A guide to planning happiness
Aside from my wwoofing duties, which involve about 4-5 hours a day as a kitchen hand, I am free to do as I please.
It was while I was considering how to use this time that I began thinking about happiness and how we make decisions about what we do with our time.
How good are we at choosing what makes us happy?
We falsely believe that we make conscious decisions about how we spend our time and that in making these choices, they are bound to make us happy.
From my experience, that’s not the case. The reality is that our behaviors and habits form and become entrenched, long before we begin to make conscious choices.
Consequently our lives are full of activities driven by instincts or conditioning. That’s when we keep asking ourselves; I should be happier than this, shouldn’t I?
So here’s a new plan for greater happiness.
Happiness is a combination of many feelings and it is the mix of these feelings that is unique for each one of us.
- Imagine a time in your life when you were really happy.
- Take a moment to get really curious about the feelings you experienced. Was it love, connection, gratefulness, fulfillment or even pure joy?
- Then make a list of these feelings.
- Next, write a description for each feeling in a way that captures what that feeling means to you!
- Now you can choose the activities or experiences that will result in the feelings you have listed.
It’s as simple as; know which feelings make up your happiness narrative and then decide what experiences will initiate the desired feelings.
So how does this work for real?
There are a number of feelings within my chosen memory, but what stands out is the feeling of being nurtured.
For me, nurture is about being grounded and spending quality time with people I love. It might also involve nice food and gentle exercise.
Knowing that it is the feeling of being nurtured which brings happiness; I can then make thoughtful decisions about how to spend my time.
For the past few days I have put this plan into practice here at Te Moata. So far, my free time has included taking a daily nap, bathing in the stream, meditation, bush walks and eating great vegetarian food with a lovely bunch of young travellers.
How lucky am I?
PS. This process for planning your happiness is an element of the Happiness Matrix workshop that I recently co-hosted with Keong Wong in Wellington. If you would like to find out more this workshop, which is currently in the testing stage, please leave a comment below.