Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Mantra: Happy Feet, Happy Heart... Thoughts on Cultivating Happiness

After a bit of a rough patch and generally feeling exhausted, I knew I needed take a few steps back, breathe, recharge, refocus and generally refill my 'cup.' This past week, I've made a concerted effort to do what it takes to insert more 'happy vibes' into my life, because I knew I needed it! It's SO easy to get swept away by the rush and stress of life to the point that we forget what truly matters, or forget why we do all these things in the first place. With that, I've been pondering the pursuit of happiness: What does that mean and what does it take to be happy?

I most often associate happiness with running: happy feet = happy heart = happy Kristen. And yes, happiness can absolutely be found in the form of an effortless run in new shoes on a warm day, like I found this past week thanks to a mid-winter heat wave. If only each of those runs could be captured in a bottle and released on race day... Wouldn't that be amazing??
New running shoes (in pink!) + post-run cuddles = happy feet and happy Kristen
Happiness can be also found in the form of a cute puppy... (most) dogs are such a great example of being happy!!
Gosh I love her!
Of course, happiness can be found in the form of delicious food... like this pancake from last weekend :)

But I digress...As someone who used to have a more negative outlook on life, I feel as if I've come a long ways in terms of attitude, perspective, and overall ability to make the most of the suboptimal situations. I used to think that 'being happy' was something that had to be earned and reasoned that success lead to happiness, life circumstances shaped our ability to be happy, or at times, I just was not worthy of it. Now I realize that being happy is something we cultivate, a choice we make and often a byproduct of specific efforts.

I started this past week feeling especially tired, overworked and generally drained. Running on full cylinders can only last so long, so I made a conscious effort to put a smile on my face, scale back and relax more, indulge in doing more of the things I love and get back to that happy place. While the week still featured its share of stress, I forced myself to put it on the back burner for the sake of balance and long-term sustainability. While I had Friday off from work, it took a lot of self-restraint to keep myself from going in for "just an hour." Lucky me, we had a mini-retreat with friends on the schedule this past weekend and it was JUST what I needed.

Happiness in the form of friends, relaxation and exploring new places!
The weekend was perfect in that I was able to catch up with friends I've missed dearly, sleep in late, get outside and explore new and beautiful places and take time to reflect and think. We all define "success" a little differently, and this past weekend success came in the form of being flexible, putting my needs aside for the sake of quality time with others, giving my body what it needed in terms of a mental and physical break and taking time to reflect. After a short, personal yoga session on the deck, I took the time to jot down ways I cultivate happiness in my life... as a reminder for the future when I'm maybe not feeling so optimistic ;)

There you have it, my happy thought for Monday. How do you cultivate happiness?

1 comment:

  1. You can certainly make your own happiness, sure. But most often it is a choice. Setup your life so it is rewarding, satisfying, and balanced, and you'll find the happiness you're after.


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