Happiness Club meet up – month 6
We’re over halfway now in our Happiness Club journey, entering into the DREAM of GREAT DREAM! What has been lovely is that we’ve all noticed how the things we started our experiment committing too (e.g. giving, relating etc) have dripped through to the subsequent months. So now we’re still giving more, exercising more and so on because they’ve really become part of our daily lives, of who we are. But now we’re starting to try new things and look forward with direction. In this blog I’m going to review our month of Appreciation and Trying Out as well as have a quick chat around the forthcoming month of Direction.
Appreciation – Month 4
In my previous blogs I’ve mentioned that, as a group, we’re a pretty mindful bunch of friends (I know! I’m very lucky!).Even with this in mind, there were still highlights:
I love this title. One of the members explained how she took a minute or two to sit, with her boys, quietly, before leaving the house. We all know how busy we can be, especially in the morning before dashing out to school/work and this helped to create a sense of calm.
I’m not the most natural baker. The kids often want to help out and it can end up being a fine act of balancing the tasks that come with it (“I want to weight that, she did it last time” “Can I whisk now? It’s my turn” etc etc) as well as trying to get the timings right. One particular day, the day after watching the Oprah Winfrey and Jon Kabat-Zinn interview, I was really ‘in the zone’. We had nothing else to do and I slowly, slowly and calmly made caramel shortbread with the children! It’s the first time I have actually genuinely enjoyed baking and plan to do lots more now with the right mindful mindset J
All time is me time
Anyone that has watched my presentation blog will know that this idea, ‘all time is me time’, has been a bit of a revelation for me. During the month of Appreciation it seemed even more apt. I made a real effort to appreciate whatever I was doing; washing up, making tea, working, exercising etc. I felt calm because I just focussed on the job in hand and didn’t think that the point in which they were completed was where I wanted to be, right now was where I wanted to be!
Another club member loves this concept too and feels happier from thinking like this. She’s mentioned it to other friends so it’s having a real knock on effect.
A club member tried to eat mindfully during the month but it felt like quite a struggle. To still make the commitment to the month she changed her view from eating mindfully to mindfully buying the food to eat. This month she bought as much food sourced locally as possible and with the least carbon footprint. She shopped in different stores rather than one main supermarket and she said it really made her think about where the food had come from and appreciate it more!
One of the club members wrote thank you’s at the end of each day J I also do this and it’s such a lovely way to end a day and keep positivity in your heart.
Trying Out – Month 5
This month in our Happiness Club we reviewed what we’d been learning. Some of the highlights are:
Linked to mindful buying, one club member bought new ingredients as a result of trying to buy local food. This meant she’d been trying new recipes and enjoyed this a lot (has had her family).
A club member who hadn’t practiced German since school learnt it again. She actually had a conversation in German with a friend, who put her to the test with various questions. This resulted in a great sense of pride and achievement! I’m tempted to pick my French up again now J
Someone in the club used the month to be really inquisitive about everything!! The best example was at the opticians where she really asked ‘What does that mean?’ ‘Why do my eyes look like that?’ etc and the optician loved it and was really enthusiastic answering her questions and showing her examples! I am sure she brightened up his day.I’m going to show more interested in future!
The bigger picture
I work for a Housing Association and any conferences I attend are usually very finance focussed. During the month I attended a conference about issues surrounding social housing more generally and it was really very interesting! It reignited my fire about why I wanted to work in the sector and helped me to see the bigger picture.
I love flowers! I always like to have fresh flowers in the house and do my best to arrange then in a vase. This month I learnt more about this and my flowers looked brilliant! They lived for almost 3 weeks too because I’d learnt the 30 second rule (when you trim the stems they very quickly seal up again, so you have about 30 seconds to get them in a vase of water otherwise you have to trim them again). I’m sure this is why some bouquets haven’t lasted very long with me but they will from now on J The flowers brought me lots of joy!
I also learnt about hanging baskets! I enjoyed choosing the plants, planting them out and seeing them flourish.
There were some in the group who haven’t really set specific goals for themselves before, or at least in the last few years, because life is busy.So the goals they would work towards are more generally day to day goals. These goals are more based around being aware of what needs doing that day and having a ticklist.Despite this, we had some good discussions around the Direction article.
The proudest goal
Of the group, I think I was the proudest of my goal which I’ve recently met. I used to be very scared of doing a big presentation, to the point where I’d do anything to avoid it (including almost not going for a promotion in work!).I decided about 18 months ago that I would make myself do it! I didn’t want to look back on my life having never faced this fear. After having some resilience training in work I committed to mindfulness and also read ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ by Susan Jeffers. I ended up wanting to do a presentation for the feeling I’d get afterwards. It was worth it! I felt really proud of myself and as if I’d taken control of my life and destiny back.
The challenges of goals
We think that one of the reasons people don’t meet their goals is because they set too many, they set unrealistic timescales and their ‘to-do’ list is just too big! We talked about baby steps and looking at what time we actually have available, and what we could achieve in that time and decided that the goals we set for this month would be small, achievable and enjoyable!
Sticking at it
Ways that we thought we have stuck to goals in the past despite challenges was pure determination, lots of resilience but also by asking for help when it’s needed and lowering our standards. People tend to find it hard to delegate or ask for help because then things won’t be done their way, but actually does that really matter? To the detriment of your own happiness?If we look at the bigger picture it’s often better to ask for help and succeed than stubbornly stick with it and end up unhappy without really achieving anything!
Some of our goals
Here are some of our goals for the month (to be met before our next meeting on the 9th September)
- To learn the name of 5 flowers and how to look after them
- To really focus on having fun with the children in the holidays and let the chores wait!
- To have cleared the allotment and to have planted 3 vegetables
- To sort that file of papers out
- To update my linkedin profile
There will be more, a couple of club members are just thinking what will work best for them!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog. Please do get in touch if you have any comments or questions.