The Happiness Wheel
I used to believe the adage: if you need something done give it to a busy person. Actually I have changed my mind. I want to change that to: if you want something done give it to a happy person.
I know it’s a cliché, but I do have to say that leaving my ‘real’ job and designing my own life has been a boon. Not that I want to encourage anyone else to throw themselves off the fiscal cliff, I know it’s not for everyone. However, there is something to be said about taking risks – and making happiness choices. Knowing, that I want to look back on my life proud of the risks that I took and happy to own the choices that I made.
So what is the key then? There are a heap of ‘happiness tests’ online that you can take just to make sure you are as happy as you feel (or as sad as you suspect!). I’ve done a few and have not really gained much insight to be honest. There are also plenty of stats to let us know that most people rate family and relationships as the key element in their happiness levels – above everything else. For me that is not the whole story and there has to be a balance. I have one of the best and happiest relationships and family situations that I know of – well, in my social circle. Yet, when I was unhappy in my work, I was gut wrenchingly unhappy and that affected every aspect of my life. So I don’t really go for the idea that if I’m happy at home I will be happy in my whole life. Being unhappy in one thing most definitely influences happiness levels in everything, and can colour every aspect to the point where unhappiness reigns. Unhappiness can sneak up on us unexpectedly and in any aspect of our complex lives. Awareness is key. Self awareness and constant assessment.
A tool called the wheel of life is a useful thing to take a look at and can help with the assessment of the balance: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_93.htm . It’s basically a tool that is useful to measure the elements of your life and how you feel about them. Things like family, relationships, career, money, health, exercise. You can map them out and take a look at how you see yourself right now and then look at how you would like to be – you at your happiest. It’s good to see if there are niggling, bordering on unhappy aspects – and then jump on them and turn them around. Sometimes that means doing something radical like leaving a job or a relationship, other times it might just mean taking a walk around the block, writing that letter or getting that hair cut. Whatever it is, sometimes making the small adjustments can make all the difference. Sometimes the bigger the unhappiness is the harder it is to see, bring to light and begin to change. How are things with your health, your relationship, your friendships, your work. What are the aspects of your life that you value enough to be part of the wheel? Add them in and give them a thoroughly good looking at.
One of the best tools I have found to bring real happiness in and to help move through to happiness decisions is just being present in my life. What if nothing changed? The grass is not always greener. The point is that that grass is someone else’s lawn and will never be mine. Can I feel happy to love my life right here and right now, being totally present with where and who I am right now? When I can say yes to that, then I am able to hospice what I want to let go of and midwife what I want to birth.