In Pursuit of (Daily) Happiness. What’s on Your List?

Cassis, France | IPOM

There are things that bring us all happiness in our lives.

It could be a quiet moment, or a few hours with a really good book. For some it could be a run in the woods, or a call from a good friend. For me, I can always use a good laugh, and luckily there is no lack of that in my life.

I was at the gym this week, doing my thing on the stair master & catching up on some (mindless but wonderful) magazine reading (this is one of my happy places). In this month’s issue of Canadian FASHION, there is a page dedicated to New Year’s Resolutions (after all, ’tis the season). On this page, a few celebrity clothing designers wax about their goals for the coming year.

There was one I read that particularly struck a chord with me (I love those moments).

“I want to create a ‘happy list’ and encourage my daughters to make their own. A happy list is a list of what quickly and easily puts a smile on my face, like a bubble bath. I will make sure to do at least one of those things every day.”

~ Rachel Roy

Tofino - Photo by Niko Pavlo

Photo by Niko Pavlo

An amazing and simple concept, and one that can shockingly fall by the wayside all too easily sometimes. So in my own pursuit of more (happiness, purpose, substance), it strikes me that this all too simple idea simply must factor not just into the bigger picture of life, but into each and every day of my existence (I’ve personally been working on this for a long while).

So, if you’ll oblige, here are 12 things I would add to my daily ‘happy list’ – it amazes to think that these are actually at times hard to do. I’d LOVE to hear what would be on all of yours!

Here goes my 12 daily bits of happiness…

  1. A long run in the cold air
  2. An entire day or evening with my family ~ with all of my technology turned off & tucked away out of sight & out of mind
  3. A long walk with a loved one (or two)
  4. Giving something away
  5. A good meal on a truly hungry stomach
  6. Cooking in the kitchen with a favorite record on
  7. A glass of wine on the couch with my husband (love that guy) with a good record on
  8. An afternoon in the garden with my bare hands in the soil
  9. A hot cup of tea, and a moment to just sit still in the quiet
  10. A hot aromatherapy bubble bath (thanks Rachel)
  11. A few deep breaths
  12. A ride though the city on my old creaky bike (usually with the hubby ~ he makes me wear a helmet when I ride alone)

Tofino - Image by Niko Pavlo

It seems so simple, but really the best things in life really always are. So that’s my list off the top of my head ~ what’s on the top of yours? 🙂

As we move into the final push of the Christmas season, I am struggling to feel as though I really need anything (I really don’t). Everything I really need is already right in front of me, or within me, and I just need to make them happen, every day. To me that is an empowering thought.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic ~ and thanks for reading, as always!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Rejuvenation, Success

64 responses to “In Pursuit of (Daily) Happiness. What’s on Your List?

  1. I, too, am blessed not to need anything for Christmas, even though I know I’ll get some lovely gifts. The entire family will be together for the week of Christmas, a rare blessing on its own. One of my s-i-ls will be there for a few days, another blessing. We are able to afford to have the house (inside) repainted as I get it ready for the market (that’s a blessing) and the three guys who were here for two weeks were not only excellent at their job, but wonderful Christian men who made the time the least chaotic they could. We had a blast and I’ll miss them. 🙂 They’ll miss my cookies and candies!!

    As I gradually clean the floors for the last time and put things back into place, I’m enjoying how marvelous the house looks and thinking about how nice it will be to get our younger daughter from art school on Monday for her Christmas break. I’ll get to meet two online writing friends Monday before coming back, which will also be a treat. I’m having some wonderful pomegranate oolong tea while typing this. And above all, the birthday of my Lord and Savior is on the way.

    Life doesn’t get much better than this.

  2. What a Great Idea – love your list! On the top of my list is spending time with my greatest love someone:) Happy Friday!

  3. Love a happy list it is a second favorite to my life lists 🙂
    1. A cup of hot tea after a morning workout sitting in the back garden with the daily newspaper
    2. A good book that I can get lost in within the first chapter
    3. A quiet walk with my pup – just she and I, allowing my mind completely wander
    4. Yoga – a good practice does the mind & body good
    5. Baking, cooking or kneading bread with some she & him or jack johnson blasting on the stereo
    6. snuggles with my handsome orange kitty Spencer
    7. snuggles with my handsome man Justin
    8. Unstoppable laughing fits with my Sister & Mom
    9. Spending an entire day in my garden, sometimes just speaking spanish to my plants (they like spanish, it makes them grow happy)
    10. Afternoon visits with my Dad in the Den for a 4:00 cup of copy & the afternoon paper

    • Fabulous Heather – a great list! I love the laughs and the nuances of how we love to connect with favorite people in our lives, I can just picture you and your dad in the den – it does my heart good! And snuggles with out handsome men? I’m there! 🙂

  4. Love both yours and Heather’s lists – – why is it that we crave simplicity but often go out of our ways to complicate our lives?

  5. Love this post Shira!

    My happy list looks like this:
    1. A wonderful early morning run while the sun is rising
    2. meditating – and finding the peaceful spot within
    3. a cup of favorite tea with a friend
    4. a table full of friends and family sharing time, conversation, laughter and delicious home cooked food
    5. lighting a candle in the dark
    6. fresh flowers
    7. giving
    8. nature – I live in the most beautiful place in the world
    9. the hummingbirds in my garden
    10. creating
    11. spending time with my kids and feeling endless love for them
    12. a long walk alone or with someone I love
    Thank you my friend 🙂

  6. I have one of these as well. Along with doing activities which have brought me happiness in the past, I try to think of things I am grateful for, which usually makes me feel better about a bad situation.

  7. Ahhh I love the idea of a happy list!!!! Some of mine:

    1. Coffee 😉
    2. Sleeping in
    3. Snuggling
    4. Making someone else smile!

    • I love your list Liz! Starting with coffee – honestly that should really be on the very top of mine too 😉 Everything is better after a cup or two of coffee!

  8. Reblogged this on Run, Nikki, Run and commented:
    Shira always has so many wonderful blogs, but this one, by far, is my favorite – especially as this time of year always makes me want to reflect on how thankful I am for all that I have, even when I sometimes feel like grumbling about life or how I feel about my body.

    I used to be in the habit of doing what I called “Happy Lists,” which I got from my most-favorite blog, “Rockstar Diaries,” and they’ve really fallen to the wayside the past few years.

    But they’ll be back, for sure, now that Shira reminded me there’s ALWAYS something to be happy about.


    • Nikki, this is wonderful and so true! It is easy to get caught up in so many little things that can consume and seem more important than what is really important: safety, gratitude, and taking time for ourselves 🙂 I’m so happy to inspire more ‘happy’ lists out there 🙂 Wonderful!

  9. I’m not nearly a good enough person to have a list of ten things that sound quite so virtuous 😀 (see my latest post for my take on life :D) – but I do like going out for coffee/tea when it’s exceedingly bitter outside! Also, get a new chain!

    • Haha! I love this Nick! Would you believe that chain is not mine? This is one of my favorite pics from my trip to France this summer – an old bike just parked in an alley in Cassis – I don’t even know if this was rideable….from the looks of it not so much? 😉

    • Isn’t it! If my hubby wasn’t such a bike geek I would likely totally let that go 🙂

  10. I loved this post, Shira! It’s the little things in life that bring the most joy! Thank you for helping me refocus on that. I’m going to have to think about my list and blog about it 🙂

  11. Liz

    1. Walking in the woods with my dog. (my little house sits on 8 acres of woods in NW Montana with the mountains of the continental divide to my east)
    2. A morning snuggle with my cat.
    3. Coffee in a dark kitchen with just a few undercounter lights glowing.
    4. Sitting on the front porch or my chair in the sideyard with a cuppa and my dog and cat near.
    5. Sitting in front of the woodstove with a small fire going
    6. Most of the time – my work! (I am fortunate to love what I do and am self-employed working from my home office)
    7. Puttering in the kitchen making anything!
    8. Watching the snow fall.
    9. Snowshoeing in the woods with my dog (is this a repeat of #1?)
    10. Anything, anything quiet, at my home, with my pets.

    I am a happy person, fortunate through opportunity and choice to be living exactly where I choose and doing things I love 95+% of the time.

    My family stopped with the gift thing some years ago. We give when we see something we would like the other to have from us. We spend $$ getting together. My Christmas giving is typically to animal organizations: Morris Foundation, local vet’s “mooch” fund. I had idyllic childhood Christmases and now I often spend the day quietly, talking to family, enjoying memories and making simple food that I love with beautiful music sometimes and sometimes just the silence of the woods.

    Peace and serenity to all!

    • Hi Liz I read this through this morning while enjoying a coffee in my bed – what a wonderful picture you paint of what sounds like a perfectly serene and wonderful life of your choosing – honestly your 95% comment is truly admirable 🙂 I’d love a few of those quiet moments walking in the woods or in the snow with a beloved dog, thank you so much for sharing with all of us!

  12. A Dog With Fleas

    The “Happy List” is the best thing I heard today! Such a simple idea, but one that can bring such goodness and richness into your life. Will need to take a good thought of what I want on my list. A couple I know of 1.) Create new memories everyday with friends and family. 2) Take more photos of these good memories to have for posterity. 3) enjoying the fun in cooking a homemade meal 4.) stress less so I can enjoy my Happy List!! Hope you enjoy your list for the upcoming New Year! They are sound fantastic.

    • Thank you for sharing with us! I love your point about remembering to take pictures for memories – such an important one and one that can easily be missed if we are not aware 🙂

  13. I love this idea. Your list is great and I can say I’d have a few of your ideas on mine. A great meal on a truly empty stomach is at the top for me along with a good run/walk!

  14. lovely lovely post. been MIA lately, but glad i checked in today and read this post! so inspiring! need to create a list of my own now! haha. hope you are doing well! it’s been a while since i’ve just sat and had a cup of tea while enjoying the moment…..warm fuzzies. happy friday!

  15. A happy list…I love it. The first on my list is that I am happy that I stopped by your blog today!

  16. Reblogged this on 365 and commented:
    Creating your very own happy list! Love the idea. I think in some ways trying to document these things can feel quite contrived at times. Surely we should know what simple activities makes us happy and not have to remind ourselves? Well the complete opposite is true for me, when i need my happy list the most its when I am most likely to make poor decisions for myself. Go on try it, I dare you. Maybe just maybe, having an awareness of the simple things we can do for ourselves to make a hard day better may just create a small shift in the world. In times like these the more happiness in the world the better. Lets end our own suffering so we are not inclined to impose our suffering onto others. My love and support goes to those effected by the Connecticut Primary School shootings.
    Love Kylie x

  17. Such a great idea, and from Rachael Ray, no less. My list would have to include time spent at play with my dog. 🙂

  18. Love your list, Shira! Number 2 resonates with me. I get so tired of the tie that binds everyone to their electronic device, so a day like that every once in a while would make me SO happy! 😀

    • Thanks Sarah! It is SO hard to do at times as we are always scared we will ‘miss’ something. The crazy thing is we are usually missing what is right in front of us – and being truly present with loved ones is too important not to make the time for. So glad to share 🙂

  19. So many of yours would be on my happy list. I think we need these things to get us out of the winter dumps!

  20. Merry Christmas….thank you for this list. This post is wonderful. Your blog is so packed with creativity. So inspired, Shira, by this.

  21. This is a great idea! I definitely think this is something I’ll need in my life within the next year! Ah, now to think of the list! 😀

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  23. If only we knew how little we “lacked” and how near our happiness truly is. Thanks for sharing your top ten Shira! It’s lovely to see! Each day one of the things I do is sit in my quiet chair early in the morning and remember things from the day before that I’m grateful for. I’ll write them down and frequently add a little drawing. It’s so easy to be distracted from the blessedness of this life! It takes a kind of vigor. Thank you for the reminder and for this look into your heart.
    xx spree

    • Spree – so true about our lackings – I absolutely love the sound of your morning ritual … a truly simple and aware start to your day, counting blessings and practicing gratitude are so important 🙂 I love that we share that, among other things!

  24. Yours and Heather’s lists are actually perfect- I would steal so many items from them for my own happy list! I would have to add: waking up early, watching the sun come up and listening to the peace and quiet. Honestly nothing makes me happier than slow, easy, lazy mornings 🙂

  25. I think this happy list creating idea will be my first new years resolution! My daughters and I only get 50% of our time together (the other half is spent with daddy) and we often forget to slow down and enjoy the precious moments that are occurring each and every day! Happy holidays to you and your family 🙂

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  27. I love this list. It is such a great idea to remind us what is truly important.

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  29. Oh this is such a lovely list and has inspired me to write my own. Will do that and link back to this post 🙂 Happy Holidays Shira!!

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  31. Fantastic idea.
    1. A sunrise run.
    2. Teaching – especially the first time a student reads his first book, all on his own.
    3. Snuggling with my 7-year old.
    4. Cooking from scratch with fresh local food
    5. Girl’s night out
    6. Walks in nature
    7. The Pacific Ocean
    8. A good book that keeps me reading all night
    9. A hot aromatherapy bath
    10. Laughing with my family
    11. Seeing old friends
    12 Hanging with my best friend

  32. I love this idea! I’m going to write up a list and put it on my fridge, so I always have it in mind. A few that are definitely making the list:

    1. Spooning with my canine roommate first thing in the morning
    2. A good run by the beach
    3. Cuddling with my husband on the couch, after dinner, while watching a good movie
    4. Laughing
    5. Cooking while listening to some of my favorite music

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