This past fall term at SCAD (the Savannah College of Art and Design), where I teach composition to international students, my course topic was happiness studies.
Each week, I introduced a new question, which I told the students had the potential to make them happier–IF they took the time to ask and then answer the question.
Here are the ten questions. I challenge you to ask them to yourself whenever you need a dose of joy.
Dr. Saye’s Top Ten Happiness Questions
1. Just how important is it?
2. Do I realize that I can choose to think a thought that feels better?
3. Why do I sometimes try to control other people? That’s really not my job.
4. What do I see RIGHT NOW that is beautiful?
5. Who has helped me recently?
6. What is a good holiday memory?
7. What do I really, really love?
8. Do I realize that I can take three deep breaths right now and center myself? My breath is my life.
9. Who can I be a blessing to in the next hour or so? How can I do that?
10. Am I paying attention to NOW (and not wasting time regretting the past or worrying about the future)?
I encourage you to print these questions out, put them up some place where you can easily see them, and start asking.
It’s Sunday night. December 28. Three days after the big day. Christmas gifts and meals are opened and eaten.
Just a few more days left in 2014.
Sometimes there’s a bit of a letdown after the glitter is gone.
So … what is there to be Happy About? Especially if you’re alone? Or sick? Or frustrated? Or angry? Or not where you wanna be?
To be honest, I don’t know.
BUT I encourage you to do this: Go on a Gratitude Rampage. Start listing — or just thinking about — what you have to be grateful for as 2014 wanes.
Go ahead — try it. Make a list.
Here’s a tad of mine:
1. Air to breathe.
2. Legs that help me to walk.
3. Imperfect family members.
4. A mind that allows me to think.
7. Collard greens (I just sautéed some for dinner).
12. People who know my name.
14. Roaring laughter.
This list could go on and on.
May peace, joy and love be your portion now and forever!
Gratitude is powerful. Try it and see how it makes you feel.
“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
A couple of days ago I encouraged you to consider, and attend to, the blessings that are in your life. I hope you have taken a brief break from the Christmas rush, and done so.
Here’s my Counting Continued:
6. Sitting Down and Sitting Still for a few minutes.
7. A Christmas Visit with my parents (father–91, mother 87).
8. Sparkly Lights.
9. Appreciating my local Savannah Police. Our police men and women are the first folks we usually call when something goes awry in our homes, neighborhoods and cities.
THANK YOU, BLUE!
10. The ability to see.
11. “Angels We Have Heard on High” sung by Josh Groban.
Are you counting your holiday blessings?
Have you done so this holiday? Blessings come in SO many forms and dressings. I urge you to take a sheet of paper and number your joys. Here is a sampling of mine:
1. I had to miss my seven year-old grandson Daniel’s first piano recital earlier this week. (I was SO frustrated.) Tonight at my family’s early Christmas dinner, I walked in the door and daughter Amy had arranged for Daniel to dress back up in his Calvin Klein suit and play Jingle Bells (as he did at the recital). It melted my heart.
(Okay, I’m not sure about the sunglasses either.)
(Absolute grandfather joy.)
Here’s Daniel at the actual recital:
2. The ability to smell Christmas.
3. Enjoying the power of silly.
4. Hosting a Holiday and Hot Toddy Chili Party Saturday night.
Good buddies Ellie, Jamie and Brennan.
I read “A Cup of Christmas Tea” to the twenty-something guests–and asked them to think about a person important in their upbringing to toast at the end of the story. I urge you to do the same. Who encouraged you along your way?
“Let’s raise a cup of Christmas cheer, to family and loved ones far and near.”
So take a few moments, and with Bing, count your blessings:
5. Tree shadows on a wall during a walk the other night.
What are a few of your Holiday Blessings? Come on, share a few.