Vacation…all I ever wanted…
When it comes to creating and sustaining your happiness, does it feel like a vacation or a dead-end job? Do you look at your days only to get to five o’clock or limp along to the weekend. Or to the next paycheck? Does this suck the life out of you and your happiness?
I’m not a fancy person when it comes to time off. I like visiting my extended family and hanging out and talking. We travel to Corpus Christi to go the beach and then go home.
It was simple enough until there were reports of high levels of flesh eating bacteria in the ocean. Ack. My mind went into overdrive. Instead of worrying about my kids eating Hot Funyuns for breakfast or if I had brought along my small pharmacy in my purse of Advil, Tylenol, and Band Aids to cure any unforeseen aches or injuries, now I had to entertain new thoughts.
Would my scraped and scrappy, bug bitten children get infected with the flesh eating bacteria and come back looking like they were auditioning for the munchkin version of Walking Dead?
Needless to say we skipped the beach. And went to the world aquarium.
Now I must mention. I’m not a big fan of crowds. As a sensitive empath, I feel everyone and everything. Seriously. I feel the energy of the man who is pissed at not finding a parking space. I feel the anxiety of the woman who is afraid she doesn’t have enough money at the food court. I feel the impatience of the parent who is about to haul off and swat their child. I felt the excitement and danger of the little girl not being supervised by her parents and about to fall in the stingray pool.
Thank goodness I became aware that I was getting swept up in everything else that wasn’t my happiness. I saw my two crazy babies aged 7 and 5 who were squealing at jellyfish and screaming at sharks. And It hit me, like a hammerhead shark. If I wanted to experience happiness in that moment, then I needed to savor the moment I was in. And it worked out like this…
How to Hold on To Happiness by Savoring
Step 1. START HERE. BE CURIOUS
For me in the midst of this hot crowd of people, I took a few deep breaths to pull myself out of my head. Now, I could become more aware and mindful and witness this beautiful sea life, which I don’t get to see on a daily basis. The blue water in the ginormous tanks with slo-mo fish was as hypnotizing as they were calming. As I scanned the room, I became curious about what made me happy.
For me it was easy. As my kids moved from aquarium to aquarium, their gasps and squeals and wide eyes of discovery reminded me that I get to share their discovery of this life and what it has to offer. I felt the expansion of happiness.
Step 2. THRIVE WITH THE FIVE.
When I was exploring with my sons and husband the pool of stingrays, instead of reaching for my phone to capture the moment, I decided to live it first with all my senses. I noticed the hot windy air and the contrast of the cool water when I carefully dipped two fingers down to touch the back of a small slimy stingray. I heard the voices of my sons as they waited not so patiently for the stingray swim by. I peered in eyes of my husband, and we made crinkly eyes at each other knowing that even after 25 years, this is another good day. I could hold on to happiness in this moment even longer by using all my sense to experience it and be there fully.
Step 3. RETELL IT WELL. RECALL IT ALL.
The last step after finding the moment and savoring it with all your senses is to recall it all and retell it well. Remember this moment at the end of the day. Or share it with your friends or on Facebook or album. Research by Dr. Fred Bryant who is one of the top researchers on the study of happiness shows that people who savor moments received a bigger boost of happiness than those who didn’t or those who found negative moments in happy situations.
At the end of my day, I relived the experience with my sons. I also shared photos with my cousins and my beautiful aunt Armida who is 79 and we reminisced about happy and cherished beach memories from decades past.
If you want to hold on to happiness longer and stronger, then remember to focus on the moment you are in and become curious about what makes you happy. It could be a cup of coffee. Your dog. Your favorite song on the radio. The smell of suntan lotion. Use all your five sense to experience the joy at a deeper multi-sense level.
Feel the heat of your coffee mug. Feel the softness of your dogs fur or listen to the groans and panting as you scratch his belly. Sing loudly to your favorite song. Feel the smooth coolness of your suntan lotion.
And then share them with the world. The people that you love and love you most get joy from your happiness. Give it too them. Broadcast and share your happiness and it will travel a long way. And you will be able to hang on it longer because it will last a lifetime. Yours and beyond. Namaste.