Being happy for 100 days

Author:   |   Date: 24/06/2014   |   Categories: Mindfulness

I have just completed a challenge - #100HappyDays.

Each day for 100 days I posted a photo on Facebook on something that made me happy. 

It ranged from preparing and sharing good meals with friends, a couple of wins at work, enjoying wonderful films and works of arts, and being in beautiful places.  It included time with my husband and family, time alone and some self-indulgence. Occasionally it was being reminded that there are many people who are working to express values of fairness and compassion in the world.

I took photos of the dog, freshly dyed purple pyjamas, vases of lilies and tulips, some flying wolves and a dodgy looking but very yummy Diplomat Cake. There were the times when I was just happy to be home when it was raining or out when it was sunny. It was being brought Panadol when I was lying on the couch with a headache or making a pitcher of pineapple juice and soda when I was thirsty. It was baking bread, reading books, watching television, learning something new. It was conversations and lovely messages. It was great fun.

As well as taking and finding images, the sharing has been a way to connect with friends and family, especially my niece and sister-in-law who have been on the journey with me.  It’s been a chance to play long-distance with them, as well as a daily practice of self-reflection, reminding me of what I have in the world.

Today is the 100th day and I thought I should make sure I go out with a bang – do something spectacular. But so far it has been a fairly normal Sunday.  Slept in, read the papers in bed, washed the dog, made pizza for lunch, and even doing some work in preparation of the week ahead.  Later today I will make up the bed with clean sheets, go to the park, and maybe make some soup. There is really nothing more I want to do or have right now. 

My experience of happiness is no longer as a goal in life, but a normal way of being.  Happiness includes moments of laughter and joy, as well as gratitude, calm and connection.

And being in that place makes me truly very happy.  

Apparently the majority (over 70%) of participants do not complete 100 days, claiming they do not have time. That seems a shame, yet sometimes we are not ready for change, are not in the right “headspace” or do not have the support we need.  Sometimes we also have an expectation or fixed goal in mind and are disappointed when we do not get it. We lose faith and give up.  

I had no idea what to expect from the challenge, and was curious to go on the journey. 

The project has given me a daily practice of appreciating the moment and what I have in my life.   Instead of seeking what makes me happy and craving that, I can appreciate what is and be satisfied at any time. It has helped to quieten that striving, searching, often frustrated and restless part of myself that always wants to move on and reach the next goal.  It has allowed me to be more patient with myself, working consistently on some other projects, taking each step at a time.  

The best part is that this change only took me a few minutes each day, doing something easy and fun, being generous with my time, and keeping to my commitment to do my posts each day for 100 days.  I was also fortunate to have the support of friends and family, who “liked” and commented on my posts, a small affirmation each day.

Sometimes change is not a major upheaval or struggle.  It is not spending lots of money, disrupting your and others routines, or taking stressful risks.  It is doing something small and sustainable each day, over time that shifts the way you feel and therefore how you see the world. 

There are many simple ways you can create change write now: meditation and mindfulness practices, keeping a gratitude journal, eating one meal a day without distractions, doing a random act of kindness for a stranger or friend.  There are websites and books to support you in these changes, online challenges where you can buddy up and get support. 

If it sounds like fun and something you would enjoy, why not give it a go. Gently challenge yourself or give yourself permission to try something new. See what comes up from doing one little thing a day that opens the door to something you want in life.

We have very little to lose.

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