Bobby McFerrin wasn’t exactly right about what it took.
McFerrin famously sang that the world should “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It’s a wonderful, catchy tune that will never not make me happy.
As tempting as it might be to think that only by throwing away our worries we will reach that happiness we so long to achieve, it’s a false hope. Happiness takes work.
Thanks to the good people who publicize his work, I’m back with the second half of Henry S. Miller’s month-by-month suggestions for making yourself happy. Miller, author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive, can be found on the web at www.millergroup.com. For now, here he is speaking just to you dudes.
July: A Month of Spirituality
Studies have proven that people who have spirituality in their lives – whether it’s their own secular belief system, their own faith, or some organized religion – are happier. We don’t know if it’s because of the fellowship of a caring group of like-thinking folks, or the spiritual beliefs themselves. This month, make a conscious effort to spend some moments each day – perhaps during lunch – repeating to yourself at least one “prayer” or belief you hold.
August: A Month of Health, Fitness, Skill
Summer is a great time to focus on increasing your health and fitness – and on using your skills and abilities to their max. This month, begin some daily fitness regimen (check with your doctor first if needed) – even if it’s only walking. In addition, make a list of your top skills, talents, and abilities and assess if you are using them to their fullest. If not, take one step per day to begin doing so.
September: A Month of Contribution
Making a meaningful contribution to make the planet a better place is one of the longest-lasting, happiness-increasing strategies known. What are you contributing? This month is your chance to decide what difference you’d like to make in the world. Spend a few minutes each day at lunchtime and write down ideas about how you can make a positive difference in the world. At the end of the month, decide on a plan of action – and begin! The world needs you and your contribution!
October: A Month of Savoring
Fall is a season to enjoy the changing foliage in many parts of the world. Consciously spend at least five minutes each day focusing your attention exclusively on something of beauty outside – changing leaves, trees, clouds, sky – something. Five minutes of complete attention to savor the beauty of life around you – each day, every day.
November: A Month of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a powerful, although a slightly more complicated, happiness strategy. We forgive others to make us feel better. This month, examine your life and see if there are any lingering resentments you are holding on to that are holding you back from joy. If so, do two things: First, write the apology letter you would have liked to have received from the person who has wronged you. Second, rise above your desire for revenge, and write your letter of forgiveness to them. No need to mail it, just recall the hurt or violation, write about your feelings. End the letter with your statement of forgiveness. Just this simple act of writing a forgiveness letter can often grant you freedom from your negative thoughts and give you increased happiness.
December: A Month of Generosity
The end of the year is a time for giving – a time to donate your time, your money if you can, your skills, your positive energy, your attention – to others to help make their life a little better. Each day, find one opportunity to give something of yourself to help another – and notice your feelings.
Not exactly sure I’m all there with him on, for instance, July’s suggestion, but, you know. . . What can it hurt? Spend a little time each day doing something different, helping people, maybe reframing a problem so it seems more like a challenge.
Sounds like a challenge I’d like to accept.