My Own Personal Happiness Project

I struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I have for many years.

But when I moved north two years ago, my struggle got exponentially worse.

I didn’t know that moving here to Wyoming would cause that.  I didn’t really even think about it.  I just figured I’d be the same me I always was.

And then I experienced what I refer to as the never ending winter.  Oh sure, it does eventually end.  But not for long.  The majority of the year where I live is spent with gray, gloomy skies.  It’s just a fact of life when living here.  And, like I said, I never really thought about it before moving here.

The thing is, when you find yourself in a depression that seems to never go away, even the smallest little frustrations in life cause you to spiral further down.

I’ve spent the past two years on that downward spiral.

I get outside into the sun as much as I can, and I’ve learned that I even have to get outside on the gloomy days.  I take loads of supplements.  But I still struggle.  And I am always working to overcome the way I feel inside.

And now I have come up with another way to help me.  I wanted to share it with you because it may help someone else.

 

 

I’ve decided to create my own personal happiness project.  And I’m doing it through journaling.  I know not everyone enjoys journaling, but what I am talking about doesn’t require pages and pages a day.

I’m sure you are aware of gratitude journaling.  It seems to be all the rage these days to write down what you are thankful for.  It’s a lovely idea, and I am not knocking it at all.  We should always practice gratitude in some way.  But I’m changing gratitude journaling into what I am calling happiness journaling.

Basically, the project I came up with for myself is pretty simple.  I am going to keep my journal near my bed and each morning when I wake up I will write down what makes me feel happy.

 

Happiness vs Gratitude

Happiness is different from gratitude.

I am not writing down what I am thankful for.  Gratitude brings about an entirely different emotional response than happiness.  If you don’t quite know what I mean, here are some examples:

I am grateful for my house.  It is a roof over my head that I feel blessed to have.  But I am not always happy to be here.  I don’t always feel happy in this house.

I am grateful to be able to homeschool my kids.  But I am not always happy doing so.

I am grateful for my amazing husband.  He works hard, he supports our family, he is a kind person.  But I am not always happy to see him.  (relationships are tricky that way)

I am grateful for food on the table.  But I am not always happy with the choices.

And here’s a big one… I’m grateful for social media.  But I am not always happy using it.

Do you see the difference?

 

Happiness Journaling

This morning, I woke up and thought about what made me happy.  My initial happiness came from the sliver of sunlight passing through my bedroom curtains.  It made me feel happy.  And then I smelled my husband’s aftershave.  He was already gone to work, but the smell lingered.  And that smell made me happy.

And when I took a few moments to focus on those happy feelings, I felt better about starting the day.  I felt more alive.  I felt, well, happier.

Those are the things I am writing down.  It’s not paragraph after paragraph, it’s just me jotting down happy things…

 

  • sunlight streaming through the window
  • aftershave in the air

 

Yep, it’s that simple.  No need to elaborate.  And as I go through the day, I can look at that quick journal entry and remind myself of what brought me happiness.  And somehow, it helps.

I don’t know the science behind it, or even if there is science, but it helps.

13 thoughts on “My Own Personal Happiness Project

    1. It’s been really hard. And sometimes I just feel terrible for saying so because this is a beautiful place, a nice town, a friendly atmosphere… but mentally, I just have struggled. A lot. But I keep working on it and focusing on what is good.

      I saw you subscribed… thank you 💕 and thank you for being my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ugh. I am reading through WordPress reader and hit send instead of enter. LOL

    I use Evernote and have some gratitude type stuff in there (questions and such) and also sort of a digital vision board, but not like the traditional ones of stacks of money, houses, whatever. I have “best me” things on there…like my Aunt G’s patience and love that I always saw in her when I was a kid which is profound now that I know what she went through, too. Things like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this idea. Just making a note of things that make you happy in the moment instead of feeling like you have to set aside lots of time to write a long journal entry makes the project seem a lot more manageable so that you are more likely to stick at it long term. I hope you continue to find it helpful.
    My son did a similar thing at school when he was really struggling one year. At the end of the school day his teacher would get him to write down 3 good things that had happened that day on a small post-it note. He would bring that post-it note home and show me and we would stick it in a book to make a collection that he could look back over at home. It helped him stay focused on the happy moments he had every day. It was very simple but helped a great deal.

    I also sympathise with the difficulties you are having in the grey wintery weather. I live in England, where it is often grey and rainy for a lot of the year. I have struggled with symptoms of what the Dr called cyclical depression linked to seretonin imbalance connected to my menstrual cycle. I have been told to seek out the blue sky when I feel low. I have found that even on the greyest of days, getting up early to catch the first daylight, opening the curtains as wide as possible to let in the light throughout the day and getting outside and purposefully looking up at the sky to seek out any blue light has really helped me. I have also found a book helpful called “The Secrets of Seretonin” by Carol Hart which suggests foods to eat when you are feeling low, rhythms of eating and some some exercises that can also help give you a boost.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s a brilliant idea for school children. Imagine if all teachers did something like that… what a boost that could have to kids all over!

      England…. I dream of going there, grey skies and all.

      I will have to look up that book at the library. It sounds like one I’d get help from.

      I like the point you make of catching the first daylight. I’ve noticed that the early morning sun really does have an effect unlike the rest of the day. I guess it sets your rhythm for the day. I also like the reminder to purposefully seek out the blue light.

      Thanks for reading! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for taking the time to reply…. Let’s hope you get to travel to England one day and if you are very lucky the sun might even shine for you while you are here!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a nice idea and I really like that it’s not massively time-consuming as that is often something that puts me off trying to do similar things! I also liked the differentiation between happiness and gratitude journaling. I will definitely be trying this out! x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t do well with winters or numerous gray days either. I think this is such a great idea. Have you read “one thousand gifts” by Ann Voskamp? I know many people feel strongly one way or the other about her writing style. I wrote about my experience with winter in one of my very early blog posts and while I used the word thankful, I would say it was hunting out those moments of happiness. If you’re interested in reading it, here’s the link: https://bedlamanddaisies.com/facing-the-sun/

    Liked by 1 person

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