To Increase Happiness, Do MORE of What REALLY Matters to You

(Originally published October 7, 2013)

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On the road trip to Walla Walla, I got great one-on-one time with my girl Katie. We see each other fairly often but usually it’s in a big group setting and we don’t get the chance to just BE with each other and really dig deep and catch up.

Somewhere along the drive our conversation found its way to the question of what we’ve been doing lately in our lives to increase our happiness quotients. Katie mentioned increased mindfulness, which for her has been an increased focus on what TRULY MATTERS to her in her life. She’s taken the time to reflect on what and who is most important to her and she’s gone about prioritizing those people/activities in her life.

This is one of those things that seems so simple—”Duh, of course we all prioritize what’s most important to us.” But if you really look at your life and see what areas you put the most time and effort into, you might realize that you AREN’T prioritizing at all!

If you say your spouse is important to you, can you back that claim up with any action you regularly take to show your spouse how important he/she is to you? Do you make your spouse a top priority or do you always put your relationship in the back seat while you give your time away freely and easily to everyone BUT your spouse?

As Katie snoozed beside me, I used this conversation as a catalyst to ask myself tough questions like:

  • What do I profess is important to me that I give no energy to? (Until about a month ago, one obvious answer for me would have been writing.)
  • What do I deem NOT important and yet I allow it to suck me dry?
  • What dreams have I allowed to go dormant and what small actions can I take to breathe life into them again?
  • In what ways do I prioritize others above myself? Is that adding to my life force or depleting it? Is that adding to what I have to give or am I operating at a deficit because I never put myself first?
  • What are some ways in which I show those who are most important to me that I love them? What are some ways that I show myself that I love me?
  • What’s the ratio of how often I say yes to things versus how often I say no? (This is not a question meant to create self-judgment; it’s merely meant to increase your awareness of where you might be overextending yourself or holding yourself back from new experiences.)

I had 34 hours in a car to think about all of this…and I’m so grateful I did.

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