A few months ago I came across the Secret Society of Happy People. They have a blog and a recent post talked about 'Taken for Granted Happiness'. It's a short post with a simple message but I thought it was a good one to think about. It reminds us that as much as we might be dealing with 'chaos' in our lives; in the form of jobs we don't enjoy, people who rub us up the wrong way, sad things that occur to us and our loved ones and other challenging situations....amidst all of that are lots of happy moments we take for granted and don't stop to think about. The article suggests if we counted all these taken for granted happy moments in any given day, they are likely to far outweigh the chaotic ones.
So what kind of pleasant experiences are we taking for granted? The post suggests the following:
breathing, walking, running, thinking new thoughts, laughing, seeing a sunrise and the full moon, hearing words, songs, and birds chirping, the feel of a hot shower or hug, feeling–even when the feelings aren’t so happy, and especially when they are happy.
These might seem pretty basic but not when you imagine what it must be like not to experience any of those things listed. I'm sure we can all think of lots more examples. I know my husband's very good at pointing out the bright side of things to me any time I'm having a bit of a moan or a mope about my day! Once you do focus on the easily forgotten happy moments, you often start to realise how good you've really got it.
Today's been a bit of a tiring day for me. My son has hand, foot and mouth disease (such a nasty-sounding name for a fairly harmless virus) and is naturally feeling miserable. Unfortunately, that makes the day a little harder for me. He's not interested in playing. He cries lots and the only way to placate him is to go out for a long walk or read to him. Whilst both those things are pleasant activities, at some point, it would be nice to sit for a few minutes out of the day and have a quiet cup of tea or be able to prepare my son's lunch without constant loud crying. His naps are all messed up and brief at the best of times, which means I haven't had a moment to do anything around the house. I feel like everywhere's a mess and needs a good clean but I feel ready for bed and all out of energy by the time my son goes to bed.
However, if I stop to think about the happy moments in the day that I've taken for granted, I realise there's not much to really moan about after all. I got outside a lot and so was able to enjoy the sun on my face, see the trees and flowers in bloom, watch lots of happy children running around in the park, had a nice chat with my mum....and despite all the general upset, I did get a few sweet smiles from my son and even managed to get a laugh out of him a couple of times.
Next time you've had a tough day or are feeling like you're dealing with a particular kind of chaos in your life, try to take a minute to think back on some happy moments you've taken for granted during the day. I'm not suggesting it will melt away any anxiety, stress or upset, but I do think it's a good exercise to get things into perspective and to remind ourselves of those little things we have to smile about. What happy moments can you think of from today that you've taken for granted?