That got me thinking. What makes people happy?
This 1970s embroidery sampler that hangs in my hallway offers some ideas.
Thanks to University of California professor Sonja Lyubomirsky there’s a list of things happy people have in common.
1. They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.
2. They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.
3. They are often the first to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby.
4. They practice optimism when imagining their futures.
5. They savor life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment.
6. They make physical exercise a weekly and even daily habit.
7. They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions.
8. The happiest people do have stresses, crises, and even tragedies. Their secret weapon is the poise and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge.
Then I wondered can the things on her list become habits.
In a 2014 TIME article, Eric Barker suggests we schedule most of our life – doctor appointments, hair appointments, Sundays for church. Why not schedule happiness?
Specifically, he proposes we should make happy things part of our routine, part of our schedule and our lives.
I decided to test his theory.
Flowers make me happy. I love when spring blooms burst forth like they are beginning to do in our yard these days.
I decided to establish the habit of keeping a vase of fresh flowers on our kitchen table.
After two months, buying a flower bouquet when I did grocery shopping was habit. My vintage celery server on the kitchen table was always filled with flowers.
Now when I come through the backdoor and spot perky blooms or sit down for a meal with cheery flowers, I’m happy. I smile.
Developing a happiness habit worked for me, but then I think Ben Franklin already knew it would.
Franklin proposed the same idea long before Eric Barker wrote his article when he said, “In the beginning, man makes the habit. In the end, habits make the man.”
What makes you happy? Can it become a happiness habit for you?
You can read more of Barker’s article for ideas on happiness habits here.