A mama who “goes beyond” realizes that happiness is not a destination you arrive at somewhere in the distant future when everything finally goes right. She knows that although happiness can sometimes sneak up on us by accident, we can experience it a lot more often if we cultivate it.
How do we do that?
At the risk of sounding overly-simplistic: by indulging in more of what makes us happy and doing less of what doesn’t. We’re very lucky as 21st-century mamas because scientists actually have a pretty good idea of what makes us happy.
And one of the super simple, totally free, scientifically proven ways to make yourself feel happier instantly is by practicing gratitude.
There are lots of tactics for bringing more gratitude into your life such as writing notes to those you wish to thank and writing in a daily gratitude journal. For now, though, you’re going to engage in an even simpler exercise.
Try this now:
In the simplicity exercise, I asked you to make a list of all the things you wanted to say ‘No’ to. In the efficiency exercise, you made a concrete plan to eliminate one of those things and you took the first action step to knock it out.
Now, you’re going to express gratitude for that thing that is no longer serving you.
- If you’re cutting a calendar item, maybe you’re grateful for the way it used to enrich your life, or you’re grateful for the free time that is now going to be in your schedule.
- If you’re cutting clutter, maybe you’re grateful for the generosity of grandparents who bought you the toys that are overwhelming the living room or for the clothes that you enjoyed wearing so much before your body changed with baby #1.
- If you’re cutting a bad habit like, say, looking at your phone too much, maybe you’re grateful that you are able to carry such an amazing piece of technology in your pocket.
You get the idea.
We get to choose the way we experience the world—even the shittiest situation can be flipped around as a reason to say, “I’m so grateful.”
Simpler. More efficient. More joyful.
I hope reading my little manifesto has reminded you that these things are not out of reach for you. It’s just a matter of putting yourself back in the driver’s seat of your life–of moving away from a life you respond to and towards a life that is made up of intentional choices.
I know that it’s possible for you.
Want to dig in a little more?