I’m not sure that I have a lot to contribute to this topic. When I have thoguht about happiness as a concept, I don’t think it is something that we should reasonably aspire to. It is too ephemeral, too vulnerable to outside forces and events which may or may not be within our control.
I read somewhere that we should not aspire for happiness, but for contentment. I’m afraid I don’t have a lot to offer on this concept either. I’m not sure if it is my life, my personality, the choices I have made, or my mental illness, but I rarely feel true contentment, peace or joy. I’m not even sure if this is fixable. It could just be the way I am wired.
I have tried to work on some things to make myself more contented. One thing that has had some positive effect is an intentional gratitude practice. I have gotten lax in the last little bit, but when I have made it a priority to be grateful for things in my life, I have seen an uptick in positive feelings about my life. This is probably something that I should work at again. I have been in a dark hole for a while, and I hope to start climbing out soon.
I would guess that doing more exercise and improving my diet would likely increase my happiness and contentment. It’s something that I should consider, but anything that feels like a diet is such a minefield for me. I have struggled for a very long time to get to an uneasy peace with my body, and if I have to focus on it in any way that even seems like a diet or an exercise program that is geared to weight loss as the goal, all of my past shame and damage around my appearance from childhood bullying comes rushing back. I don’t want to deal with that. I also tend to fight my schedule and my mental illness, which makes me tired a lot. Its a complicated battle, but I know that making some better food choices and trying to get some relaxed exercise, like just walks, would be good for me. It has been in the past when I have been more intentional about it.
I don’t know if any of this will bring me happiness, but I do know a few things that feel like happiness to me:
- The feeling when I wake up after a good night’s sleep, before the day descends on me.
- My daughter’s smiles, hugs and kisses.
- Cuddles with my dog.
- That first sip of coffee in the morning.
- My rainbow hair
Its not much, but i’ll start there.