At FirstSigns we often talk about ‘seeking health and happiness on a daily basis’, but what does that really mean? It will of course be different for each of us – we must all look at our individual lives, decide what’s best for us, make positive choices for ourselves and aim for healthier, happier days.

We never tell people what they should do, so instead I’ll focus on my happiness and tell you what I do in the hope that it inspires you towards self-empowerment.

I’m not talking about the big stuff here; big houses, fast cars, exotic holidays are all great (not that I have them!) and I’m sure winning the lottery would make all of us smile, but I can honestly say I’ve never desired to be immensely rich. Why? Because I sincerely believe that money does not bring true happiness. Sure, debt brings misery, but I’m not talking about debt, I’m talking about being content with what you have. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have ambition – if you desire a specific car, a larger house or a fantastic holiday with a loved one then yes, go all out to obtain it – but it needn’t be the main focus of your life, or at the expense of the little things.

For me, it’s the little things that matter – the kind of things that are easy to seek out, and on a daily basis too. Things like enjoying the weather, the flowers in the garden, a great book, a text from a loved one, a compliment from a colleague, a surprise call, a bubble bath or just a few minutes silence. The list is endless but they are all things that it’s easy to take for granted.

For me, it’s the little things that really matter, and without them I would never be happy even if I did have all the big stuff.

Like many people, I wake each morning feeling quite miserable. Each and every day I literally force myself out of bed the moment I wake, because the temptation to hide under the duvet all day becomes greater the longer I lie there. I have to mentally choose to seek happiness in my day.

I will point out that it’s not easy by any means, and some days it works better than others, but I hope you will see how with a little effort in the way that I choose to think about things, I can boost my mood and discover that elusive thing called happiness.

The first thing I do each day is feed my cats. This can either be a chore while they get under my feet demanding attention, or it can be a great start to the day enjoying the fuss they make of me and feeling content that I’m caring well for them.

I then make myself a cup of tea, which I can either drink while opening Firefox and then allow to go cold while I deal with / get stressed about something that in reality isn’t at all important, or I can sit down and enjoy my tea – taking a few minutes of peaceful time to myself (there’s nothing like that first cuppa, outside if the weather’s good) and plan my day.

These are only two little examples of how I can choose to start my day in a good or bad frame of mind. Often, the choices I make at 7am will impact on how I feel for the rest of the day.

If I choose to think negatively then everything becomes negative. A phone call is something to avoid, a trip to the shops is something to dread and literally everything becomes tainted with misery. By choosing to be positive and seeking happiness in the small things, my whole day becomes lighter and brighter, and rather than mourning the dark clouds I can instead enjoy the refreshing rain and look out for the rainbow.

We can’t always choose how we feel, but we can choose how we think and behave, and that can change how we feel :)

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