The Secret to Happiness?

What do we *need* to be happy? Well, if you ask Google you get about 7,810,000,000 results! Clearly, this is a question a lot of people want to know the answer too.

And the answers from Google? Well, they are many and varied – you need good mental, physical and emotional health, you need to choose to be happy, meditate, eat well, spend time with friends, exercise, do things you enjoy, listen to music, sleep well, spend time with family, set goals….oh and watch cute animals videos on Instagram…sooo cute! 😀

Over the last few weeks I’ve been away from home my home in Nelson in Auckland. I really struggled in Auckland because after being out of the city for a while, and with values so radically changed now, I just looked around me and didn’t understand city living.

As I ran in the mountains, with the sun setting behind me, making my way to the DOC hut where the next morning I would have breakfast wrapped in a sleeping bag overlooking snow-capped mountains and a deep blue lake, I was so grateful and I got to thinking about what makes me happy and how life has changed in the last few years for me.

Here’s a break down:

  • I consume less, and when I do, I do so thoughtfully. I used to spend a lot of money and time on clothes and make-up and ‘stuff’. Things to make the house look nice, things to make myself look nice!…’things’ to make me happy. While these things brought moments of happiness, the shine soon wore off (literally!) and I was back to searching (buying!) the next thing to make me happy.
  • I adventure more. This has been the most life changing for me. The moments of pure joy I had in Auckland were when I was in nature – Long Bay, Totara Park, Riverhead Forest. Adventuring could be whole blog topic in itself as it encompasses so much more than just the action of getting out. It helps develop self confidence, it enables connection with nature, it is play, fun, purpose and challenge all rolled into one. I might be biased but I think it’s the answer to alll life’s problems 😉
  • I work on my personal development. This has been huge for me. Working on behaviours, thoughts and feelings that have limited me. No-one can do the work except for you! With all the podcasts and audio books around these days you can discover life-changing learning while driving to work or working out!
  • I surround myself with positive friendships. I love my friends and the time we spend together is priceless. We were made to connect, and connecting with other like minded, positive people that inspire me to be better, just makes life better.
  • I have a plan and I put it into action. For so many years I sat paralyzed in pain, fear and unhappiness and the years disappeared and nothing changed. Now, if something doesn’t feel right, I change it, or at least plan to change it in the future. I plan my months, weeks and days. This means that I can enjoy the now knowing that I’m also working towards a better future.

It doesn’t take much these days to make me happy and I don’t need a lot. Some good gear to enable me to do the things I love to do…and here the change, subtle though it is – it’s not the ‘things’ themselves that make me happy, but what those things enable me to do. I love my running shoes because they enable me to go to cool places, with a great pack I can take all the gear I need to enjoy the outdoors.

By taking it back to basics I’ve found more happiness than I ever had when I had all the stuff that I wanted. Simple needs, simple pleasures, massive happiness.

What brings you happiness, and what lessons can you share?

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