A Happiness Consultation is a 1 ½ hour session that includes:
1) an evaluation of your happiness levels in various life spheres
2) identifying your areas of strength and of dissatisfaction
3) A personalised plan for improving your overall life satisfaction
Usual cost per session: $85
Special discount rate: $45 for the month of January
You know how to be happy – you’ve done it many times. So why not do it more often?
To make happiness a way of life, you need routines that promote happiness. You can’t sustain physical fitness from one vigorous work-out; nor can you maintain happiness by doing something about it just once.
Happiness-promoting routines include things like:
– Getting enough sleep and nutritious food
– Practising gratitude
– Doing something you’re good at
– Being kind to yourself
– Trying new things
– Making connections with people. This means being genuine in your dealings with shop assistants or strangers, as well as nurturing your relationships with friends and family
– Doing nice things for people
– Doing things you enjoy. This means things you truly enjoy – not just things your partner enjoys or things you’re supposed to like. If you’re not sure what you enjoy, remember what you used to love doing in primary school
– Having beauty in your surroundings
– Laughing and joking
– Spending time in nature
These routines take discipline, especially if you’re not used to them. Happiness is not the same as comfort. You feel happier after you’ve been to the gym, but first you must overcome the inertia that has you lying on your comfortable couch. And it can take just as much discipline to stop working and go and play with the kids.
We experience happiness as a mood state, but it’s a way of being that involves our actions as well as our thoughts and feelings. Get the actions right and the feelings follow (and vice versa).
“Toilet out of order. Please use the floor below.”
On a laundromat washing machine:
“Please remove all your clothes when the light goes out.”
“Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back, or further steps will be taken.”
On a repair shop:
“We can repair anything. (Please knock hard on door – the bell doesn’t work.)”
“If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons.”
A friend of mine (she wishes to remain anonymous, so let’s call her Mary) tells of a kindness she did for a woman from another town whose husband was seriously ill in Waikato Hospital. The poor woman was running herself ragged, with travel and other commitments. The only time she sat still was at her husband’s bedside, which was emotionally draining, if not physically.
Mary knew that what her friend needed was time to just sit and do nothing. So one sunny day she drove her friend to Raglan, furnished her with a box of chocolates and a bottle of low alcohol wine and left her there, saying she’d pick her up in a couple of hours.
Mary’s intuition told her that leaving her friend alone would be more beneficial than spending social time with her. And she was right. Later, her friend said it was the best thing that could have happened at that stressful time in her life.
(PS The husband has now recovered, so there’s another happy ending.)
Some men in a pickup truck drove to a lumber yard. One of the men walked into the office and said, “We need some four-by-twos.”
The clerk asked, “You mean two-by-fours, don’t you?”
The man said, “I’ll go check,” and went back to the truck.
He returned shortly afterwards and said, “Yeah, I meant two-by-fours.”
“All right. How long do you need them?”
The customer paused for a moment and said, “I’d better go check.”
After a while, he returned to the office and said: “A long time. We’re gonna build a house…”
In recent times I’ve heard plenty of stories of people suffering financial crises. One person who was made redundant approached the bank to renegotiate her mortgage, but was told there would be a fee of several thousand dollars. One of her siblings generously paid the amount for her.
Another woman faced losing her home to a mortgagee sale. An auntie dipped into her retirement fund to help keep up the mortgage payments, and loaded up a debit card to help pay her bills.
Isn’t it nice to know that some people are so generous to family members in need!
A woman who lives alone writes:
“My neighbour was doing some work in his garden and noticed water seeping out of the ground along the boundary line. He investigated and found it was a leak in my water pipe. I was out at the time and came home to a note on my door saying what he had found and that he was out buying parts to repair it for me. He then spent about 2 hours fixing it! Very kind and generous.”
My friend Mavis looked out her window the other morning to find her unruly rose bushes had been expertly pruned. It turned out the phantom pruner was Margaret Liddell, who writes the gardening column for Urban Country. Margaret keeps an eye on a number of elderly people’s gardens, and when she sees they need some work, she appears unannounced and tidies them up secretly, like a gardening fairy.
This is truly a labour of love – love of gardens and love of people!
September 1st is Random Acts of Kindness Day! This is a wonderful excuse to be kind to a stranger or do some unexpected favour for a neighbour, friend or workmate.
RAK day was started in New Zealand in 2004 when Josh de Jong sat in a cafe watching an incident of road rage and thought how good it would be if a day was allocated for people to be nice to each other. He and friend Marshall Grey set up the RAK Foundation, aimed at promoting the day and distributing acts of kindness throughout the year.
For a list of possible things you can do on RAK day, visit their website www.rak.co.nz. And if being nice to a random stranger feels awkward, you can download a “You’ve been RAK’d” card to explain your bizarre behaviour.
Don’t forget to email me about any acts of kindness you experience, so that other readers can hear about them too!
Don’t you love being around people with a sense of humour?
Some people seem to have the natural gift of finding something to laugh about, even when things look glum. Being around funny people helps us to take life a little less seriously.
Humour not only lifts our mood – it also changes our perspective. To see the funny side of something, you have to be standing in a different place, figuratively speaking. Instead of feeling stuck or weighed down, you’re like a fly on the wall, able to see what’s going on without being personally affected.
Comedy acts often centre around situations that are very familiar to us – the more we recognise the situation, the more we laugh. Humour has us seeing these situations from a new angle. Often what we’re really laughing at is ourselves and our human foibles.
Humour is infectious, which is why we love being around funny people. So if you don’t have a comedian in your midst, try watching funny movies or reading jokes – and become a joy germ yourself.