happy list

Months ago, I was feeling a bit lost and a bit blue. It could have been the weather, the circumstances, or any number of things. But, I knew I had to make a change and turn my mood around. I started with an epic gratitude list. Which was incredibly helpful. I came out of that feeling like the luckiest person alive.

And then, I got to thinking….is a happiness list the same as a gratitude list? Well, yes and no.

While gratitude and happiness go hand in hand, there are subtle differences. I am surely grateful for the things that make me happy. But gratitude is all the ways you feel blessed, while happiness has more to do with your fulfillment and satisfaction.

My Happiness List

So, without further prompting, I made a “happy list” to see what truly brings me the most joy. Here are the top 25. What do you think? Do these bring you joy too?

  1. Producing work that others find useful – when you can be helpful it’s the best feeling.
  2. Long walks in the park – especially amongst the trees.
  3. A good book – when you just can’t seem to put it down.
  4. Accomplishing a goal you really wanted – such a feeling of fulfillment.
  5. When a child gives you a hug.
  6. Providing something for your family you could not before. Better food. Cooler experiences. Anything.
  7. Long and deep conversations with someone you love. When hours pass and you have no idea how time went that fast.
  8. Time alone – when you have three kids, this is not always easy!
  9. Positive feedback on a work project – the acknowledgment that you’re doing a good job.
  10. Purpose and meaning in life – the spice of life.
  11. Homemade buttered popcorn – food can bring happiness!
  12. Building a life-changing habit. When you know this habit will make a long term change into your health and wellbeing.
  13. Date night – time with your partner is essential to your happiness.
  14. Family night – time with family members is too.
  15. Cuddling in bed – the power of touch.
  16. Progress on anything that matters to you. Progress gives us motivation and direction.
  17. Vacations. Studies show that vacations make us happier than material goods.
  18. Pizza night – yummy!
  19. Rainbows. When nature’s beauty comes to life.
  20. The sound of a soothing rain shower. The BEST sound on Earth.
  21. Ice cream on a hot day. It always hits the spot.
  22. Watching your kids do the right thing. It’s not always easy to watch your kids in this kind of situation, but the pride that comes out of it is enormous.
  23. Coming up with an awesome idea. Whether it strikes suddenly or in the middle of a brainstorming session, it makes you feel like king or queen of the world.
  24. Meditation or silence. Especially the stillness of early morning or late night.
  25. Getting great news that was unexpected. Always a nice, incredibly pleasant surprise.

What’s on Your List?

Do you have the same things on your list? I challenge you to make a top 10 list now. You might be surprised at what is on it!

I found that while I’m motivated to work for many hours, at the end of the day what’s on my list has more to do with my family than my work. This is always a gentle reminder that I need to be making more space for them and spend less time working. (Not that meaningful work isn’t important too, it’s just perspective!)

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”

Dalai Lama

Once you have your list in hand, schedule in at least a few of these activities for your coming week. After all, if our main purpose in life is to be happy, then shouldn’t we spend more time doing things that bring that to us?

It’s a no-brainer, I think.