Look for ways to make your daily life more comfortable. Do you often feel chilly while watching TV? Buy a soft throw. Do you struggle to reach the high shelves in the kitchen? Get a light stepstool. Never bothered to replace the burned-out lightbulb in the closet? Take a minute and put in a new one. Little conveniences can make daily life a lot easier and more pleasant.
Buddhism has eight “auspicious symbols.”
- Golden fish
- Treasure vase
- Conch shell
- Endless knot
- Victory banner
- Wheel of dharma
What are your auspicious symbols? An owl, a dolphin, a sundial, a mug?
Sometimes, we find it hard to rest and relax; we want to be “productive.” If that describes you, take a wider view of what “productive” means. Time spent with your family and friends isn’t wasted. To do a lot of something, you have to allow yourself some time to do nothing.
“When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.”
— Oscar Wilde
- Be wary of bargains, sales, hand-me-downs and giveaways. Do you really need this thing? Or love it? Beware: because of the “endowment effect,” we value things more once we own them. Once that thing enters your home, it will be tough to get it out again.
- Don’t keep excessive amounts of anything. Those glass vases that come from florists. Ketchup packets that come with takeout food. Matchbooks that come from restaurants.
- Find a good destination for your giveaways. It’s easier to let go of things when we know that a person or organization will gladly use them.
- At what time of day do you feel energized? When do you drag?
- Do you like racing from one activity to another, or do you prefer unhurried transitions?
- What activities take up your time but aren’t particularly useful or stimulating?
One of the keys to happiness — perhaps the key to happiness — is strong relationships.
Perhaps you want to call family members more often, volunteer each week, or spend time with friends. Even if you’re busy, carve out time to make some plans with people who mean something to you.
“The least forced and most natural motions of the soul are the most beautiful; the best employments; those that are least strained.”
— Michel de Montaigne
* Passion is better than balance.* Happiness is a choice.
* Do nothing in excess, not even moderation.
The opposite of a profound truth is also true, and often, the search for happiness means embracing both sides of a contradiction. “Begin now” and “Wait.” “Keep an empty shelf” and “Keep a junk drawer.” “Accept myself” and “Expect more from myself.”