In my earlier post I talked about how 40% of our happiness is derived from our daily habits – how we think and act each day. Which means that only 10% is based on our circumstances (the other 50% is genetically inherited). I am excited that this is the case because it means I can control a large part of how happy I feel with the choices I make every day. But to be honest I still find myself trying to change my circumstances because I think it will make me happier.
For example, my husband works long hours and doesn’t see the kids much in the week. He leaves before they get up, and often comes home when they are asleep. I try to support him in this but find it difficult because I fundamentally think it is a crazy way to live. So if I’m having a bad day, I huff and puff and feel resentful and try to come up with grand schemes (lets move to Dorset, lets downsize, lets live in a caravan) to change the situation. But the research implies that I would be better off concentrating on how I think and behave each day rather than blaming the situation for the problem. Maybe how I think is the problem.
If I started to focus more on how lucky I am to have a husband who is very involved with the children and supportive when he is around, and how lucky I am to have a lovely house full of character and charm and a garden the children love playing in (paid for by my hard-working husband), then maybe I would feel luckier and happier.
If I set aside more time to do exercise, yoga or meditation would I be able to cope with the stressful times more easily, and create fewer opportunities for resentment and frustration to creep in?
If my husband and I sat down and worked out a 3-5 year plan would I be able to live more easily with the sacrifices we make now because I know that we are working towards a better future?
If I spent more time with and strengthened the bonds with my friends, family and community would I feel more fulfilled?
Happy people make the most of their situation. They get on with life despite the stresses and disappointments that get thrown at them. They don’t bail out whenever they think the grass is greener.
Maybe changing how I think will help me live a happier life until we work out a way to balance our lifestyle. And then one day when we buy our dream house by the sea, I will have the happy habits in place to truly appreciate it.