I am using Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Interview questions to examine myself. These are her questions and my answers.
1. What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
Keeping a Gratitude List makes me happier. When my thinking turns negative, or I start dwelling on my worry list, adding to this list can turn my attitude around. I love my iPhone that Phillip gave me for Christmas. On it is an application called Gratitude! that I can add to anytime I want. It also serves as a little journal that reminds me of how lovely life is.
2. What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18 years old?
Just because I love God, doesn't mean He makes life easy. I am special to him, a favored child, but the journey has hills and valleys. Life has texture. It's interesting, but there's no cushion.
3. Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your happiness?
If anything gets in the way of my own happiness, it is having expectations of other people's behavior. When I expect certain response's or actions on the part of my husband, children or friends that they don't provide, a downward spiral in my mood begins. When I simply enjoy who they are and what they do provide, life is much happier. My friend, Pam, taught me long ago that the secret to happiness is lowered expectations. The lowered expectations idea applies to my judgement of others, not to my what I want from my own behavior.
4. Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve find very helpful? Or a particular book that has stayed with you?
Stay in the moment! I have situational amnesia about unhappiness in my past. A book that has added to my happiness quotient is The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.
5. Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that adds a lot to their happiness, or detracts a lot from their happiness?
Complaining and criticizing detracts from both their happiness and my happiness. It's like that terrible squeaking that chalk makes on a blackboard. An encouraging word of compassion makes everyone feel happier. Grace is never wasted.
6. Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy – if so, why? If you were unhappy, how did you become happier?
Divorcing my first husband led to a lot of unhappiness on my part. During that time, I continually asked God and my various therapists Why? this was happening to me. I later learned to ask God, "What can my life mean now?" Why? never received an answer. Meaning abundantly gifted me.