by Deb Bosch

Happiness is something most of us are in search of and never seem to have enough of. We all want to be happy. We often think we can find happiness from things. We buy things because we say they make us happy, or we think,

“We’d be happy if…”

If you’ve tried that, you’ve probably experienced that initial high from getting something new. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last, and after awhile we think we need something else to make us happy and the cycle continues.

If you stop and think about a time you felt happy, what was happening at that time? Were you with someone whose company you enjoyed? Did you receive good news such as you got the job, the raise, or maybe medical results showed good health? Too bad we don’t have DVRs or Netflix to watch our lives and make a list of times we’ve been happy in the past. But, even if we could, we still couldn’t recapture those times because they were moments, not days, weeks, or years, but moments.

Happiness comes and goes in our lives. We can’t hang onto it when we experience it, but we can create it. Many people say they “wish” they were happy or happier, but wishing rarely gives us what we want. We have to take action.

If taking a couple minutes in the morning to listen to the birds makes you happy, then it’s important to do that some mornings. If a bath, a good book, a certain song, a piece of Dove chocolate, or just putting your feet up after a long day makes you happy, it’s important to add some of those things into your life daily.

By now, you’ve probably started thinking of things you enjoy doing, so what’s stopping you from doing them? Often, it’s not that we don’t know what things make us happy, it’s that we don’t make time to do them. We feel selfish reading a book, taking a longer bath, or just relaxing. In other words, we think that we don’t DESERVE to be happy. Of course, our friends and family all deserve happiness but we don’t.

Does seeing that in print help highlight how illogical that statement is? We’d never tell someone we love they don’t deserve happiness, yet we indirectly convince ourselves it’s true. The challenge is to identify the things we enjoy and give ourselves permission to do it.

Nathaniel Branden, PhD, wrote the article, “Creating Happiness.” In it, he comments how his wife appeared happy despite having faced adversities. When he asked her what her secret was, she explained she chooses to be happy! Imagine that — happiness is ours for the choosing!

Choose to enjoy that first sip of coffee in the morning, or the green lights, clean sheets, or whatever happens in your daily life, and if nothing is happening, then it’s time to create some happiness. That’s probably where the saying “Stop and smell the roses” came from.

Deb Bosch is a Clinical Social Worker who practices at Chambers & Blohm Psychological Services in Bismarck. Deb enjoys the outdoors and looks forward to seeing Canadian Geese taking up residence in her yard each spring and summer. She can see retirement on her horizon and is looking forward to spending time with her retired husband and doing more of the things that make her happy.