I have a really interesting story to share with you today because the ending surprised even me quite a bit! On March 12 I signed up for the 100 happy days challenge. You can learn about why I chose to do so and more about the challenge in this post. I completed the challenge on June 21 and you can check out all 100 of my happy pics on Instagram at #happyqueenflirt.
Here's what's so interesting about the whole experience. When I signed up I knew very clearly what made me happy and though I did notice things daily and had a good gratitude practice I never had a "formal" practice of documenting things that make me happy such as taking the pictures for the challenge. I also had in my mind a couple of pictures I could use just in case I had an off day but really wanted to stay committed to the challenge.
During the whole 100 days I never used a back up picture. Each and every one is from the day (or rarely the previous day) it was taken, often posted right after.
And during those 100 days I never had an off day. I felt great. I was super happy, full of joy, peace, contentment, fun. And many days could have posted multiple pictures but chose to stick with just one.
When I wrapped up on June 21 I felt a bit of relief, like, phew, I did it, I'm glad I did it and now I'm glad it's done.
And then the surprising thing happened. For about a week or so after I had plenty of residual happiness but as I stopped paying attention on-purpose-daily-in-the-moment for the sake of the challenge my happiness dropped off. I'm not saying I got depressed or even really sad, I just sort of started feeling shlumpy, stuck, and just plain meh. I was completely caught off guard - I no longer felt creative, excited, bubbly, etc. I was really stuck in a great, big pile of meh.
As I considered sharing this story with you I realized it was that I had stopped deliberately, in the moment, and during moments all day long paying attention to all those fabulous things that make me happy because I didn't "have" to any more for the challenge. And just this morning while in the shower thinking about this post I decided to create for myself a blank calendar where every day in the moment I can make note of one thing that is a part of my happiness. Like, "hello yoga mat, practicing on you makes me happy" and "thank you super comfy bed, a great night's sleep makes me happy" and "cuddles with my kitty make me happy" and so on.
Just thinking about writing one thing each day immediately caused an elevation in my mood and energy! That realization made me super happy. Because I've experienced what it feels like to focus on happiness on purpose and what it feels like to not I now know how easy it is to get happier, right now in this moment.
When you ask most people what they want out of life, they often say they want to be happy. Do you want to be happy? Are you willing to choose to focus on happiness so that you can feel it? You can take the 100 happy days challenge at any time and if you don't want to do it publicly ask a friend, family member, or someone you trust if you can send them your daily picture to help you stay on track.
On a side note, I'm also signed up for a free UC Berkeley course on the science of happiness, also known as positive psychology. This course will teach you the science behind happiness and how you can raise your happiness level. Check out the info and let me know you signed up for class so we can support each other in being the happy we say we want to be.
I am choosing happy. Are you?
If you enjoyed or were inspired by what you read, please comment below, Like, Share, Pin and Tweet. With Gratitude, Cathy