June had spent a lot of her life unhappy. Reflecting back there were moments that it was fine to feel that way, for example when her parents got separated, when she was snatched during a shopping trip, and when she was openly harassed in the public.
But there were the other times , too. In high school she did not think that she was as bright as everyone else; she didn’t have branded clothes; her mom dropped her off at school in an old beetle car. Fast forward to college freshman year, the boys had eyes for the others, still everyone was cleverer, still everyone dressed cooler and the prompt queen, for sure it wasn’t June. In her first job out of college, she wasn’t earning money as much as her friends did; her apartment wasn’t cozy; when she looked around there was always something to lament about. Life was so sickening.
Just because she came from a long line of people who have suffered from depression, June quickly assumed that was just who she was – it was just the genes she had been inherited from.
When June was twenty-eight she met her husband. They got married two years later, and three years after that she had her first baby.
Once they had children, her common excuse of “it’s-in-the-genes” didn’t work pretty well for her anymore. That would mean her children were going to be depressed just like her. Though June realize that that still might be the case, she started looking at her unhappiness in a brand new way.
It was something she had to work on herself, for her and for her children.
Over the years many things have helped her to fight depression: organic healthy diet, fitness, invigorating fresh air, friends, church, journaling, adult coloring therapy and supplements. It all helps.
But she has a little secret, too.
It’s a habit that she does every night before bed. By the side of her bed, there lies her daily planner. Having the planner helps her to get her life organized and in control. It covers the things-to-do in a day: the appointment, cooking menu, glasses of water intake, inspirational quote for the day,etc. Not to forget a very special rectangular box space…
Every night June would ask herself this question: ” What are the three things that made me happy today?”
Because she did not have space to write very much, so it seems easy, it only takes her a few minutes to write that. But in those minutes, June replays her day and decides on her happy time. Some days she comes up with answers she expects, and other days she finds herself surprised.
Some days it’s :” my husband kissed me goodnight, ” “kids helped me to set up for dinner,” “laughing with my mother on the line,” “all greens shown on the traffic lights when I was late!”
And some days weren’t easy and it’s ” finally getting to get into bed before 12 midnight,” ” being able to stay calm during a fight with my son,” ” not having to cook dinner tonight.”
You see, the spin on June’s life has changed. She actively seeks the positivity. Every day.
And sometimes, if she has a sour day, she looks back through the carefully compiled planners, reads, and remembers those happy moments in the past.
In fact, she wishes she had begun her happy planner back in high school. Entries might have been :” I don’t need big boobs like the popular chics,”I caught Jazzy C. peeping at me today,” and “I didn’t trip when I went up on stage to give a speech.”
P.S: The simple things can simply be our simple happiness. It does not have to be too far or to hard to get. What are the three things that made you happy today?
Adapted from ” The Happy Book” by Jennifer Quasha in ” Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness”.