What makes you happy?
Updated: Mar 28
Finding happiness in the usual daily moments
I asked myself this question in a moment of my life that I was not feeling very happy or fulfilled. I was working long hours in a stressful project, what made me tired and upset to the point that my mood started annoying my loved ones. The more I complained the worse I felt, and not even yoga or meditation were able to help me interrupting the cycle of bad thoughts that was generating more and more frustration
To start a positive cycle, I needed to step back and understand what makes me happy and why I was not feeling at my best.
Finding my why
I bought the book Find your Why from Simon Sinek, went through the process to find what fulfills me and I learned that the lack of constant learning and intellectual challenge in my project were the problem. The long hours were just 'a plus'. I am also passionate by mentoring and helping others to unlock their potential and I was not doing a lot of that.
Changing the game
Although I couldn't immediately change my work dynamics, I started doing activities that motivated me to be at my best, such as taking Innovation and Product Design classes at Stanford,engaging on mentorship and volunteering programs, and starting Ideas for Divas.
I also identified that if I can keep up with my wellness routine - meditation and exercising in the morning, preparing my healthy meals for the day and yoga in the evening - I am on the right path for happy day.
When starting the first meeting at 6AM and going to sleep at midnight with the computer in my lap, it was hard to stop by the gym. But I realized that I needed at least part of my activities on a daily basis to feel energized and perform better at work. Thus I choose my trade-offs, such as sleeping less to exercise or doing a yoga break in evening to keep working later.
To release the stress, I try to completely disconnect when I am not working. I stopped checking emails at night, first thing in the morning and over the weekend. After some months, I also stopped feeling guilty about it.
As I realized how simple daily activities can influence my humor, I started a gratitude routine and that has helped me to get out of the negative cycle and move into a positive one. I now star my day giving thanks to at least 3 major things in my life (like health, family, home, work), and by the end of the day, I write down in my gratitude journal that made me happy. If I worked out, went to yoga and learned something new, I already have 3 items. I always add the trivial ones because I know that when they are not part of my day, I feel less happy. Even in the not so good days, I don't write anything bad.
Within a couple of weeks of the gratitude routine I started feeling much better, while still working on the same project under the same conditions. As my mood changed, things around me also started changing. I have had opportunities to work on more interesting projects with better work life balance and to keep learning about my favorite topics.
It's not easy to change your state of mind, specially when you are feeling under water and complaining can feel comforting. It takes effort and persistence to start a positive cycle. But once you start, you will only wish you have started earlier.
Divas, what makes you happy and how do you ensure that you have enough of your happiness drops on your daily routine? Add a comment here or tweet @ideasfordivas