Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The 10 Steps to Happiness

There is a new tv show starting, or possibly it has already started, called Making Slough Happy or something along those lines. I was reading the page on the BBC website about it where they outline 10 steps to leading a happier lifestyle. Being happy sounds good to me, so I read with interest and thought I would give it a go. This was last week. Over the weekend, I had dreams about arguing with people, didn't sleep well and woke up tired and grumpy - and then yesterday I had a busy day at work, nearly ruined dinner and make a BIG mistake in my knitting and got myself in a right foul mood, so things do not seem to be starting out in the right direction. I think I find having a whole list of things to do EVERY DAY quite stressful and feel a bit of a failure if I don't tick off each and every one. Feeling like a stressed out failure does not seem to be particularly conducive to me being happy, in my opinion, but from small beginnings and all that, so I shall perservere a while longer till I forget about it completely.

So here they are:

1. Plant something and nurture it
I have houseplants. I don't so much nuture them as let them take over, although admittedly they are all tough varieties like cacti, ivy and spiderplants that don't exactly need much looking after. The one thing that I try and try to grow on my kitchen windowsill is parsley but always without longterm success. I've just thrown some in the compost this last week. I still have some seeds, so I'll give it another go.

2. Count your blessings - at least five - at the end of each day
I started out forgetting to do this one completely. However, the last few nights I have said the same things and it could get a bit repetitive, but trying to think of different positive things is hard without resorting to being thankful that the roof doesn't leak and the boiler still works (for now, finger's crossed...)

3. Take time to talk - have an hour-long conversation with a loved one each week
Not a problem. My Mum could talk for England.

4. Phone a friend whom you have not spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up

This is easier said than done, most of my friends whom I don't see on a regular basis anyway are scattered far and wide across the country but I shall make more of an effort to keep in touch.

5. Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it
Hmmm, how to do without gaining a stone or crippling myself financally? Some suggestions have been: bubble baths (doesn't really fit into my helping the environment thinking but one now and then is nice), painting my fingernails, reading a favourite book and listening to a favourite CD. It has also been suggested that my treat could be watching whatever tv I fancied...(see point 9!) This week I have been recording films that are shown during the day to watch later on, as I am aware that there are many many classic films that I've not seen. Today, I have mostly been watching Zulu!

6. Have a good laugh at least once a day
I was given a Gary Larson Off The Wall calendar for Christmas, so this is pretty much sorted. On the rare occasions of it being a cartoon I don't get or find funny, I always have my forum friends to keep me entertained. There are quite often amusing things said at work, but generally that is more a case of laughing at, rather than laughing with, which probably doesn't help with the karmic (is that a word?) nature of this exercise.

7. Get physical - exercise for half an hour three times a week
Exercise. Yes. Well. I'll definitely do some tomorrow...

8. Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger at least once each day
I do this. I start conversations with people in shops. Strangers probably think I'm some kind of loony.

9. Cut your TV viewing by half
In these days of such dire tv shows as Celebrity Singing, Celebrity Mincing, Celebrities on Ice and Celebrity Bullying, this should be quite easy to achieve. However, I do like to knit while the television is on as background noise. I've listened to some audio books before and they were quite entertaining and don't require me to look up from my knitting so this could be a plan. I shall probably also fail to catch any of the program on Slough's happiness too, but this will be by accident rather than deliberate attempt to cut down on viewing time. It is also the Cricket World Cup this month, starting today, so I suspect that my tv viewing will be dominated by this for a while. I don't mind cricket at all, so come on England!! (We're playing our first game against New Zealand on Friday).

10. Spread some kindness - do a good turn for someone every day
I let a lady out of a side street while driving to work this morning and a little voice in my head piped up 'that's that one done for the day'...how bad is that?! I think I might amend this one to whenever the opportunity arises, rather than limiting it to one per day...

Wish me luck and spread a little happiness ;)


Auntie Noo said...

Seems to me that by the time you've finished with the 10 things you've forgotten to just simply smile anyway!! - I was never one for lists!!! Look out the window - see a bird, a cloud, a flower, a raindrop on a spider's web. Smile! - There you go happiness in one easy step!!!! (I can be too simplistic at times but maybe that's a good thing!)

artyfartykat said...

Good luck on your 10 steps! Spreading happiness is a wonderful aim.

Queen Frogger said...

With the chores, just do 1/2 an hour, no more or less, I am tackling my garden like that at the moment and it will get done and I don't feel guilty by doing nothing! Also remember laughter is great and as Auntie Noo said, it is the small things that count!!

Artis-Anne said...

My goodness with a list like that I would be frantically t
rying to remember to do it all :) Happiness is a hard thing to find at times and it can be found in the smallest of things, so I say go for what makes you happy and the the feedback you get from folks you meet will double your happiness.
Oh and I talk to strangers when out too ; it was quite a shock when I first went to London and folks thought I was totally nuts but in Liverpool you could end up going to a party !!

ra said...

I think the thing about talking to and smiling at people is something that you do when you reach "a certain age". I do it too. (sorry if you haven't reached that age yet no intent to insult).