Look for those happy moments, and you’ll find them.
If you’re my friend on Facebook, or have followed my blog for the last number of years, you know that I post a daily HAPPY DAY MOMENT.
And now the odometer has rolled around to HDM #2200. Yeah, that’s two thousand two hundred consecutive days of discovering and noticing and being grateful for a happy moment. Yeah, wow. Milestone.
Every day, at some time, I find some moment of gratitude, some moment of “happy.”
This identifying and reporting a Happy Day Moment has become a spiritual practice, a habit…and my super power is believing that we can all find a Happy Day Moment.
I take note of my gratitude for a moment in the day when things are good, or I feel blessed, or I merely remember that I’m alive.
Mostly, the moments are tiny and commonplace, not usually moments of grandeur or enormous successes. They are moments of small human connection, that smile, that morning kiss, or a sudden bit of humor, or a child’s laughter, or the elderly couple holding hands, or the glimpse of a cardinal on a branch, or even a moment of peace during a hectic day.
Throughout the years, however, I’ve noticed that I’m capable of finding happy moments smack in the middle of the tough and painful and hurting moments. The comfort from a friend when I’m sad can be a happy moment, right in the midst of a very hard time. The kindness of someone bringing a cup of coffee when I’ve had a stressful and exhausting day can be a happy moment. The prayers from those who know my heartache can be a happy moment.
Yes, life is still good and there can still be gratitude, even when difficult stuff happens.
This practice doesn’t shield me from the hard times or a denial that dark times will always exist, but acknowledging my “moment” brings me unshakable joy and gratitude for the miracle that is my life.
Becoming aware of a happy day moment takes a personal effort, paying attention to the instances of the blessings of life, shining a spotlight on the small good things.
This year, my friend Shelly Gage decided to look for and find her daily happy moments. She has taken up and run with the #happydaymoment baton on her Facebook page. I’ve read her posts and observed that she has found moments of happy with her husband, her doggies, and her love of reading, running, and Greek’s pizza.
But she’s also found her “happy” moments even in the midst of painful days with migraines or work frustrations.
#HappyDayMoment #8 – the headache finally went away and I could read a little bit.
#HappyDayMoment #25 – walking away from the office knowing that, despite this being the Mondayest Monday I’ve experienced in a long time, I did manage to laugh at some of it with my co-workers. And make funny signs to express our frustrations with humor.
#HappyDayMoment #30 – the right song came on at the right time, prompting me to run a little further.
#HappyDayMoment #35 – a migraine is NOT nice, but the way Maggie and Sally think they can snuggle it away is sweet, as is the way they restrained their barking this afternoon. My head hurt but I could still feel the love.
#HappyDayMoment #41 – finishing an excellent book and discovering there is a sequel.
I asked Shelly about her Happy Day Moment experience:
It is human nature to focus on the negative. If you’ve worked in customer service at all you’ve heard that dire warning about how one unhappy customer will tell at least ten people about his bad experience. If he had a good experience, he might tell three people. Those are long odds for positivity. I wanted to try doing a Happy Day Moment a day in the hopes that I could beat those odds, and start seeing more of the positive. I started on January 1st and, while I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have to think hard to find a moment to share on some days, I made it through the whole month. Sometimes I remembered late, after I’d gone to bed. I could have shrugged it off but I wanted to do this, so instead I reached for my phone and made my post – better late than never.
Did posting a Happy Day Moment once a day for a month turn me into a happy, positive, bubbling person? Of course not – that would require a personality transplant. I don’t do bubbly. What I was working toward (and am still working toward, because I’m not quitting after one month) is trying to see the positive more readily. There are always going to be things that frustrate and upset me, but I hope with practice I will be able to pay more attention to the things that make me happy and less to the ones that don’t.
So, here’s the thing. You can do it, too! You don’t have to wait until the New Year, you can begin your Happy Day Moment ritual anytime. I started April 1, 2010.
The practice will change your life, just as it did for me. And for Shelly.