I started talking about the 31 types of happiness one by one every day and, for those I hadn't already written about before, I naturally wrote a new post. Then it just seemed a good idea to carry on. But as I got into it I wondered both how on earth I was going to come up with something new to say every day and, on closer inspection of the
31 types of happiness poster, how on earth I was going to cover some of the subjects on there. Some of them I'm pretty comfortable with, things like gratitude and kindness and optimism. But how on earth was I going to cover things like 'relief', and never mind that, how on earth was I actually going to choose which one to talk about each day.
Choosing and making decisions is not something I terribly famous for. In fact, my one and only guest post on Tiny Buddha is in deed on the subject of the very opposite: indecision and not knowing what to do**.
But every day of doing this I realise more and more that rather than force the answer, it just sort of trots along of its own accord at some point during the day. Like most decisions we need to make, if I sit down and try to force myself to decide which to cover, nothing happens. All I get is the 'out to lunch' sign my brain has left for me. That and some tumble weed.
This is a really good lesson for me. By lesson I mean something I already know but need repeatedly spelling out for me on an ongoing basis. And I know I'm not alone because of all the amazing feedback I had from the guest post. Turns out many of you are just as rubbish as me when it comes to making, sticking to, believing in and not then regretting decisions...of any description.
So I may know and be able to write about the fact that decision making is not always an active, conscious process but something that has to be left alone to work itself out, quietly at the back of the mind before leaping out onto centre stage yelling "TA DAAAAA!" all of it's own accord. And having that knowledge certainly helps but it doesn't mean it's always that easy just to relax into the process.
So seeing it happen day after day has been really helpful.
It's turned this month of posts into an exciting challenge rather than a chore.
Watching these little ideas just pop up from nowhere and seeing how easy it is to then write about them from the heart rather than force something has been really, interesting.
So really what I'm talking about is 'inspiration'. Every day I'm being 'inspired' by what's happening around me and going from there. The 'planner' in me has had to sit back and relax because inspiration crops up unexpectedly. It can't be planned for. We just have to be open and watching and ready to take what we're given and work with it. It's a bit scary because I'm leaving it to chance. I'm risking no inspiration striking that day. There's always that little worry that I'll be sat starting at the screen at 23.59 tearing my hair out still not knowing what to say. But actually I'm starting to see that as part of the fun.
And do you know what? Even when I started to write this post I absolutely hadn't expected to write about the happiness we get from feeling 'inspired'. I thought I was sitting down to write about relief, the sort of happiness we feel when we're 'relieved'. I guess I was inspired half way through to change tack, and relaxed enough to let that happen.
I thought I was writing about relief because 'relieved' is how I felt when I realised 'choosing' a post subject every day wasn't going to be quite as arduous as I expected. Because 'relieved' is how I always feel when that elusive, agonising decision has finally been made. Because 'relieved' is how I feel when inspiration strikes
And relieved is most definitely how I felt earlier today.
I had been quite upset, sad, uptight, nervous and panicky this morning and it wasn't nice. (It actually popped into my head in the middle of it "how are you going to write a post on happiness later when you've got yourself into this state you stupid woman"...not helpful self talk there). But, when it was resolved, when it went away, when I'd had a cuddle and everything was ok again, I sat down on the side of the bed and I actually felt my shoulders soften, I felt the tension leave my body, I heaved a huge sigh (of relief) not even having realised I'd been holding my breath, and a gentle smile found its way onto my lips.
'Relief' I thought to myself. That's what this is. It may not be as exciting, as rapturous, as joyful, as exuberant as any of the other types of happiness, (mmm, I guess that depends on the 'type' of relief!?). But it sure does feel nice. In that moment I was 'inspired' to write about 'relief'.
And in that moment I was grateful for the 31 types of happiness because, had it not been for having them on my radar every day, I don't think I'd have stopped to notice or appreciate that feeling of relief. I think it's probably a very mundane, underrated type of happiness but one that deserves a big fat mention and one we could all do with appreciating more. It's these day to day simple moments that all add up...but only if we notice them.
So, thank you relief, thank you 31 types of happiness, thank you inspiration.
And thank you Alex for the cuddle.
*Happiness Happens Month is a whole month dedicated to talking about, spreading and inspiring happiness created by The Secret Society of Happy People and celebrated throughout August and I signed up as a Happiness Happens Month Ambassador. For more info have a look here
**You can read my Tiny Buddha post here