This past week I shared songs with groups of older adults centered on things that make us happy and bring a smile to our face. As a child, one of my favorite songs was”Happiness” from “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. It lists many simple things that can bring joy. A recent blog titled “Little Known Activities for Finding Happiness” brought this song to my mind. In the blog, Steve Borgman identifies activities for finding happiness: savoring, gratitude, setting goals, reaching out, & practice acts of kindness. For each of those activity areas, here is what I am doing:
Savoring– I set aside a few moments Monday through Friday to look at the beauty of the rising sun. It is the gift I have for waking early on these cold mornings.
Gratitude – I am making an effort to say thank you to the people who do things that positively impact my life. When I’ve had a fun sessions and enjoyed the interplay with the residents, I let them know.
Setting Goals – I take a few minutes each night to write tasks for the next day on a post it note. That keeps me from taking on too much. And, it makes me feel like I’m making progress as I check things off as the day progresses. It also keeps me focused on priorities for that day.
Reaching Out & Practicing Random Acts of Kindness – For me these two items go hand in hand. I try to have the time for a few minutes of conversation with the staff and residents around my sessions. I make an effort to relate to them as individuals with their own strengths and interests. When I drive, I try to be patient and let other cars into the traffic flow. (Yes, there is some traffic in rural Kansas.) Shoveling a path for a neighbor, taking them a loaf of bread, giving food to the community pantry, volunteering at and through my church are all part of my life.
Please enjoy this song from my childhood while you think of what you do to bring happiness to those around you including yourself.