What brings you joy and happiness?

What brings you joy? What brings you happiness?

I’ve found these to be very important questions to ask ourselves.

It’s weird because when I thought about the answer to this for myself, it was hard for me to come up with answers! I really had to sit, ponder and reflect to come up with specific things or else I was going down the very general, very vague route of answering with “oh, my family and friends”. After journaling a bit, I realized some of the things that I know for sure bring me happiness, I wasn’t doing ENOUGH of them! They were things I did once in a while unfortunately.  We all just get so busy with our to-do lists that incorporating things that give us joy and happiness on a consistent, regular basis is a challenge.

So, now I want to share 20 things that make me happy with you.  I’ve also added in parenthesis how I’ll actually be incorporating some of them into my life. Now, I encourage you to write down your own list of 20 things that make YOU happy.  They don’t have to be grand things, but just simple little pleasures! And once you have your list, make sure you actually DO those things that make you happy.  Schedule them in, into your life, daily, weekly and/or at least monthly depending on what it is.

Why is this important? Are we being selfish and self-absorbed by wanting our happiness? NO way! Because doing what makes us happy is THERAPEUTIC!! It enhances your WELLBEING which encompasses mind, body and soul health. When we are not happy in our lives, the effects of that will show up as toxic and negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.  Many people who have hard addictions are actually using that as an escape route from their depression or anxiety.  On the contrary, when we have positive feelings more often and then we make decisions and choices from this place of happiness rather than a place of frustration or anxiousness, our overall quality of life increases.

Here is my list:

  1. Going out to eat at different restaurants and enjoying gourmet meals (definitely love to do this 3x a month or so)
  2. Going to the farmers market and picking out fresh seasonal produce (summer is here, yay, so this more feasible now!)
  3. The sunshine and warm weather (Being out in nature and the outdoors more when the weather is like this)
  4. Watching squirrels! Because livening in NY, they’re everywhere (You might think I’m weird but they are pretty entertaining lol and for me it’s a sign of God watching them dig, harvest and munch away all by God’s design)
  5. Exploring Manhattan (have to plan this out more, maybe once a month)
  6. My kids saying the cutest things EVER (this happens daily alhamdulilah and now I seek it out even more by engaging in interesting conversations with my kids where they and their imagination takes the lead along with their cutest work-in-progress grammar skills).
  7. Going to brunch or a nice café with my friends (Also, need to plan this once a month. As a mom, this has gone down considerably!)
  8. Quiet post-dinner night time walks around the block with my mom and kids (aim for daily, but most likely be 4-5x a week)
  9. Connecting with my creator in a very SINCERE prayer (every late night prayer inshallah)
  10. Having picnics outside (once a week with my girls, doing lunch outside)
  11. The color rose gold with light sparkles! (adding more to my wardrobe and accessories)
  12. Snuggling with my babies!! (every night inshallah)
  13. Laying in my moms lap and watching a good TV show with her
  14. Dark chocolate with almonds anything especially homemade chocolate chip cookies!
  15. Avocado salsa and tortilla chips while watching a good movie
  16. Vacations with family and friends
  17. Going for a light run and feeling the wind on my face (aiming 3x a week)
  18. Lavender mist spray on my pillow every night before sleeping
  19. Being confident and speaking up for my truth gracefully
  20. Waking up to having my breakfast pre-prepared like a yogurt parfait or overnight oats!

By all means, this is not an exhaustive list! For example, my mom’s biryani also makes me so happy, watching the clouds slowly moving is almost therapeutic for me, watching tennis with my dad and wrestle mania with my brothers (like we did in childhood together), apple-picking and other autumn activities bring me joy, etc. I hope you get the idea!

Of course, ultimately, happiness is an inside job.  External circumstances shouldn’t dictate your happiness, but they definitely can give you the much-needed boost.  We are a combination of internal and external factors, nature and nurture, body and soul right? So, lets do this.

Let me know if you make your list of 20 things that make you happy and if you want share it with me or on your social media and tag me @healthwithafrina 😊 You can also use the hashtag #20thingsthatmakemehappy

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