Make a list of everything you love. All the things that fill you up, fuel you, excite you, energize you. This is your Happiness List. It may include things like playing with the dog or the kids, having sex with your partner, jumping into a lake, laughing on the phone with a friend, watercoloring or drawing or writing or sketching, cooking, bubble baths, lighting a favorite candle, trying something new, meeting someone interesting. On and on and on your list may go! Fill it all the way up – 50 thing, 75 things, 100 things!
Now. First thing in the morning when you wake up, take a second before launching out of bed. Typically, it is our cortisol that awakens us. Yes, good old fashioned cortisol. The stress hormone. That is why you may feel tightness or anxiety or stress first thing in the morning. Our bodies are cued to use stress hormones in this way. So, recognize how this might show up inside of you. Take a second. And take a breath.
This moment in the morning is ESSENTIAL. This is the moment that can (and will) set the tone for the rest of the day. And here is a little secret…Happiness does not just happen by chance. Nope. It is not because of all the wonder we collect in our lives and the things that happen to us. Happiness is, as you’ve heard, a STATE OF MIND. And the glory of the mind is that it can shift and reshape over time if we are diligent and strengthen essential parts of it.
So there, in that moment upon waking, when cortisol has brought you back from the dead and into this day-lit world once again — this is the moment to use to shape HOW you want to feel.
If happiness is a state of mind like a garden we have in bloom, gratitude is the fertilizer, the sun, and clean water all in one. Gratitude is the muscle we flex on our way toward Happiness Health. Gratitude is a proactive measure, a nurtured feeling that we have to cultivate each day.
So you have your Happiness List. Fertilize it with Gratitude. Start your day thinking of all the things you have in your life and cultivate the feeling itself. Think of the people you have close to you. The home you live in, the cool rug you snagged from the thrift shop, the memories you cherish from a friend. Think of the green leaves outside your window, the air you breathe, the feet and legs and body that takes you from A to Z, the lungs in your chest, the bed you wake up in. The list could very well be endless.
THIS list, the Gratitude List, is what ignites the feeling in the body that supports and fertilizes the Happiness List.
Once you sink into the actual FEELING of Gratitude, look at your Happiness List. Everything on there. Then, look at your daily schedule. This is your effort, your proactive moments, your ability to fuse happiness PURPOSEFULLY into your day. From this infused place of gratitude, schedule in as many items from your Happiness List as possible. Make room for the goodness in your life and make those a priority so as you don’t get distracted by the little monster called Stress who is fueled by spiked cortisol and black negativity.
If you change one thing about your morning routine, let it be this. Change your habits by changing how you think, and ultimately change how you live.
Keep adding to your Happiness List as you discover more ways that light you up. Keep adding to your Gratitude List as your heart and mind continue to expand, seeing more than ever before. Because YES, that is bound to happen.
Give this a shot and let me know how it goes! May you be happy, healthy, and well. And experience Happiness like never before.
A special thanks to The Mentor Podcast for introducing this idea.