Over the last couple of years quite a few people have asked me how happy I am. When I've told them the truth - 10/10 - they have all been genuinely surprised. No one seems to believe that ordinary people with ordinary problems can be 10/10 happy. When I've asked those people, in response, how happy they are, I've been shocked at their answers too. The lowest answers were 5 and 6 out of 10. The average has been around 8 out of 10. Every one of the people I've chatted to has, in my eyes, a really lovely life and a lot to be thankful for. How, then, can they only be 6/10 happy?
I am convinced that we are slowly being brainwashed into thinking that we need 'more' of everything in order to be happy. More money, more sleep, more spare time, more friends, more holidays…. And so it goes on. I think that the media is largely responsible for people's concept of happiness. It also occurs to me that people just interpret the question 'how happy are you?' in different ways.
To me, happiness is a spiritual thing. It has very little to do with anything that I own and is not materially affected by my problems or the anxiety that I occasionally suffer with. When I'm asked how happy I am my answer is always consistent because I don't consider how happy I am that particular day, I answer with my gut feeling of how happy I am, in general, with my life. And that's 10/10.
So, I thought I'd share just a few of the things that make me feel happy. Ten things that make me feel 10/10 happy.
1. Breathing in fresh air. Noticing how warm or cool it feels on my skin, whether it smells of dairy farms or car exhausts, and allowing my lungs to fill.
2. Sunlight. Whether it's blinding sunshine on a hot summer day or a small patch of sunlight on the kitchen floor, it never fails to lift my heart.
3. The way my dog's mouth relaxes when she sleeps to reveal a row of tiny white front teeth. She looks like she's smiling in her dreams.
4. The taste of my first coffee of the day. Always brought to my bedside by my husband (wearing pants and socks - sexy!) every single day.
5. Peace and quiet. I make sure that I have a few minutes alone every day just to be quiet and calm. Sometimes I use that time to knit or sew. Other times I just sit. It is vitally important to my wellbeing.
6. Flowers. Wild flowers, spectacular blooms, supermarket bouquets or weeds… I love them all and always have a jug of something in the kitchen. It is an extra special treat for me to have a posy of flowers by the bed.
7. Laughing. I have a proper big laugh every single day. I find Andrew hilarious, my stepson is funny and I seem to have chosen my friends on their ability to make me laugh. I often laugh at myself even if I'm crying or sulking. I have a close family and we have always laughed together; mum and dad still do.
8. Nature and wildlife. I love animals but am especially fascinated by wildlife and pondlife. I love watching the birds from our conservatory. I love to see rabbits, hedgehogs, foxes and game on my walks around the fields with Andrew and Lizzie. I am a huge fan of Chris Packham and Bill Oddie; they would be on my fantasy dinner guest list.
9. Stretching. I love a good stretch and used to practice yoga for an hour every day. I've let it slip in the past few years and I'm just getting back into it now, using free videos online from Do Yoga With Me (thanks for the recommendation from A Beach Cottage).
10. Hugging. I am a really tactile person and often feel compelled to hug even strangers. I realise that a lot of people don't like their personal space to be invaded so I manage to keep control of it but, man, I hug the life out of Andrew and my family - especially my gorgeous little niece.
I know that my list might sound trite but these are genuinely the things that give me most joy in life. I acknowledge that I am a very accomplished shopper and collector of random things, which obviously gives me pleasure too, but this is a compilation of the stuff that makes my soul properly happy.
Now, with all that said, I've got to press on because Cabbages and Roses are releasing a couple of new dresses tonight and I cannot miss it! Ha! #iloveshallowstufftoo
Have a great weekend.