1930 – 1945ish – A significant period of anger and frustration whilst I try to deal with HMRC over a problem with my VAT. Let’s just leave it there, shall we?
2000 – Make dinner. I like cooking a lot. I make a Greek salad and take the time to present it nicely in a Moroccan style serving dish (it’s new and very pleasing). Also cook fresh new potatoes from the garden, so I feel a bit proud of that. Preparing dinner doesn’t make me happy per se – but I realise that I’m really ‘in the moment’ when I do it. I don’t think about anything else – just focus on the task at hand whilst listening to Radio 2. That’s got to be good for the soul after a day at work.
2030 – Alex and I decide to watch some TV. We pick a new series called ‘American Gods’. It’s pretty violent and brutal TBH. Whilst watching TV is a passive experience (and certainly not the most exciting thing one could be doing on an evening in London), I note how content I feel sat in my lovely home, feet up on a cosy sofa. Life’s pretty good right now and I appreciate it.
23.00 – Head upstairs to do my ablutions. I love washing my face at the end of the day. So much so, I do it twice. Every night. As I slip into bed I feel content and calm. I put on a podcast (Desert Island Discs – Nick Clegg… a very interesting man it turns out). I fall asleep before I hear his fourth track.
Still reading? A long day – and hardly one of my most thrilling. But what did I learn from the process? Well, just the act of diarising my day made me very aware of my feelings and actions. It made me LOOK FOR HAPPINESS. It made me appreciate the small things (and big things) in my life, as well as the wider world around me. For instance, on my commute I wasn’t particularly happy, but I did notice a fellow commuter smiling broadly as she listened to something on her headphones. And another incredibly chic lady chatting on the phone enthusiastically about her upcoming holiday. What jolly nice things to notice.
I noted the things that regularly make me happy (I’ll do those more) and that, for me, feeling content is better than any euphoric high. I urge you to try and diarise your own day. Even just for a couple of hours. Notice what makes you even a teeny bit happy, and snap a picture. It might be a text from a friend, hearing a bird sing, drinking a gin and tonic, eating an ice-cream, a phone call with a family member, spotting a butterfly, a new face-cream (can you tell these are all things that make me happy?). When you look back at your photos you’ll realise just how happy you are. Do it tomorrow. Do it, and then share what makes you happy in the comments box below and spread some of the joy.
By Ruth Mills