A Simpler Path to Happiness

Posted by davidjsinger - October 23, 2013 - Be Happy, Family, Friends, Gratitude, Happiness, Minimalism, Organization, Well-Being - 6 Comments

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the happiness secret of experiences, not things. In a similar vein, I share with you enjoy today’s guest post by Cheryl Magyar.

————–

It seems like everyone is talking about happiness these days—trying to define it and searching high and low for it. It often seems like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—elusive.

I only get to see about two rainbows per year on our homestead. What strikes me much more is the halo of the moon—especially when it’s an enormous double halo encompassing much of the sky. That’s something to put a smile on my heart before slipping into bed.

Have you ever noticed that happy people are most definitely smiling while those seemingly frustrated are poker-faced, or worse? After a while, a strongly creased frown is hard to upright. The muscles weaken and the skin no longer lifts upon laughter. Simple joys are harder to find the longer the corners of the mouth move south. It takes work to grin, both inside and out.

Together with my husband and three-year-old daughter, I am discovering what it means to be happy through the act of living lightly upon the earth. The process of simplifying our lives has been the spark, the immense catalyst that we needed to propel us into the realm of joyful living.

We have learned that you can be happy with less when you are continuously grateful for what you have. And chances are good that you have more than you think.

Rather than counting your material things in search of happiness, focus on the intangibles:

  • Don’t count your plates and bowls—savor the flavors and remember all of the wonderful meals you ate off of them.
  • Don’t judge yourself by the number of clothes in your closet—wear what makes you feel good, confident and beautiful; even if you only have just one outfit.
  • Don’t listen to criticism about the small number of toys that your child has—as long as they are loved and cared for, creativity and thoughtful play will take a child far in life.
  • Don’t rely on television for entertainment—get social and play games, hike to a new destination,  or simply discover your own neighborhood, spending time without gadgets and reconnecting with people.

Happiness is seldom found in objects. We find it in experiences, in conversations, and within ourselves. Happiness is where we are at, right in this moment. It all depends on our state of mind. Embrace the art of being happy by discovering it on your own terms.

We need to get past the notion that others seem to find happiness quicker and more easily than we do; to learn that excessive clutter and negative thoughts may be preventing us from growing into a more positive future; that our actions and our thoughts can speak louder than our words. It important to examine what brings us down without dwelling in the hallways and waiting rooms of the past.

We can all learn something about happiness from children: relaxed play and art without deadlines are two wonderful places to start. You can go to a special place by simply watching clouds transform in the sky, by giving them names, by being a little silly, and by just laughing. You can get excited for a steaming mug of tea, whether sipping it alone or with a friend. With little effort you can discover happiness, one smile at a time.

Where are you finding happiness in your daily life? Join the conversation with your comments…

Cheryl Magyar is a sustainable life designer, gluten-free advocate and eco-minimalist. She is a homesteader narrating a blog shared with her poetic husband Roland at handcraftedtravellers. You can sign up for their free newsletter Weekly Ideas for Simplifying Your Life at Home and Away.

  • bagsteve

    Sure I believe what Cheryl is saying is to understand who you are to
    start and not to compare or for look for things that others have to provide satisfaction for yourself.

  • Myra

    Two years ago my husband died. It felt like the happiness had been torn out of the world. I realized how all the tiny interactions during the day gives a person happiness. That act of kindness, a shared joke, and just having somebody there to hear your rants at the end of the day are the true rewards of life.

    I was always a happy person before my husband died and i was determined to find happiness again.

    At first it was hard, but slowly that joke with the checkout person became precious, that laugh with a friend, seeing a co-worker get past a difficult moment. All these tiny things added up. But the main thing i needed was to make note of the good moments and let go of the bad. If i cried and felt miserable for 2 hours that 3 minutes of joy is what I held onto. In time it became 2 hours of happiness and 3 minutes of sadness.

    At first I needed people to give me those moments. Now I can sit quietly on my sofa with my cat at my side look around at my home and say this is good. I am safe, I am healthy, I am loved (cats count), and i am at peace. When you add that all up you have to feel happy.

    We can decide where we put our focus. We can dwell in our negative moments, or rejoice in the millions of tiny moments of happiness that fill our lives.

  • Cheryl

    So glad that you could re-find happiness again after experiencing a painful part of life. You say it all in your last two lines, it is our choice to dwell with negativity or embrace all the things that make us smile – and there are plenty of opportunities in a day to find happiness, from the flames dancing in the fireplace keeping our bodies warm to the steaming mug of coffee that warms our souls. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Cheryl

    First seek happiness within yourself, and others will surely take note, be genuine in your happiness and people will wonder what you have that they don’t.

  • Don

    You are right – so many people are searching high and low for happiness. This was not long ago also – however, I have realized that no one has to search. It is inside every one of us and it’s just a matter of uncovering it or finding it within ourselves!

  • Cheryl

    One can be happy regardless of income, regardless of race, regardless of social status – I believe overcoming these so called “obstacles” is a challenge, but the rewards are well worth it!