We all want to be happy, but it is not something that we can expect to come to us without effort or care. Rather, it is something we all need to practice and cultivate. It hinges on our choices, our attitudes and our thoughts.
In the story below, single mom Lily actively cultivates happiness as she goes about her busy day. As you read her story, see if you can spot the different ways she makes herself happy.
As she walks, Lily takes the time, as she always does, to count her blessings and plan her day. Halfway through the walk, she pauses and spends a few minutes simply drinking in the view around her.
Later, once the kids are ready for school, she drives them to the train station. As her son gets out of the car, he realizes that – for the third time in as many weeks – he has forgotten his football boots. Although she is frustrated, Lily fights the urge to scold her son, taking a deep breath instead and promising herself that she will set up some new rules to make sure he is not so forgetful in the future.
Lily then drives 15 minutes to a nearby business park, where she works 5-6 hours each day in an accountancy firm. For three hours, she loses herself in a set of accounts she is preparing for an important client, before leaving the office to meet up with a group of friends at a nearby café, something she does once every week. The gathering is great fun, as it always is, although her closest friend, Evie, has an issue with her son that is worrying her. Lily listens closely to Evie’s concerns and offers what support she can.
After lunch, Lily makes her way back to the office, pausing along the way to buy a cup of coffee for a homeless man she often sees about town.
At 3pm, Lily leaves work and drives to her children’s school, where she helps out for an hour in the Literacy Unit, reading with a student who has learning difficulties. With the kids in tow, she then heads back home. On the way, Lily stops at a convenience store, where she buys her favourite magazine and spends a short time talking with the shopkeeper, smiling and laughing as she does so.
Once she is home, Lily sets her kids up with their homework before meditating for 15 minutes, letting go of the day. She then prepares dinner, watches some television with her kids and then ushers them to bed, where an impromptu pillow fight breaks out.
Once the kids are asleep, Lily curls up on the couch with her magazine. At 10 o’clock she prepares for sleep, promising herself that she will wake early again tomorrow and continue working on her assignment.