A couple of years ago, my idea of happiness usually involved beer, boys, cigarettes, drugs, and greasy bar food. Looking forward to happy hour got me through some tough days at work, unstable relationships, and whatever life “stuff” I was going through. Ironically, though, those happy hours stayed true to the name – the actual happiness usually only lasted about an hour or so – after that, things tended to get a little messy, and I usually woke up the next morning feeling much less than happy.
Well, its 2010 and there’s a new kind of happy hour in town – and it starts at 6:30am! I’ve found a way to jump start my day and keep my happiness going for much longer than an hour. Plus, I can go to this happy hour every day without the associated physical and emotional hangover. Score!
Here’s how my happy hour plays out, as soon as I wake up in the morning. Mine actually goes for longer than an hour, but you can tweak it to work for you and your schedule.
Morning Pages – 20 to 30 minutes of free writing in my journal. I go over what happened yesterday, which clears my mind and sets me up for what I want to accomplish for the day. I write down all my thoughts, no matter how big or small. It’s a great “brain drain” to get rid of any negativity I might be feeling and set my intention for the day ahead.
Meditation – 10 minutes. Directly after my morning pages, I sit for 10 minutes of silent meditation. I started out with 5 minutes daily and recently bumped it up to 10. You can listen to soothing music or a guided meditation, use a mantra, or simply sit and be still. This really sets me up to create more calmness and peace for my day.
Jogging – 30 to 40 minutes. After my meditation, I change clothes and hit the streets. I started out doing 30 minutes daily and I’ve recently bumped it up to 40. During my morning jogs I listen to my favorite music or I take that time to listen to an audiobook. You can substitute jogging for some time at the gym, a yoga or pilates class, weight lifting, or whatever gets your blood pumping. I usually get great moments of clarity or new ideas during these morning jogs.
After these morning activities are done, I’m ready to have the best day ever. The high lingers on through the day. I never thought of myself as a morning person before, but now I can’t imagine not having my morning happy hour.
In short, I’ve found that the right combination of meditation, exercise and journaling can really lift my spirits. I thank my mentor Gabrielle for guiding me towards these activities. For more awesome happiness techniques, pick up her new book, Add More ~ing To Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness.
Whats in your recipe for happiness?
Have fun creating your own personal happy hour. Cheers!