WhatIfWednesday: 13 Items on My Happiness List

Life doesn’t always go your way. Get over it.

You know the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” A cute reminder to channel your positive attitude. But, it sucks as a practical, tactical approach to reversing the negative trend.

When you think about negative experiences, you need to think about how you cope when things don’t go your way. It’s not just the “what” you need to do (make lemonade), but more importantly the “how to” of stopping the negative spirals. Spirals that can lead to paralysis of action, depression or even addiction. Without an approach, you might think you need to continue to eat the lemons.

But clearly there is one. There are actually many. There is always a way out. It may suck. But, there is always a way. It can’t always continue to get worse. You must develop coping mechanisms to recognize and reverse. It effectively stops pressure from turning into stress.

Here’s something that works well for me: A Happiness List.

It’s a list of items I can faithfully turn to for a smile, a belly laugh or a thought-provoking moment – something that creates positive traction. And, I’m not talking about eating a tub of ice cream. These all create positive spirals for me to stop the slide. Here are some go-to items on my Happiness List:

  1. I love to walk in nature.
  2. Get up early and watch the sunrise.
  3. Playing the “nickname game” with Brooklyn (Gassy Paci, Jerko Minerko, Marcus Mustachio).
  4. Tickling Briggs and taking his breath away.
  5. Breathing is always available to me (assuming I’m alive). I feel liberated with a few deep breaths.
  6. Walking my dog, Blake. He always provides me with a simpler way of seeing the world.
  7. Getting lost reading – just about anything.
  8. Watching Jimmy Valvano’s ESPY speech or The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  9. Folding socks. There is something strangely magical about creating order.
  10. Texting my sisters (they are the best of the best and almost always up early).
  11. Playing Pop-a-Shot (and getting the high score).
  12. Calling an old friend just to say, “Hey!”
  13. Asking Rachel how she is going to change the world. She always has the best ideas!

What if you had a Happiness List? What is one item that would be on your list?

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