An important part of recovery is recognizing that there are things beyond our control.
But there are things we can control. The practice of recognizing small, controllable elements of my life has not only brought me happiness but has also been a small, but vital step in understanding and nurturing my mental health.
From the serenity prayer, by embracing the power “to change what I can,” I have a path to serenity that includes things like curry leaves, yellow flowers, and benches by the water.
These are three things that bring me instant happiness.
I call them my “Five Seconds to Happy” things.
A long time ago a sponsor “suggested” I spend some time exploring things that bring me joy. Although I was adamant that life was really hard, unfair, and that there wasn’t any happiness to be found, she reminded me of a conversation just a few days earlier when I commented about enjoying the warm feeling of the sun on my face in early spring.
She gave me a simple exercise to identify, based on my five senses, things that uplifted me. They had to be
things that were 100 percent in my control, and I had to write them down on an index card to keep them close.
What that list would look like today:
- SIGHT: yellow flowers
- SOUND: ocean waves
- SMELL: curry leaves
- TASTE: turmeric ginger tea
- TOUCH: my purple blanket that my daughter made me
All of these are so simple, and so accessible.
Finding my “Five Seconds to Happy” is like uncovering hidden treasures for myself. They’re simple things that instantly change my mood, and by paying attention to them, I can greatly improve my mental health.
I invite you to find your own “Five Seconds to Happy.”
Articles in this issue can help start your exploration. Mental Health Literacy is an organization dedicated to enhancing understanding and awareness; it offers tips, tools, and resources (page 8). Carole Fontaine’s Surfing My Feelings provides insights and tools for navigating big emotions (page 12). Also, thanks to Peter Wohl, we introduce “eco-spirituality,” a concept that combines environmental awareness with spiritual practices to emphasize a deep, sacred connection between humans and the Earth (page 37).
I continue to add to my list of simple, accessible paths to happiness … and serenity.
Take good care,