world changes rapidly. The more they smile the more positive attention they get. The more positive attention they get the faster they learn and the world starts to make more sense. They develop rapidly, their smiles grow into chuckles and the cooing into gurgles. They love, unconditionally. Babies ooze happiness and spread joy. Change doesn’t bother them. Life’s an adventure and the world their playground.

Happiness is infectious. We learn it as babies, it’s free and when you make someone else feel happy, you know what… you feel happy too. Try it today and we can all make a difference.

5-Minute Challenge

Join me in an experiment this week and let’s see if we, as adults, can duplicate the happiness that babies give out. I’m not suggesting we all start coo-ing and gurgling, but if that’s your thing and it works for you then go for it! This week I want us to smile more and talk more. Here’s the challenge:

– Smile…whilst out and about shopping, at work, collecting children from school smile at people.

– Talk… say something, anything, to people you don’t normally speak to. This may simply be a sentence or two to the shop assistant or waitress; or speaking to someone you usually walk past. Make it an open-ended question so they get a chance to respond should they so wish, and keep it positive.

– Ideas… short of ideas? Well, the weather is an obvious choice at the moment but how about making it more personal and compliment someone on their jewellery, choice of colour, clothes, tidy desk. Or show empathy. I chose the grumpiest looking checkout girl at my local supermarket the other day and got her smiling just because I said ‘ looks as if you’ve got a tough day ahead of you, it’s really busy today. Hope you’ve got something nice planned when you finish’ This showed empathy but with a positive twist.

Let’s collect smiles. Let me know how many you can collect in one day and we’ll spread a little happiness…



To see this and more photos by Michelle Mickelejohn see:″>Image

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