It’s the start of a New Year and there’s no better time to do a “Happiness Health Check”. Before I started this exercise, I knew things weren’t quite right. Despite having a hubby, career and opportunities many would kill for, I wasn’t jumping out of bed in the morning. That’s not to say I’m unhappy – just so-so. But I want life to be better than that. I want to feel excited, energised and inspired. I want to feel really happy most of the time (the idea of being happy all of the time just freaks me out).
I sat down and thought about the main ingredients that make up my happiness (see list and notes below). A couple of them would probably make everyone’s priority list. However, others are only on my radar because I’m a middle-class, educated woman in her late 20’s living in a developed country…my basic needs (e.g. food and shelter) are well and truly met.
It’ll be interesting to see what makes up people’s “happiness recipes” in different parts of the world, at different ages and at different levels of society. I have a feeling our road trip from Singapore to London will be a bit of an eye-opener.
- Must make more time for friends and family (especially my UK family – need to get over my fear of Skype). Work is an unhealthy #1 priority.
- Have no idea who my neighbours are…or the name of our gardener. My husbandknows their life stories.
- Need to be more passionate with my husband and show him how much I love him (outside of the bedroom).
- Thank God I have great work colleagues, though I can’t remember the last we escaped office for lunch and talked about stuff beyond work.
Personal Development 6.5/10
- Emotional intelligence is seriously lacking. Selfishness, stress and senseless arguments reign supreme.
- Progressing up the corporate ladder at a good pace. Could always be achieving bigger and better things faster.
- Improving my income year-on-year, but spending hasn’t increased. Thanks mum for teaching me not to buy things I don’t need (actually, this mantra has become deeply ingrained my psyche – the thought of spending money on anything terrifies me).
- Need to stop, celebrate and reward myself for kicking goals. Otherwise, why am I working so hard? Argh! But spending money makes me feel so guilty!
- Due to corporate role (10-14 hour days), I live in front of a computer followed by a TV screen. How the heck to people “do it all” and achieve this “balance” nonsense? And, I don’t even have kids!
- Only walk an average of 7000 steps per day. Exercise for 90 mins 1-2 times per week. Need to get a daily routine going.
- Sleep is up and down. In bed for 7-9 hours each night, but feel like I’m slightly awake most of the time. Come at me deep sleep.
- Wouldn’t mind losing 5kg. Hit my mid-20s and learnt what belly fat was. Now it won’t go away.
- Need to look in the mirror and at the scales less. Both have become obsessive habits that do nothing for my self-esteem.
- Mental health could be better. If I improve the other areas of my “happiness recipe”, hopefully my mental state will get better too?
- Feel free to achieve and do almost anything I want (within reason). Aquariansneed freedom like oxygen. Thankfully, I have a tolerant and supportive husband.
- Want to explore and express my true identity, but fear being judged (am I too controversial to be accepted and liked by most?). Wish we lived in a world without fear of being judged. I love the crazies, why can’t everyone else?
- Thanks to my home country and wonderful mum, everything I’ve needed and wanted has been within reach.
- Still feel like I don’t know how the world “really” works – wish I had access to this knowledge.
- Use to be heavily involved in community service. Haven’t for years and miss it. Just need to find the right cause. Would love to be involved in anything that supports women.
- Want to make a different and contribute something unique to the world – it’s just so darn hard these days! Hopefully, a brilliant idea will strike me soon.
I have some work to do. It looks like I’m literally “feeling average” (total = 5/10).
One happiness ingredient I didn’t list was “control”. Yet, they way I live and act, you’d think it was my greatest source of joy. Why am I so addicted to it, when it’s encouraged me to push people away, fear personal growth, obsess over my appearance and focus work, work and more work?
This year, life will be about letting go of control, opening myself up to relationships, and enjoying life’s infinite possibilities. I want to learn more, move more, give more and grow more. I want to make time for unconditional fun.