If you’ve ever found yourself rifling through the self-help aisle at a bookstore, or sat through a few sessions on Oprah.com, you know there is a shit-ton of advice out there on how to be happy. There’s even a Happiness Project movement, based on the book by Gretchen Rubin that you can start up with friends and follow.
And quite honestly, all that information is pretty freakin’ confusing and contradictory.
For instance, here’s what I’ve gleaned are just some of the things I should be doing on a daily basis to help foster a warm and fuzzy feeling of happiness:
- Get enough sleep,
- But get up early to mediate for 20 minutes a day before everyone else wakes up.
- Take time for myself,
- But be sure to give my kids and husband my undivided, smart phone-free attention.
- Work out or be active every day,
- But don’t overschedule myself.
- Be optimistic and less negative. In other words, stop being such a fucking jerk,
- But don’t be so hard on myself.
- Have an organized home so that the clutter doesn’t interfere with my chi, and clean my sink daily,
- But don’t stress out about squeezing in mundane tasks like cleaning and laundry so that I can spend more quality time with my family.
And don’t you know, my curmudgeony self has tried to cram all of this in to any given day in an effort to put more smiles on my face and hopefully piss off the members of my household less.
The only thing I felt at the end of the day was that I was harboring a multiple personality disorder and a filthy kitchen.
Seriously, how can one person fit all of this crap in to any given day? And still be able to get to bed early enough to wake at the ass crack of dawn to center themselves?
It just seems nearly impossible. Because by my calculations, there just isn’t enough time in my day.
The formula for happiness is pretty subjective. What makes me happy may not make my husband happy, or my neighbor happy, or Jason Bateman happy. Though, maybe Jason Bateman might make my neighbor happy. How do I know?
But in my search for happiness, I’ve learned that it may or may not be achieved by cramming in an hour of meditation, or sweating my ass off on the treadmill while I eat kale in to what seems to be an already packed schedule. But instead, sometimes the key to happiness isn’t doing more, but doing less.
Less holding on to the idea that my house needs to be spotless, and that everyone residing in it needs to have the same standards. Less letting moods fester. Less letting that little voice in my head feed me with insecurity, anxiety and ammunition. Less Flappy Birds.
But, don’t get me wrong. More sweet kisses from the ones I love and pints of Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip ice cream wouldn’t hurt, either.