Why I'm Obsessed with Happiness

Why I'm Obsessed with Happiness

If you look at my Pinterest profile, you'll see this:

 

The first thing I mention is that I'm "obsessed with happiness". I'm not sure how or why I came up with that, but if you analyze the books I read and podcasts I listen to, it's not too far off.

Most recently, I read The Happiness Equation. It's definitely the best book I've read on the topic of happiness this year. It really struck me because it tied happiness together with another topic that I often think about: busyness.

I've wanted to write a blog post for a while about being "busy" -- why I think "I'm too busy" is not a real reason doing or not doing something. I've always held back because, who am I to talk about busyness? The only life that depends on me, is this house plant:

...and you can see how well that's going.

I know many people are legitimately busy, but I also think that the mindset of being busy is a choice. 

In The Happiness Equation, one key tenant of happiness is time and energy. Specifically, where are you spending your time and energy, and how does that align with the things that really light you up.

The author explains how you can look at your week in buckets of time, and it was definitely an "ah-ha" moment for me. 

168 hours in a week = three 56-hour buckets.

Image from The Happiness Equation

Image from The Happiness Equation

If you're like me, your first two buckets might look like this:

  • Sleep 8 hours a night = 56 hours
  • Work = 56 hours per week

That leaves a full 56-hour bucket. I don't know about you, but that seems like a lot of time to me. I really had to think long and hard about what I'm doing during those 56 hours. (Quick side note - if you don't love your work you can see how impactful that can be on your happiness equation. I won't go into that today, but maybe in a future post.)

Yes, we all have obligations and chores that can quickly fill up the last bucket but I think many of us would be hard pressed to say that every hour is dedicated to those types of activites. Think about the time that gets away from you... where can you find a bucket of hours for energy-renewing, happiness-inpsiring activities?  

For me, playing tennis, calling friends/family, and reading are examples of things that create space in my week for me to feel "unbusy" and energized. Maybe for you, it's working on a side business, practicing a new skill, or volunteering. 

I think we can all be a LOT more intentional about our weeks. If you are feeling busy, I think you need to ask yourself what exactly is making you feel busy or like you can't catch up? For me, how much time do I spend watching Snapchat stories, scrolling through Instagram, or mindlessly clicking through email campaigns and reading pointless articles? Probably too many hours of those precious remaining 56. 

Here's an example of something I did this week to prevent time and energy that I knew was being wasted during my work bucket. 

Email.  I'm the Queen of Mark-as-Unread. 

The constant decision fatigue of "should I answer this? should I save it? do I click through now?" was like death by 1000 cuts. Starting last week, I only leave TRULY important emails unread that take more time or consideration. I won't even scan emails that I know will require me to take action unless I'm ready to take action in that moment. 

I made it a point this week to go through every email in my work inbox and either delegate, respond, or file/delete. In my personal gmail, I went through all of the unread that I'd been "saving" and realized that none of them needed to be in that state. I've also been unsubscribing to every email that I don't open. 

Maybe there's something small but impactful that you can do this week to preserve decision energy within your work bucket or a few of your precious free bucket hours.

The last thought I will leave you with today is the other topic from The Happiness Equation that really struck me: the 5 regrets of the dying.

You have probably seen this article before, but have you really thought about it? Are you making the same mistakes? Read the 5 regrets below and take a minute to reflect.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

"Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

I think that's why I'm obsessed with happiness. It is a choice - a choice that you and I get to make every single day. 

I hope you have a happy week,

Julie

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