I think January has to be one of the best months of the year. Sure, we are all a little hung-over from the Christmas madness of buying gifts, making stuff, mailing more stuff, decorating, and coming off of a pure sugar high. But it’s also signals the official start of a new year. A time we can close a chapter of our lives and hopefully start over new. Personally last year was a bit rough. (more than actually) But I’m working on not being a “poor me” whiner since things could always be worse. No matter how bad things might look, I know that there are always others who worse off than I am.
Yesterday the hubby and I watched a pbs special on “Happiness”. A two hour special that looked at what is happiness, what makes us happy, what keeps us happy, and the various research to explain all of these areas. It was a pretty good show, I’d recommend it if you are looking for a bit of inspiration. The program looked at traditional science/physiology, self help books/programs, workshops, Buddhist monks, and people who had endured or were enduring something really terrible.
Bottom line as I saw it:
1) The things we think we need to be happy (new purses, crafty supplies etc) only give us a brief bit of happiness. And then we are on our way to our next “fix”.
2) Happy people had a strong faith and a core set of beliefs.
3) People can and do overcome really awful circumstances/events/childhoods etc.
4) and those who are resilient (and have lots of #2) are able to be happy
5) We need strong, positive interconnections with others to help us be happy. Someone to share our experiences with.
6) Happiness is contagious. A Harvard study of a small town over many years found that happiness travels up to 4 degrees of separation.
7) The older we get, the smaller our circle of people gets. And we get happier as we get older. Sweet! Something to look forward to!
But for me, as a Christian woman who struggles with happiness and contentment this really brought home some big ideas I’ve been neglecting. When I’m not happy or content with my life it’s because
I am pushing myself away from God. The closer I am to God-prayer, studying his word, worship, music- the better off I am.
So for this new year, I am working on a closer walk with God. Trying to avoid buying stuff to make me happy, being thankful for what I have, for the blessings I have in my family and friends. I am not going to spend time on projects that I don’t really love. I will not spend time with people who are negative, non-supportive, or are just plain a waste of time. That last may seem harsh but time is precious, why waste it with people who are going to drag you down or who are just shallow! Instead of the traditional resolutions to get organized and lose weight I’m going to work on this:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful
-taking care of myself, my family, my home, my friends