How to Schedule Your Own Happiness
How to Schedule
Your Own Happiness
I’ve been reading a lot about the development of habits lately. It’s a topic of frequent discussion in the wellness and business worlds, due to the recent publication of several books on the subject.
I think it’s also due to an increased general pressure we all feel to get the best out of ourselves.
How-to lists on “streamlining” your life or “maximizing efficiency” at home and at work are everywhere these days.
My feelings on this are mixed.
On the one hand, I agree so deeply with the idea of working smarter not harder.
I’m all for developing what we now hear described as “life hacks.”
These practices help us get things done faster, better and ideally with more ease and pleasure—all so we can enjoy the most meaningful, least structured parts of our lives.
But like lots of healthful practices, the desire to streamline everything can become its own kind of pathology—an obsession that distracts from the main point.
If we’re spending all our time trying to hack our lives, when do we have time to live our lives?
Still, one of these easily digestible bullet point life-hack Instagram factoids really caught my eye: “Research shows 40% of happiness is due to intentional activity.”
That made me stop in my tracks.
That really…makes sense.
I’ve written about subtler pathways to living a satisfying life, like engaging in gratitude practice or finding perfection in our so-called imperfections.
I’ve thought (and written) a lot about nuanced perspective shifts that help promote happiness but I’ve never thought about just, you know, penciling it in on the calendar.
If I book dentist appointments, water my indoor plants on Tuesdays and Saturdays and give the dogs their Heartguard every 17th of the month, why not schedule what I’m now calling “happiness dates?”
We know that carving out self-care time is important. (I’ve written about that, too.)
There’s something simple, direct and deliciously practical about gathering all these varied approaches to the activities and practices we know enrich our lives and putting them on your calendar like you would schedule an oil change.
First up for me: outdoor exercise every Sunday morning.
On Sundays, I usually do a workout class, which I also enjoy, but I’ve realized that because I go to that same workout studio during my work week, it bums me out to show up there on the weekend, too.
I want to move my body in a way that feels different. So now, I’m scheduling my own happiness date to exercise outdoors on Sundays.
What dates would you like to make with happiness? Tell us in the comments below.
Elizabeth is a journalist who has been writing about health, beauty and wellness for over 20 years. She lives in Northern New Mexico with her two dogs and several hundred trees, shrubs, bushes and succulents.
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